High profile hackers get their day in court


The court cases against high profile hackers [Gary McKinnon], [Gregory King], and [Robert Matthew Bentley] all had major developments last week, with [King] and [Bentley] sentenced to time in prison and [McKinnon] in a tenuous
state fighting extradition.

Both [King] (aka Silenz) and [Bentley] (aka LSDigital) will serve time for crimes related to botnets, but where [King] used one to stage DDOS attacks, [Bentley] used them to create spam. [King]‘s botnet had 7,000 nodes, and though the court did not release the size of [Bentley]‘s botnet, all of his bots were computers in the Rubbermaid company. [King] agreed to a two-year sentence, while [Bentley] was sentenced to 41 months.

[McKinnon] (aka Solo) who is of British origin, may serve up to 60 years in prison for mounting the “biggest military hack ever” on U.S. government computers. Between 2001 and 2002, he allegedly hacked into 97 computers in U.S. military and NASA networks. To be charged in American courts, though, he would have to be extradited first, and his extradition appeal to British courts is currently pending.

xB Browser for anonymous browsing


Download Squad highlighted the xB Browser today. It’s a product offered by XeroBank and is the successor to the TorPark project. The browser anonymizes your browsing using the Tor network and doesn’t remember passwords, sites visited, or any other personal information. Scripts and plugins are disallowed by default, since they could be used to identify you. Remember that Tor just anonymizes; you’re still at the mercy of the exit nodes when it comes to security.

That’s just the free version though. Subscribers to XeroBank have access to an anonymous mail server and VPN service. If you’re a subscriber your bowser session is tunneled through XeroBank’s pool of servers and not the Tor network. We think they should have maintained a separate product name since this distinction isn’t clear outside of the FAQ.

Twittering teddy bear

This may be the deathblow that kills Nabaztag: using text-to-speech software, this animatronic bear speaks a Twitter stream aloud and in real time.

The gurus at My Home 2.0 made the bear talk by replacing its integrated circuit board with an Arduino loaded with custom software. A Bluetooth audio adapter was added as a channel for the bear’s voice, and a circuit with an H bridge chip was added to address power issues. The Arduino translates the income audio signal into movement. From there the process moved to the computer that feeds the bear audio data, they parse the Twitter stream and use OSX’s built in “say” command to generate the voice stream that’s sent to the bear via Bluetooth.

Robot chairs


Chairs may be among the most useful inventions known to humanity, but that doesn’t mean that a clever engineer or two can’t improve on the idea. As proof, we offer you this list of robotic chairs that do much more than provide a place to put your rear in.

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Gaming with real-world data


We were pretty excited by the prospect of location-aware software and its ability to pull map data into its functions, but what do you get when build software on top of a map-based service? Well, one possibility is 2D gaming on real maps.

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Don’t talk to the police


As builders of improvised electronic devices, we’re worried that we may find ourselves running afoul of the law. Lucky for us, we’ve got the advice of Regent University Law Professor James Duane on using the 5th amendment. He runs through many examples where saying anything at all, truth or otherwise, can get you into trouble. Embedded below is the other side: Officer George Bruch discussing some of the interview techniques he uses.

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Electric recumbent bicycles


If you liked our post about bikes and skates with weed whacker engines but want more power and more challenge, we have good news. We’ve found some great instructions on adding motors to recumbent bicycles, which we’ll take you through after the break.

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