THE HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE has said it proposed to cut about €8 million of spending on home help hours between now and the end of the year – a cut equivalent to about 450,000 hours of service in the next three months.The HSE has told TDs that it intends to make the cuts between now and December, having originally announced cuts of €10.8 million as part of the HSE’s quest to balance its books before the end of the year.“It is the HSE’s intention that the impact of these reductions will be minimised by ensuring that services are provided, in the first instance, for direct patient care,” the HSE said in response to parliamentary questions from Fianna Fáil’s health spokesman Billy Kelleher.“Decisions in relation to the provision of home help hours will continue to be based on a review of individual needs, and no current recipient of this service and who has an assessed need for the service, will be without a service.”The HSE said it provided about 11 million hours of home help services with an annual budget of €195 million – equating to 2.75 million hours every three months at a cost of €48.75 million. On that basis, if applied proportionally, an €8 million cut would mean about 450,000 hours lost.Kelleher said the cuts would have to be implemented in a “chaotic and ham-fisted way” simply because James Reilly had not be able to implement the cuts to the health budget that he had promised.“This is on top of 500,000 home-help hours being cut earlier in the year,” Kelleher said.“It betrays the meaningless of Minister Reilly’s promise of minimising the impact of these cuts on the most vulnerable.”SIPTU also criticised the decision as “morally unacceptable and illogical”.Health division organiser Paul Bell said the cuts would “not only reduce the provision of care to the most vulnerable in our society, but will also result in more people having to avail of full-time care in a hospital setting”.“These outcomes go directly against the stated aim of the Government to develop community based health services and reduce spending,” he said.The HSE’s response to Kelleher indicated that the service had “a statutory responsibility to live within the Budget voted to it by the Oireachtas”.
But how do you spot a machine that has been tampered with?Fraudsters manufacture skimming devices to match individual machines, McKinney said, and this can make them difficult to spot.While they are often of good quality, fitting them isn’t an exact science. A sticky residue can sometimes be seen around the edges of the device as it must be glued on.They work by ‘skimming’ the card for information, stored on the black magnetic strip on the back, when it is inserted into the machine.Below are two examples of these devices: However, the IPSO describes the information stored on the magnetic strip is of “limited use” without PIN details, and so these devices are often complimented with a camera fitted above the ATM’s keypad, like this one:Read: Elderly people warned about ATM scam gang earlier this year >More: AIB loses money on ATM withdrawals > THE NUMBER OF incidents of ATM fraud rose in 2013 with ‘card trapping’ becoming significantly more common, rising from 9 the year previous, to 113 so far this year.Of these, only 72 were successful.These crimes were spread almost nationwide, occurring in 23 counties, and centred on Dublin and Cork.The figures, supplied by the Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO), show that following a crackdown on card skimming in 2012, the number of incidents rose again this year.While the number of these incidents reported fell from 194 to 13 in 2012, they quadrupled to 75 (70 successful) this year.Cash trapping remained a problem, although remained at similar levels to 2012.“Banks in Ireland and in Europe have tried out many different solutions to prevent these types of attack” Member Services Executive with the IPSO Erica McKinney explained.They can be temporarily successful but the criminal will eventually adjust their method to find a way around the solution.
