Show Notes – April 27th, 2015

Passphrases That You Can Memorize — But That Even the NSA Can’t Guess *

Encrypting your laptop demystified *


a wage and hour lawyers who is suing uber over worker misclassification
well done website helping people figure out if their student loans could be forgiven –

New Software Turns Nearly Any Touchscreen Into A Biometric Scanner In an effort to fix our broke-ass password system, manufacturers are looking to the world of biometrics, sticking fingerprint scanners into everything from photocopiers to, um, school buses. Now, a team of Yahoo researchers might’ve come up with a way to extend biometric recognition to anything with a touchscreen.To identify the ridges and depressions that make up a fingerprint, you need a fairly

Man of Steel restored in color looks so much better than the original Man of Steel was mostly fine but one huge problem with the movie was that it was just too dark. It embarrassingly cribbed its visual style off of Nolan’s Batman trilogy and that dark tone just doesn’t match up well with Superman. Visual Lab decided to restore the color in the film and it looks so much better.Like it’s not even close. The “original footage” from the movie looks terrible compared to

I Now Have a Robot Editing All My Emails to Avoid Snafus Gizmodo Reviews Editor Sean Hollister and I have a problem: we’re long time friends but we totally suck at communicating over email. We misunderstand each other and fight a lot. It’s terrible. Today I found a web app called “Crystal” that promises to fix that. It’s editing this post right now. According to Crystal, my pal (and boss) responds well to a “logical, detailed, thoughtful message with a

Vaping Now Has a Competitive Sport Called “Cloud Chasing” With vaping’s great popularity comes a growing competitive offshoot, complete with contests, judges, sponsors, and spectators turning out to see who can produce the most impressive plumes.The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on competitive vaping, which it calls an “extreme sport.” The sport is dubbed “cloud chasing.” Those who compete in cloud chasing utilize their e-cigs and lungs to

Portland unbans UberX Citing violations of its hired transportation rules, the city of Portland, OR sued Uber last December and temporarily halted the ridesharing company’s operations within city limits. Now, after months of haggling with civic and community leaders, Uber…

The Life of an Ex-Hacker Who Is Now Banned from Using the Internet When programmer Higinio Ochoa wants to share some a batch of new code with his boss, he has to mail it in on paper. Why the roundabout process? Ochoa is a convicted hacker, and his punishment is that he is not allowed to use the internet. Back in 2012, Ochoa was part of an Anonymous-affiliated hacker group called Cabin Cr3w breaking into police databases. As, you know, hackers do, Ochoa liked to t

Google sends a Glass-like mystery device through the FCC Google might have just hinted at the future of its Glass headsets. The company has sent a mystery “smart BLE” (Bluetooth Low Energy) device to the FCC for approval, the A4R-CAP1, and there are a few telltale signs that it’s one of Mountain View’s wea…

Medical Robots Can Be Hacked During Surgery, Researchers Find Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have just hijacked a teleoperated surgical robot, demonstrating major security weaknesses in the machines that may eventually replace a surgeon’s hands in hospitals worldwide. Yikes.When trained surgeons are a plane ride away, remotely operated surgical bots can save lives. Doctors have been performing telesurgical procedures since 2001, when

Officials Knew the Legal Basis for an NSA Spying Program Was Bullshit A formerly-secret report on the NSA’s warrantless surveillance was published yesterday evening. It’s a detailed look into the history of the Stellarwind surveillance program—one that makes it clear that government officials repeatedly questioned its legality and efficacy. Stellarwind was the code name for the President’s Surveillance Program, a wide-reaching information-gathering effort started by

Facebook and Google help find Nepal earthquake survivors The Nepal earthquake has caused an immeasurable amount of tragedy this weekend, but some internet services are offering tools that might provide comfort if you have friends or family in the area. Facebook has rolled out its recently introduced Safety…