Updated at 9.10pmEXPELLED AND FORMER Fine Gael TDs organised an efficient and well-run conference at the RDS in Dublin where the attendance of over a thousand people surprised a large and intrigued media contingent.The conference was being billed as a prelude to the establishment of a political party but the organisers, led by the Reform Alliance’s most prominent member Lucinda Creighton, were keen to emphasise that it was a meeting about ideas and policies.TheJournal.ie spent the day at the RDS and here’s what we found out…1. The turnout was larger than expected: For good reason, the RA set attendance expectations at a low bar of between 400 and 500, but the turnout was well over a thousand, with the RDS concert hall largely full:2. There were more men than women – but no ‘squeezed middle’: In the afternoon, economist David McWilliams told the audience that “large parts of the middle class of this country are bust” and while there’s no doubt many of the people attending today were middle-class there was an interesting gender and age divide.Olivia O’Leary posed a question at the start of her contribution: “Why am I looking at so few female faces?” Though it wasn’t quite as bad as a typical day in the Dáil chamber there were certainly more men than women in the audience.There were also a large number of people over-50s and under-25s, but no real contingent of the so-called ‘squeezed middle’ – people in their 30s and 40s who are said to be weighed down with troubled mortgages and lots of debt.3. The RA’s abortion stance was a big attraction for many in the audience: The two largest rounds of applause today were for when the issue of abortion was raised.In the morning, a gentleman in the audience pointed out that the RA’s entire existence is solely because of Fine Gael’s u-turn on abortion. Then as the day drew to a close and Creighton addressed the issue there was a huge round of applause:There was a significant number of prominent pro-life activists in the audience and the only other Oireachtas members we spotted today were Senator Ronan Mullen and TD Mattie McGrath, both strongly anti-abortion.But David McWilliams made light of the whole issue, joking at the end: “I think I must be the only pro-choice liberal in the place.”Afterwards, Creighton said she is “not concerned about it” and hit out at specifically the Irish Times, saying: “I think it’s concerned that perhaps that we mightn’t fit into their [Irish Times] agenda, that’s certainly how I would interpret a lot of the coverage of it in the last couple of weeks, but that’s fine.”4. But people were there for lots of different reasons: Political-junkies, Fine Gael members (disgruntled and non-disgruntled), ex-Fianna Fáil members, pro-life activists and many more turned-out today. As we found out earlier, they were there for many different reasons, ranging from a strong desire to a passing interest in some sort of political and societal reform.5. We heard a lot of old ideas, but some new ones too… All three sessions – political reform, health and economy – heard the usual complaints with the usual apparently common-sense solutions.For example, the morning’s political reform session heard old ideas about appointing non-politicans as minsters, term limits for TDs and abolishing multi-seat constituencies in favour of single seats so politicians can focus on national issues.But there were plenty of interesting and practical ideas too with the most popular policy idea from Blackrock clinic co-founder Dr Jimmy Sheehan. He proposed locating the National Children’s Hospital in Blanchardstown and criticised the government’s plan to locate it at St James’s Hospital as “the worst possible site in the country”. He got a standing ovation.During the session on the economy, there was a strong focus on small business and creating a “regulation free zone” for SMEs. That’s an area Creighton highlighted afterwards: “We will be launching a campaign focusing on encouraging people to support local business and that’s something that we’ll be rolling out in the weeks ahead.”5. … but nobody was talking about pylons:An event such as this might have been a lightning rod for anti-pylon campaigners, but the issue wasn’t discussed, nor raised. That’s perhaps not surprising given the location of the event.But those that came up from the countryside felt it should have been raised. When Tom McGurk said pylon talk should be avoided at the event, one audience in our earshot remarked: “It’s exactly what we should be talking about.”6. The contrarians and malcontents were few and far between Audience members’ participation was limited to two minutes per person, ensuring an orderly and constructive input from the floor and no rambling speeches that have no point, and no end.There was the odd silly comment, for example a gentlemen remarked that women do not have the “attributes” to put themselves forward in politics, but he was quickly smacked down by a woman who followed him. She described it as “the worst comment I’ve ever heard”.7. The conference was the talk of Twitter… and TDs: The day’s audience contribution didn’t get off to the best start when broadcaster Marc Coleman, in praise of Olivia O’Leary, remarked: “Even if you’re old, you’re still hot.”That didn’t go down well on Twitter, which was abuzz for much of the day with tweets from the event and those following it on their mobile devices. Even government TDs took time to address the conference: We also heard from one unimpressed minister – who was clearly keeping a close eye on our tweets. Or maybe they had spies in the audience.8. Not everyone thought there should be a new party… While the RA themselves remain open if not committed to forming a political party the audience sentiment ranged from a strong desire to have one to, as one audience member remarked, needing “a new party like a hole in the head’.9. … but ‘the pro’ thinks the beginning of a party looks like this: While many of the contributors were Irish-based the conference heard an interesting outside perspective from former David Cameron policy advisor, Phillip Blond, who later told TheJournal.ie: ‘This is what the start of a political party looks like.”Blond wasn’t being paid for his appearance and seemed genuinely interested and energised by what he was seeing in the RDS. His advice to the Reform Alliance? Start a political party and do it in the next nine months. “Go for it and win,” he said adding that that was his “professional opinion”.He said he’d be happy to keep on advising the RA about how to break the “oligarchy” of the State’s two main parties. If they are to form a party then they may well seek out his views. Afterwards, Creighton described Blond as “a very good political analyst and advisor”.But will she and the rest of the RA be taking his advice?Pics: Twitter and Laura Hutton/Photocall IrelandFirst posted at 5.41pmWATCH: ‘I’m here to see if reform is actually achievable’ (videos)Read: ‘We need a new party like a hole in the head’: Conference discusses political and health reform
EVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, TheJournal.ie brings you the five stories you need to know before you head out the door.1. #PROBE: Minister Alan Shatter is to refer the penalty points controversy to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). He had a lot to say on the PAC’s handling of the affair, so far.2. #OUT OF PUFF: Health Minister James Reilly is to follow the UK’s lead and ban under-18s from buying e-cigarettes.3. #JOBSWATCH: Great news for Cork as multinational Tyco has started recruiting up to 500 people for a new business services centre.In other jobs news, Michael O’Leary and Ryanair are also looking for new talent.4. #ROADS: The GAA community is in mourning this afternoon after one of its high-profile referees was killed in a two-car collision in county Limerick.5. #CARNEGIE LIBRARY: The residents of Balbriggan have been successful in their attempts to stop the OPW turning their local library into a dole office.
THE MATER HOSPITAL is in the final stages of its big move, which sees its services being brought from a 19th century building to world-class facilities.The move is part of a €284 million development of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (the Mater Hospital) and the relocation will take place over two weeks, with elective surgery scheduled to take place in the new building from Monday 24 February 2013.The development began back in 2000, and has involved the rebuilding of parts of Mater. Now, almost 14 years later, some parts of the hospital have already moved with just a few to finish moving over.The final phase will see the theatres, intensive care and high dependency units; national centre for cardiothoracic surgery / heart and lung transplantation and national spinal injuries unit going to their new digs.The brand new hospital will have 12 new operating theatres, 120 one-bed en suite rooms, new emergency and outpatients departments, a modern radiology department and a 444-space underground car park.World classAccording to Mary Day CEO of the Mater Hospital, the final move of departments to the Mater Whitty Wing “creates a perfect environment for the delivery of world class care to our patients”.This significant milestone in the long and illustrious history of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital and Sisters of Mercy’s dedication to serving the community, will ensure the hospital continues to enhance it national reputation for high quality care.Major trauma centreAs a major trauma centre, the Mater’s new facilities will see new intensive care and high dependency units near 12 new operating theatres, combined with ease of access to a radiology department and the national spinal injuries unit.According to the hospital, “the theatres are designed to ensure that the patients’ experience is as comfortable, reassuring and safe as possible”.The new intensive care unit will have 18 cubicles, as will the new high dependency unit, which is an increase of seven beds overall.Each patient will have their own space. Meanwhile, patients at the national centre for cardiothoracic surgery will have brighter and more comfortable facilities.Visitors are asked not to visit the hospital between Monday 17 February and Friday 21 February “unless absolutely necessary” as there will be a lot of activity in public areas.During this time, the Mater’s critically ill patients will be relocated to the modern facilities in the new building.Read: Mater Hospital ‘refutes’ suggestions of operating a CRC ‘phantom fund’>Read:Old bones found at site of Mater redevelopment>