The CIA couldn’t properly use a mass surveillance program for years Whatever you think about the morality of using mass surveillance to catch evildoers, the technology only works if people can use it — just ask the CIA. The New York Times has obtained a declassified report revealing that that the agency was largely …

Hackers deface Tesla’s website and Twitter accounts It’s all too common to see ne’er-do-wells compromising a website or a social network account, but Tesla just got hit with a triple whammy. At least one group has hijacked not just the electric car maker’s website and its Twitter account, but also fou…

The Digistump Oak; An ESP8266 On Kickstarter When it was first released, the ESP8266 was a marvel; a complete WiFi solution for any project that cost about $5. A few weeks later, and people were hard at work putting code on the tiny little microcontroller in the ESP8266 and it was clear that this module would be the future of WiFi-enabled Things for the Internet. Now it’s a Kickstarter Project. It’s called the Digistump Oak, and it’s exactly

Your Tor-based email isn’t as secure as you think A recent security breach just provided a painful reminder that Tor’s anonymity network isn’t completely foolproof against truly determined intruders. The email service SIGAINT is warning users that someone recently launched a sustained attempt to bre…

Two Ways You Can Join Nepal’s Earthquake Relief Effort From a Computer There are a few important ways you can contribute to the Nepal earthquake relief effort from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.Mapping Relief Routes If you’ve got a keen eye and a bit of patience, consider aiding the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) in their effort to trace disaster relief routes. HOT is a web-based organization that applies principles of open source and open

UK Cinema Workers Can Earn $1500 For Catching “Cammers” In the Act If you work at a UK movie theater, there’s never been a better time to go pirate hunting. Until June 30th, UK cinema employees can receive up to 1000 British pounds, or 1500 US dollars, for catching would-be bootleggers in the act.Movie theaters often find themselves a front line in the fight against pre-release film piracy. Recently, UK film distributors and the Hollywood-backed Federation Agains

Russian Hackers Read Obama’s Emails During White House Security Breach Last October, some of President Obama’s emails were leaked to Russian hackers during a White House computer system breach, although no classified networks appear to have been accessed, the New York Times reports. According to officials familiar with the investigation, the servers controlling messages sent from Obama’s BlackBerry were not compromised, but rather, some of the president’s corresponde

Amazing Video Happens To Capture Cabulco Volcano As It Starts Erupting Picture it: you’re out hiking, shooting some video of beautiful Chilean waterfalls, when the mountain in the background suddenly starts erupting (for the first time in four decades). Frankly, this guy’s reaction is way more subdued and devoid of terrified shrieking than ours would have been.[Via Laughing Squid]

Video shows the avalanche that hit Everest Base Camp after earthquake Terrifying. German climber Jost Kobusch was at Everest Base Camp as the earthquake that devastated Nepal, hit Everest too. You can see the people realize the ground was shaking and then immediately get hit by a horrific avalanche right after. So sad. It’s so scary that the time to process the earthquake had hit and the incoming avalanche was coming was only a few seconds. 18 people died in the ava

Photos from the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal Tragedy struck the world when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Kathmandu, Nepal earlier this morning. Over a 1000 people have died in the disaster that turned buildings into rubble and leveled the city’s 200-foot tall Dharahara Tower to the ground. The quake was so strong it caused an avalanche on Mount Everest and was felt in India, Tibet, and Bangladesh.Image Credit: Niranjan Shrestha/APUpdate Sun

Apple Bans Fart Apps, All Fun And Joy From Apple Watch Smartwatches and fart apps are basically a match made in heaven: a remotely-triggered Whoopee cushion, basically. But Apple disagrees: putrid, fart-based comedy goes against the sophisticated, elegant image it’s promoting for The Watch. Apple’s dislike for fart apps was disclosed through its rejection of the (creatively named) Fart Watch app, which did exactly what it says on the tin. But the subm