COMMANDER CHRIS HADFIELD, the Canadian astronaut who showed us the world in a new way (and became a global star in the process), has landed back on earth.Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), left, Russian Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), center, and NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn sit in chairs outside the Soyuz Capsule. Pic: NASA/Carla CioffiHe and fellow Expedition 35 members, cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and astronaut Tom Marshburn, left the International Space Station, which had been their home for 144 days, yesterday evening.They landed in their Soyuz capsule in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kasakhstan, right on time: 2.31am GMT, 10.31pm EDT.To make their return and leave their home for the past number of months, the trio climbed into the Soyuz capsule that would bring them back to earth, while being cheered on (and hugged) by fist-pumping colleagues.After a series of checks, during which the men got comfortable in an extremely tight space, the hatches were closed and the Russian Soyuz vehicle was detached from the ISS.(NASATelevision/YouTube)The man at the controls of the spacecraft was Romanenko, as it undocked last night from the Rassvet module.The capsule brought them through the earth’s atmosphere, where they began to experience gravity for the first time in months, and down to the Kazakhstan field. There, the trio – who, though tired and readjusting to gravity, were smiling following the successful arrival – were examined by medical experts.The Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft is seen as it lands. Pic: NASA/Carla CioffiNASA explained that Russian recovery teams were on hand to help the crew exit the vehicle and adjust to gravity.Thanks to Hadfield’s son Evan, the commander’s Twitter and Facebook feeds were kept updated throughout the journey:Pic: Evan Hadfield/TwitterHis father’s most recent tweet captures the poignancy of his return home:The Canadian commander and proud moustache bearer bid farewell to the ISS in classic Cmdr Hadfield fashion: with a video of him singing the David Bowie classic Space Oddity inside the station.(Chris Hadfield/YouTube)Now that these three Expedition 35 members are back on earth, it’s time for Expedition 36 members to take over.(NASATelevision/YouTube)The Canadian Space Agency welcomed Cmdr Hadfield’s return by saying he achieved a historic milestone, becoming the first Canadian to command the ISS.The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency said: Over the past five months, Chris Hadfield has confirmed our country’s world-renowned space expertise, with accomplishments reaching beyond his role aboard the Station.Thanks to Cmdr Hadfield’s illuminating and educational videos and tweets, generous love for music, and infectiously positive attitude, we have a new understanding of what the men and women aboard the ISS do – and the world (and space) will never look the same to us again.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press/Press Association ImagesVideo: Commander Hadfield sings Bowie as he bids farewell to spaceVIDEO: Ever wonder how Chris Hadfield takes his photos from space?Here’s how they’re celebrating St Patrick’s Day in spacePHOTO: Check out this amazing picture of Dublin from spaceHow fast is the Internet in space? 8 things we learned from an astronaut’s son
Every morning TheJournal.ie brings you the nine stories you need to know a little before 9am.1. #STICK TO THE PLAN: The state’s fiscal watchdog has warned the Government to push ahead with the planned €2 billion budget reduction next year.2. #GOING BACK: 275 US military personnel are being deployed to Baghdad to help American personnel and protect the embassy.3. ‘NO SURRENDER’: Mortgage advisers the IMHO are calling on people who aren’t being offered a sustainable debt solution to stop paying their mortgage and remain in their homes.4. #JUMANJI: A couple in their 50s have been rescued in a five-hour operation after becoming stranded in what rescuers described as a very dense rhododendron forest.5. #BOAT DISASTER: Families of asylum-seekers killed in a shipwreck off Australia’s Christmas Island in 2010 are suing the government, arguing it breached its duty of care.6. #MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Junior Minister Alex White has said that he does not think Ireland is in a position to fully legalise cannabis but that he keeps “a very close eye” on what’s happening internationally.7. #MH370: Search teams looking for the airliner say they have now calculated the plane’s most likely flight path and a “hotspot” in the southern Indian Ocean in which it most likely came down.8. E-CIGARETTES: The British Medical Journal has found that 37% of people surveyed in Ireland believe that e-cigarettes are harmful.9. #ON YISSER BIKES: More people with higher incomes who have their own cars are choosing to cycle to work.
EVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, TheJournal.ie brings you the five stories you need to know before you head out the door…#GUILTY Entertainer and artist Rolf Harris has been found guilty in London on 12 counts of indecent assault. The 84-year-old was convicted of the attacks against four girls between the years 1968 and 1986.#TRAGIC A five-year-old boy has died after falling into a lake in west Dublin. It happened at Belgree Lawns in Tyrrelstown at 9.30am this morning. Gardaí are not treating it as suspicious.#MURDER RATE There were 16 more murders in the 12 months up to the end of March this year, compared to the previous 12 month period — according to new crime stats out today. The CSO figures show that kidnapping offences also rose, with 119 recorded.#PISTORIUS A panel of experts has concluded that Oscar Pistorius was not suffering from a mental illness when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year. The trial of the athlete recommenced today, after a break of one month.#LUCKY ESCAPE An Irish woman living in New York walked away with little more than a broken shoulder — despite three trains rolling over her after she fell onto the subway tracks. It happened at around 6am yesterday.
Now that you’ve finished sleeping off that turkey coma, it’s time to participate in that most truly American of activities: buying lots of stuff that you can’t possibly afford. Apple is almost certain to have some amazing sales numbers this holiday, thanks in no small part to 2010’s runaway success of the iPad, which has made its way to the top of countless shopping shopping lists.As is its tradition, the company is marking Black Friday with that rarest of things: a genuine discount on Apple products. Apple has done a pretty good job keeping quiet about the deals thus far. The company sent out a teaser to customers, but otherwise kept quiet.The Black Friday discounts are in place, and it looks like a pretty solid spread, with deals on iPads, iMacs, iPods, Macbooks,software, and accessories galore. Check out some of the better deals after the jump.iPad with Wi-Fi 16GB $458 (Down from $499) iMac 21.5-inch: 3.06GHz $1,098 (Down from $1,199)MacBook Air 13-inch : 128GB $1,198 (Down from $1,299)MacBook Pro 13-inch: 2.4GHz $1,098.00 (Down from $1,199)iPod touch 64GB $358 (Down from $399)iPod nano 16GB $158 (Down from $179)Apple iPad Keyboard Dock $58 (Down from $69.99)Apple Time Capsule 1TB $278 (Down from $299)Beats by Dr. Dre Beatbox $348 (Down from $399)Roxio Toast 10 Titanium $68 (Down from $99)
When Apple first released the iPad, they effectively forked iOS. iOS version 3.1.3 was for iPhones and iPod Touches, iOS 3.2 was for the iPad. Even when iOS 4 came out, Apple wasn’t able to merge the two forks: that had to wait until iOS 4.2. The lesson? Making an operating system that is good for both small screen and larger screen devices isn’t as easy as it appears.Now that Google is bringing Android to tablets, it’s finding it has the same problem on its hands. With Honeycomb, Android will effectively be forked, leaving smartphones behind using Gingerbread. Will they ever merge, or will Google simply start shipping two major Android forks indefinitely?Laying out the Android roadmap during a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google CEO Eric Schmidt converged that Gingerbread and Honeycomb were headed on a collision course.Schmidt promises that with the next version after Honeycomb, Android will again merge, bringing the best of the smartphone and tablet iterations of Android together. Schmidt expects this consolidated Android to ship about six months after Honeycomb lands, with additional versions of Android shipping approximately every six months thereafter.As for the most pressing question on everyone’s mind, what snack will the next version of Android be named after, Schmidt quipped: “You can imagine the follow up will start with an I, be named after dessert, and will combine these two.” That seems to confirm previous rumors that whatever is after Honeycomb will be Android Ice-Cream Sandwich.Read more at PC Pro
Ask anyone who plays games on an iPhone for an app they keep coming back to or think is most popular, and Angry Birds is going to be mentioned a lot. It’s one of the biggest hits on the App Store, and is now spreading to multiple other platforms.While developer Rovio is the brains behind the successful game, the physics engine that makes it all possible isn’t. That honor falls to Erin Catto, the creator of the free to use open source Box2D physics engine.AdChoices广告Box2D can be downloaded by any developer and used completely free of charge under the zlib license. That means you can use it as long as the software is not misrepresented. In the case of Box2D you don’t even need to state you are using Box2D if you prefer not to.Armed with that information, Rovio decided not to credit Box2D in the game. They have every right to do that under the license terms, but you’d think Rovio would, seeing as how important physics is in the game’s functionality.Catto felt the same way and decided to ask in a very public manner. At the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco this week one of the Q&A panels was headed up by Rovio’s own Peter Vesterbacka. Catto was in the audience, and according to his description in the Box2D forums, the exchange went as follows:Erin: “Hi Peter, could you tell me which physics engine Angy Birds uses?”Peter: “Box2D”Erin: “Great. Would you consider giving credit to Box2D in your game?”Peter: “Yes, of course”Erin: “Thank you! By the way, I am Erin Catto the creator of Box2D”Peter: “Great! I would like to talk to you after the session” Catto insists it was done in a very friendly manner and that he really likes the game. He goes on to explain that he didn’t use a license that requires a credit because some developers just wouldn’t use the library for legal reasons. He would rather it get used and no credit be given than them go find an alternative.In the case of Angry Birds it looks as though he had an opportunity to ask, so he did, and now Box2D will have another credit and be known by a few more people who may end up using it one day.If you’re wondering just how good of a solution Box2D is then check out some of the videos showing what it can do on YouTube. Here’s just one example of some basic physics checking:Read more at MobileCrunch