Buying Stuff With Smartwatches Is Dumb: Accidental Xbox Edition There is a limited number of things that smartwatches are good for. As this tech blogger’s accidental purchase of an Xbox One shows, browsing Amazon is not one of those things. During a Periscope demo of the Apple Watch (now there’s a sentence I never thought I would type), CNET writer Scott Stein used the Amazon app to voice-search for an Xbox One, then accidentally tapped the 1-click order butto

Car headlights of the future won’t blind other drivers Carnegie Mellon’s work on headlights has made an appearance here before, where it’s near-future smart headlights would parse raindrops and ‘cancel’ them out, projecting light around the rain drops, substantially improving visibility. But that’s just …

Kojima and del Toro’s ‘Silent Hills’ is not going to happen Silent Hills, at least as it was originally conceived, is no more. The next chapter of the once-popular horror series had built considerable hype off the back of a fantastic playable teaser, P.T., which was released last summer. When solved the tease…

Researchers Can Create Scents that Smell Like Departed Loved Ones We all have a smell—one that those closest to us grow to love (or at least tolerate). Now, a team of researchers is able to recreate the natural aroma of loved ones once they’ve passed away, allowing them to live on. In our noses.The Guardian reports that Katia Apalategui’s mother struggled to get over the death of her husband, and kept the pillowcase he used close to her to remember how he smelle

Tesla’s home batteries may be leased, rather than sold Tesla’s not-so-secret plan to fill the world’s homes with giant batteries could involve leasing them, according to a report from The Guardian. The batteries have apparently already been leased to customers of SolarCity, a renewable energy firm chaire…

Easily Cut People and Objects From Photos With This Camera App There are plenty of powerful third-party camera apps available for Android if you don’t like the one that came with your smartphone. They offer manual control over white balance, ISO and shutter speed, plus a range of advanced features—like the option to cut out moving people and objects from your photos, available in A Better Camera.It’s designed for those moments when you’re trying to take the p

An Iron Man Bluetooth Speaker Is More Useful Than Most Collectibles Unless you’ve managed to hold on to the imagination that inspired your make-believe childhood adventures, all those comic book collectibles you’ve bought don’t do much more than decorate your den. Except for this Iron Man helmet replica that’s secretly also a wireless Bluetooth speaker.At just shy of eight-inches tall it’s a perfect 1:1 scale replica of Tony Stark’s actual Iron Man helmet, but sin
An Iron Man Bluetooth Speaker Is More Useful Than Most CollectiblesAn Iron Man Bluetooth Speaker Is More Useful Than Most Collectibles

Samsung app helps Alzheimer’s patients remember their families If you’ve seen Still Alice, you know how important a smartphone can be for an Alzheimer’s patient — it helps jog memories that might otherwise be lost. Samsung is clearly aware of this, as it just released a dedicated Backup Memory app to stimulate …

First home HIV test goes on sale in Britain Although sexual health has become less of a taboo subject, ensuring that people get tested for STDs remains a big issue. The NHS now offers DIY kits for those worried they might have caught something from a partner and don’t want to get tested by a d…

Wireless glove adds touch to VR video games While Oculus, Valve, Samsung and HTC are all looking to captialize on the resurgence of VR, their solutions all focus on what we can see and hear. That’s more than enough to immerse you in a virtual world, but what if you want to interact with the ob…

Wimbledon bans ‘nuisance’ selfie sticks If you’re heading to the All England Lawn Tennis Club in June to enjoy some strawberries and cream and perhaps snap the odd selfie while watching the world’s best tennis players, we have some bad news: Wimbledon has banned the selfie stick. Laid out …

Printing Out the Internet Would Take About 136 Billion Pages of Paper Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? How much paper would it take to print the internet? A group of students at the University of Leicester recently estimated an answer to the latter question—in relationship to how many trees it would take to print it. It’s the kind of question you’d expect to find on the SAT’s reasoning portion, but it actually resulted in some interesting findings as Marketpla