Device tethering is a feature we would all like the option to use on our smartphones, but the network operators want to limit and control. The reason? There’s money to be made in offering access to tethering as a separate data plan.For the uninitiated, tethering is a feature that allows you to connect multiple devices to the Internet using your smartphone or similar device as the access point. In real terms it just means that data plan you already pay for as part of your smartphone contract becomes more useful as you can use it with a laptop, for example. You could burn through your allowance very quickly using it in this way, but in an emergency or just for a quick surf it is an ideal solution.AdChoices广告AT&T has been in the news lately for warning subscribers who jailbreak their iPhones and use unofficial tethering. If it continues they will automatically be charged as part of a smartphone tethering plan. Now it seems as though the same is about to happen for Android smartphones, but carriers have a surprising ally in their battle to control tethering: Google.Rather than detecting which users are tethering their devices without a tethering plan, the carriers have instead talked to Google and asked it to kill access to all tethering apps in the Android Market. Google has complied making it much harder, if not impossible to now tether specific devices through an unofficial route. What devices are blocked seems to depend completely on what Google has been asked to block by each carrier.This compliance by Google has come as a big surprise for some because it skirts the edge of licensing conditions for keeping applications and handsets open on the C Block spectrum Verizon uses for its LTE network. In fact, Google is remembered for pushing the price of the C Block spectrum sale up past $4.6 billion in order to ensure those licensing conditions would be in place.The conditions state devices and apps can’t be blocked from using the C Block through a service. However, the app blockage is allowed as Verizon isn’t blocking access to any devices, just ensuring any such devices pay for an appropriate data plan. Google on the other hand is complying with a carrier request, not directly breaking the licensing conditions.Has your Android smartphone been blocked from accessing these apps yet?Read more at DroidLife and This is my next
When Intel announced a new category of mobile computing earlier this year called Ultrabooks, we compared it to the introduction of the Atom processor. While that chip line from Intel made netbooks and cheap desktop PCs a reality, the Ultrabook goes in the other direction, bringing thin, light, and performance computing to the masses.If you want a laptop that is less than 20mm thick, runs one of the latest Sandy Bridge processors, and costs under $1,000, then an Ultrabook is for you, and we hope to start seeing them appear on sale before the end of 2011.Intel isn’t just pushing the Ultrabook platform as a way of repackaging existing technology, though. Intel’s investment arm, Intel Capital, wants to push innovation to support the Ultrabook category. With that in mind it has earmarked $300 million for investment in such tech over the next 4 years under the name of the Ultrabook Fund.Specifically, Intel is targeting enhanced user experiences, longer battery life, increased storage, and slim components as areas of interest for investment. The chip company wants to find companies that can provide a solution for the all-day battery in such a slim form factor, will come up with new ways for interaction beyond the keyboard, trackpad, and touchscreen, and allow for components so thin Ultrabooks can make even the MacBook Air look chubby.Such a large investment fund will be good news for a number of tech startups working in these areas if they can get Intel’s attention. For consumers, it means the potential for Apple to finally have some serious competition in the area of premium laptops, but significantly, at much lower prices than what Apple currently charges for its hardware.Read more at the Intel press release
On or around August 12 the servers used to maintain and distribute the Linux operating system were compromised. No one noticed for over two weeks allowing malware to fill those servers accessed through kernel.org. Since then kernel.org has been down for maintenance as site administrators try to understand how the attack was possible and what damage it did.Now it seems the breach has extended beyond kernel.org. On September 8 a new breach was discovered across The Linux Foundation‘s group of sites. That includes LinuxFoundation.com and Linux.com, and any subdomains those sites run.If you visit either domain at the moment you will be presented with a message explaining what has happened. The decision to take all servers offline was done in the “interest of extreme caution and security best practices.”If you were a member, or have an account on The Linux Foundation or Linux.com sites, then expect to be receiving an email shortly. The breach is thought to have compromised usernames, email addresses, passwords, and any personal information stored with the account. The advice being given is to check the password you used with that account is not being used for other logins in use. If it is, then change the password immediately for those accounts.The services offered by The Linux Foundation, which include Linux.com, Open Printing, and Linux Mark, will be restored as and when the breach has been neutralized and new security measures put in place. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a forced password reset happening in the coming days or weeks.via The Linux Foundation
The launch of the Kindle Fire is less than a month away, and based on pre-order figures that have already reached the 250,000 mark, Amazon needs a lot of stock to cope with day-one demand.Even so, Jeff Bezos seems to be looking ahead, and has apparently just placed an order for a second-generation Kindle Fire to be delivered early next year. What must come as a surprise and blow to Quanta is the fact the order has been placed with Foxconn for delivery in early 2012. Quanta, as you may know, is handling first-generation Kindle Fire production.The phrase “second-generation” can mean many things. It could be an updated product, a brand new product, or just the existing device with different internals. As this second-gen Kindle Fire is being delivered early next year it’s highly unlikely we’ll see an updated 7-inch device with new features. That would just be a slap in the face for early adopters.With that being the case, there are two options left. Either Amazon has already figured out a cheaper way to make the existing 7-inch Kindle Fire. Or, a larger Kindle Fire is set to appear, possibly with a 10-inch display.As months pass and components shrink, it’s possible to make the same device for less money by combining parts or even sourcing them from different suppliers. This is something companies like Sony and Microsoft do regularly with the PS3 and Xbox 360 internals. So it’s not unfeasible Amazon has found a cheaper way to make the 7-inch Kindle Fire, and Foxconn turned out to be the cheapest manufacturer quoting for the work.If a larger Kindle Fire is in the works, then sourcing it from Foxconn makes sense as they are the manufacturer who takes care of iPad production. In other words, they have the equipment and expertise in place to produce 10-inch devices in the millions.via DigiTimes
If you were taking a look at how the Kindle Fire compares to the Nook Tablet, you may have noticed that the Nook Tablet was the one launching with Netflix preinstalled. Well you can cross that advantage off the of the Nook’s list, as Amazon announced the Fire will also run the popular streaming service.Up to this point, it wasn’t clear whether Amazon would support Netflix on their tablet. After all, they want to sell you Prime memberships for your video streaming needs. While Prime has a solid (and growing) content selection in its own right, many customers were left wondering whether the cheaper Kindle Fire would run the service that they are already subscribed to.The news is a major blow to the Nook Tablet. While B&N’s seven inch slate has slightly better hardware specs than the Fire, it’s trailing in the software department. Being able to say “our tablet runs Netflix, theirs doesn’t” would have been a huge boon for Barnes & Noble. If Amazon can make it clear to customers that they support Netflix as well, this could steal some significant sales away from their rival.We will likely see a delicate balancing act by Amazon in promoting the Netflix capabilities. While making it known will divert sales away from the Nook Tablet, making it too known could divert sales away from Amazon Prime. Prime is part of the reason that the tablet can be sold at a subsidized $200, so the company obviously doesn’t want everyone using Netflix in its place.No matter what this means for Amazon, this is undoubtedly a win for customers. If you’re already a Netflix subscriber who wants to buy the Fire, that means you don’t have to pay Amazon $79 per year to stream TV and movies on your tablet. Many customers will still join Prime anyway, but the fact that you don’t need to in order to unlock the full capabilities of your tablet is huge.Amazon also announced that Pandora and Facebook would be available at launch for the Kindle Fire. There was no mention of Hulu Plus, so that is still one big feather that Barnes & Noble can stick in their tablet’s hat.More at Amazon, via Liliputing