A Wetsuit That Looks Like a Business Suit Is Hybrid Clothing Perfection Yeah, bro, I know, life is complicated and you’re a grownup with hardly a minute to spare for shredding gnar. Not to worry, Quicksilver’s new “true wetsuits” are made from that wetsuit-y neoprene material so you don’t have to change between the beach and the boardroom.Yes, it appears that Quiksilver is actually selling this suit in Japan for the reasonable price of $2,500. The jacket, pants, and t

Google wants first refusal on the patents you want to sell When a business is finished with a patent or just needs some cash, it often winds up selling its intellectual property to a patent troll. With it, these “non-practicing entities” can then fire courtroom broadsides at outfits like Microsoft and Google…

Wireless Companies Form Alliance to Pressure FCC A handful of wireless companies and public policy groups have formed an alliance meant to pressure the FCC as it drafts rules for the upcoming 600MHz reverse spectrum auction. The alliance is called Some of the companies include Sprint, T-Mobile, and Dish Networks, and some of the groups include the Competitive Carrier Association, Public Knowledge, Rural Wireless Associati

NBC’s live sports streaming comes to Apple TV and Roku players You have more than a few ways to watch live sports on Apple TV and Roku boxes, but there are still a few gaps. What if you want to catch lots of golf tournaments? If you live in the US, you won’t have to worry quite so much. NBC Sports has launched v…

Anonymous: Still Trolling After All These Years Yesterday, an environmentalist faction of Anonymous took down a Hawaiian state government website and a site for the Thirty Meter Telescope project, a controversial effort to build the world’s second largest telescope atop Mauna Kea. You’ve probably never heard of Operation Green Rights. But that’s the point.Believe it or not, Anonymous still exists. Through focused groups like Operation Green Rig

Facebook Messenger Adds Video Calls Facebook’s relentless push to make Messenger happen is still happening, and you can now make video calls over data and Wifi with with Facebook’s messaging app. Messenger’s new video feature debuted today in the US, UK, Canada, and a variety of other countries. If you see a little video icon in the top right corner of your screen, you’ve got it. So if you’re talking to a friend and realize that you

Instagram debuts three new filters and emoji hashtags The five new filters that Instagram released back in December have reportedly been such a hit with users, the company has unveiled three more retouching options: Lark, Reyes and Juno. According to Instagram’s blog, Lark softens reds in favor of blue …

‘Minecraft’ finally has a free girl character Lots of girls play Minecraft, but you wouldn’t know it from the default character options. Unless you’ve been willing to pay up or install a mod, your only real choice so far has been Steve, the game’s male mascot. At last, though, things are opening…

Hong Kong is Posting the Faces Of Litterers, Identified by DNA — Design News Every day in Hong Kong, more than 16,000 tons of trash is left in streets and public spaces. A new campaign hopes to shame people into cleaning up after themselves by posting their faces alongside their litter. DNA technology firm Parabon Nanolabs is collecting street trash and creating pretty accurate composite images of offenders using genetic material left on the litter. Find a trashcan,

Leanflix Filters Through Streaming Movie Options to Narrow Choices Picking a movie to watch on Netflix or Amazon can take forever sometimes, but if you have an idea of what you’re looking for, Leanflix lets you sort through various streaming options using a variety of filters.We’ve seen other webapps that have made sifting through streaming options a little easier, but Leanflix manages to do a lot more. First off, you can search through Netflix, Amazon, HBO Go, a

Listen to Wikipedia Lets You Work to Ambient Sounds of Real-Time Edits Ambient sounds are great for helping you focus and increasing your productivity. Listen to Wikipedia plays a symphony of ambient bells, strings, and deep resonant notes that all represent Wikipedia edits happening in real time.Designers Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi use Wikipedia’s changes feed to capture several different types of edits happening right now: additions, deletions, large revis

Butterfly wings are the key to glare-free phone displays Butterflies have proven to be a surprising source of inspiration for technology, and that trend isn’t about to slow down any time soon. German researchers have discovered that irregular, nanoscopic structures on the glasswing butterfly’s namesake tra…

German Court Rules Adblock Plus Is Legal An anonymous reader writes: Following a four-month trial, a German court in Hamburg has ruled that the practice of blocking advertising is perfectly legitimate. Germany-based Eyeo, the company that owns Adblock Plus, has won a case against German publishers Zeit Online and Handelsblatt. These companies operate,, and Their lawsuit, filed on December 3, charged that

Isabel Diagnoses Your Health Symptoms, Based on Tools Used by Doctors Google is not the best place to start looking up your symptoms. Instead, check out Isabel, a powerful symptom checker that’s based on a tool used by over 100 hospitals and doctors’ offices.The site asks you for your symptoms, then shows possible diagnoses, which can be filtered by the most common conditions or the most concerning ones. Clicking on a condition takes you to resources like Wikipedia

Learn to Play an Instrument with 7 Free Online Music Lessons Learning a to play an instrument is a great experience — not only is it a lot of fun, but science shows that it’s good for your brain, too. But getting music lessons can be expensive. So why not try out some of these free online music lesson courses? You can learn at your own pace, go through each lesson as many times as you want, and not pay a dime. Guitar: Justin Sandercoe is a

Now You Can Download Your Google History—Or Better Yet, Delete It You can now download your entire Google search history to your computer. Sound neat? That’s what I thought at first. And then I realized there were dangerous things in my search history—things way worse than my taste in porn. I’m not talking about the embarrassing fact that I always start Pandora Radio by typing “Pandora” into Google—I guess I don’t use bookmarks—or the names of all the people I

Baltimore Police Used Stingrays For Phone Tracking Over 25,000 Times An anonymous reader writes The Baltimore Police Department is starting to come clean about its use of cell-phone signal interceptors — commonly known as Stingrays — and the numbers are alarming. According to recent court testimony reported by The Baltimore Sun, the city’s police have used Stingray devices with a court order more than 25,000 times. It’s a massive number, representing an average of

Opt Out of Interest-Based Ads to Get Less Creepy Ads on Android Android: No one likes ads, but they can get particularly creepy when you’re not sure how an ad knew you might be interested in something in the first place. If you’d like your ads a little on the less-personal side, you can disable interest-based ads in the Google Settings app.In 2013, Google started quietly adding the Google Settings app as part of Google Play Services. You’d be forgiven for miss

One of Indiegogo’s Biggest Successes Is Getting Sued for Fraud The supposedly innovative, affordable Sondors e-bike slayed its crowdfunding goal earlier this month, raising over $5 million to become the second-most successful Indiegogo campaign of all time. Now its creator is getting sued for fraud by the company that ran his crowdfunding gambit. And it’s not the only sketchy thing about this campaign. Storm Sondors, the man peddling the e-bike, has alre

You can now download your Google search history Google is now allowing users to download a copy of their search history. Quietly introduced in January and only recently picked up on, it’s relatively easy to snag a copy of your search history. First, you’ll need a Google account. From there, pop over to your Account History page, click the…

Twitter Is Testing a Product That’ll Hunt Down Trollish Tweets Twitter is well aware that it’s a breeding ground for online harassment and has done a terrible job stopping it, and today, the company announced three tactics to better combat tweeting trolls. First, it expanded its definition of a threat to cover a wider umbrella of shitbag tweets. Then it introduced a “locking” policy to give it more control over blocking threatening accounts. But then— this is

Google “Mobilegeddon” Has Officially Arrived Nearly two months after its announcement, Google has changed its algorithm to favor mobile-friendly sites. Brands like Ryanair and American Apparel are already suffering in the search rankings.