The 3DS had a bit of a rocky start when it first launched. The price was too high, the battery life was nowhere near as good as the DS, and Nintendo forgot to put a second circle pad on the device for your right hand.Two of those three problems have since been solved. The price got cut significantly and Nintendo said sorry to early adopters with the Ambassador’s Program. The second circle pad arrived in the form of a peripheral called the Circle Pad Pro. However, the battery life issue remains, but is apparently going to be solved by Nyko.The third-party peripheral manufacturer has announced it will start shipping the Nyko Power Grip Pro for Nintendo’s handheld in October. It takes the form of a case your 3DS sits inside, and actually servers three purposes.The most important feature it adds is a secondary battery unit which promises to triple the battery life of the device. You also don’t need to purchase the circle pad peripheral as the Power Grip Pro includes one, and actually looks less bulky than the official solution considering what else you are getting here. And finally, because it’s a case you don’t really need anything else to protect your 3DS from bumps and scratches.We don’t yet have a price for the Power Grip Pro, but the fact it replaces the need for two other peripherals as well as extending battery life means even a relatively high price may still be worth the investment.Nyko has previously released the Power Grip peripheral, formerly the Power Pak+, which also promised to extend battery life 3x. It didn’t include the circle pad or form a full case for the 3DS, but only cost $29.99. I can’t see the Pro version costing significantly more than that.via Engadget
Mankind’s explorations into space have yielded some incredible imagery over the years. NASA’s first photo of Earth looming over the surface of the moon is remains stunning, even though we’ve now captured much more colorful shots of our planet from the International Space Station. More recently, pictures of the Curiosity rover’s shadow stretching over the surface of Mars were an incredible reminder of how far our reach has grown.But as the video of Curiosity’s final descent proved, the technology that we use to explore space can be as awe-inspiring as what we find there. Before Space Shuttle Endeavour was decommissioned in May, freelance/media photographer and former NASA photographer Ben Cooper took some rare photos of the craft fully powered for one of the last times.The images of the cockpit completely lit up provide a sense of what Endeavour would have looked like in space during one of its missions. The numerous switches, buttons, and screens glowing around the cockpit’s two seats are an overwhelming reminder of how much goes into breaking Earth’s atmosphere. Cooper’s gallery also includes photos of the shuttle’s white room, which has collected signatures from astronauts, technicians, and guests touring the interior.Endeavour’s 25 flights included multiple Spacelab experiments, the first Hubble Space Telescope service mission, and a rendezvous with the Mir space station. It’s final trip to the International Space Station in May was the next to last mission of the American Space Shuttle program. After being decommissioned, Endeavour was flown on top of a 747 Shuttle Aircraft to its new home at the California Science Center.Prints of all the photos are for sale in various sizes through the site’s order page.See the full gallery at Launchphotography.com
For the most part a wireless router is a book-sized box that you sit in a corner and forget about. The design doesn’t really matter as long as it provides a strong and reliable wireless signal. But if you’ve got limited space, or need to have a router that’s a bit more portable, Asus will soon have you covered.During CES the company unveiled the world’s smallest wireless router, and this thing is tiny. The Asus WL-330NUL weighs just 25 grams and looks more like a USB stick than a typical router, measuring just 65 x 20 x 15mm. Even so, it offers 802.11 b/g/n support, a single Ethernet port, and can be connected to your PC/laptop via a free USB 2.0 or 3.0 port. It doesn’t require a seperate power connection either, as it can get all the juice it needs over USB.As well as being tiny, Asus advertises the WL-330NUL as a good solution for travelers who not only want to hook into a wireless network, but also want to share a wireless hotspot with others.You can pre-order the ASUS WL-330NUL from Expansys for shipping on February 14, but no price has been listed yet. Hopefully it doesn’t carry a large premium just because of its small size and inherent portability. If it’s cheap, the WL-330NUL might be worth picking up and throwing in your laptop bag.via SlashGear