Microsoft and Yahoo can end their search deal after October 1st Yahoo’s renewed search deal with Microsoft is even more laissez-faire than it looks at first glance. A filing from the internet pioneer reveals that either company can call it quits from October 1st onward — all they have to do is send a breakup let…

Can Bing Surpass Google Search Through Windows 10 Integration? In terms of search volume, Google eats Bing for breakfast. And the widespread use of the Android operating system contributes its part to Google’s dominance. But Bing and Microsoft are a Phoenix in full-rebirth mode. As Google faces antitrust allegations and Cortana meets the Windows 10 Taskbar, Microsoft may soon turn the tables. Bing is Capturing Markets Microsoft’s Bing search engine has captur

Remember These? 7 Ancient Windows Programs Still Used Today They say technology advances at an exponential rate and a lot can change in a year. That’s true, of course, so how impressive is it that so many of the programs we use today have been around for multiple decades? Quite impressive, if you ask me. Walking down Nostalgia Lane is nothing new here at MakeUseOf. This particular trip was inspired by our readers when we asked about the oldest PC software

Ask for a “Validation Notice” to Expose a Debt Collection Scam If you’ve been in debt for a while, you’ve likely received plenty of annoying phone calls from debt collection agencies. But not all of these calls are legit. If you’re not careful, you could fall for a debt collection scam. When talking to a collector, make sure to ask for a “validation notice.”Read more…

Javascript is the most popular language at GitHub “Based on the historical GitHub Archive and GitHut data starting in 2012, we analyzed the most common developer actions within GitHub and turned it into [these] infographics” Interesting factoid: four of the top five entries were introduced in 1995, and the other (CSS) in 1996. The Most Popular Programming Languages in to GitHub Since 2012 [loggly]
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Netflix, Full House, and the Temptations of Nostalgia – TIME TIMENetflix, Full House, and the Temptations of NostalgiaTIMEIf the folks at Netflix watch Netflix, last December they might have seen a chilling episode of the British sci-fi series Black Mirror, titled “Be Right Back,” a kind of high-tech version of the short story “The Monkey’s Paw.” After her significant other is killed in an …Have mercy! Netflix to stream ‘Full House’ reunion, spinoffCNNFul

USPS Shortlists ‘HorseFly’ Octocopter Drone Delivery Service An anonymous reader writes: The likes of GM and Nissan are keeping unusual company in the bidding war to build and deliver the next generation of delivery vehicles for the U.S. Postal Service. Workhorse Group Inc. have made it to the 16-company shortlist with their octocopter drone delivery system, developed by the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science. The self-guidi
There Is a Secret Gold Link Apple Watch and Beyoncé Has It Beyoncé recently wore a gold link Apple Watch at Coachella— but it’s not one of the Apple Watch bracelets available to buy, at least not yet. Elderly Draco Malfoy impersonator Karl Lagerfeld also had his wrist photographed clad in this mysterious gold link Apple Watch. Two celebrities, one likely upsettingly expensive watch, so many questions: Is Apple making a secret CELEBS ONLY Apple Watch? Or

Japan breaks train speed record with Maglev train Bullet train tops 603kph, with officials confident new technology is likely to shape a new global generation of trains.

‘Mobilegeddon’: Google To Punish Mobile-Hostile Sites Starting Today jfruh writes: Google has announced that it will be adding mobile-friendliness to the list of factors that will get a site bumped up in search rankings. Sites that have no mobile versions — which includes sites owned by Wikipedia, the BBC and the European Union — will find themselves with lower Google search placement, starting today. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

UPDATE: Uber Customer Now “Owes” $16,000 For One Ride To Midtown [UPDATES BELOW] Jaime Hessel’s March 28th UberX ride from her East Williamsburg apartment to Midtown East covered 6.79 miles in 35 minutes and 29 seconds, and resulted in a $12,251.49 bill. In Uber’s defense, Midtown East is lovely this time of year. [ more › ]

Steam now limits community features until you spend $5 Valve has made some changes to the way they handle user

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