Motion-Activated Christmas Lights Gets Intensely Bright To Scare Off Intruders

‘Tis the season for Christmas parties, leaving many homes empty and prime targets for burglars while revelers are away visiting family and friends. But there’s nothing to worry about if you’ve decorated your home with these festive, motion-activated Christmas lights that crank to 12,000 lumens of brightness to scare off intruders.

With living rooms also potentially packed with pricey presents under the Christmas tree, it’s not a bad idea to boost the security and visibility of your home during the holidays. However, you also don’t want to draw ire from your neighbors for surrounding your home in blinding spotlights all night long.

That’s why these Christmas lights are a brilliant idea. They only ramp up to 12,000 lumens of brightness—equivalent to a pair of ultra-bright home theater projectors—when an included motion detector senses something moving on your property.

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Black Rhino Dallas TX

Black Rhino Dallas TX

The chance to hunt an endangered black rhino will be auctioned off this weekend in Texas, where the Dallas Safari Club has pursued its controversial auction despite public outrage and even death threats.

Black Rhino Dallas TX

The Texas-based hunting group is holding its annual convention this week in Dallas, where animal rights activists have promised to protest the rhino hunt.

The group has even received death threats because of the auction prize, according to ABC News affiliate station WFAA-TV in Dallas.

The club today is expected auction off a seven-day trip to the Eastern Cape of South Africa to hunt the black rhino. The trip, valued at $28,000, includes a permit to hunt the endangered animal, which has drawn criticism from some conservation and animal rights activists.

There are an estimated 5,055 black rhinos left in the world.

“This is the ultimate in sport hunting as it is extremely challenging because the Black Rhino has very acute senses and is notoriously aggressive,” the auction catalogue reads. “Hunters are more likely to become the hunted and not the Hunter!”

Ben Carter, executive director of the club, told ABC News that the auction, and specifically this auction item, will help save the endangered black rhino, even if it seems contradictory.

“There is a biological reason for this hunt, and it’s based on a fundamental premise of modern wildlife management: populations matter; individuals don’t,” Carter said in a statement released in October. “By removing counterproductive individuals from a herd, rhino populations can actually grow.”

The group said all of the proceeds from the sale of the permit, estimated to fetch between $250,000 and $1 million, will go toward the Conservation Trust Fund for Namibia’s Black Rhino.

But animals rights groups disagree.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said it would make more sense for the wildlife enthusiasts to donate money solely for rhino conservation than to kill one of the animals.

“I think if they were multimillionaires and they were serious about helping rhinos, they could give money to help rhinos and not shoot one along the way,” Pacelle said. “The first rule of protecting a rare species is to limit the human [related] killing.”

The rhino’s size and temperament make it a fairly easy animal to hunt and kill, Pacelle added.

“Rhinos are enormous lumbering animals who confront predators with their horn and physical mass,” he said. “Shooting a rhino is about as difficult as shooting a tank. … In terms of the sportsmanship component, it’s totally lacking.”

The Dallas Safari Club has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

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Five new features coming in Firefox 21 tomorrow

It’s been about six weeks since the release of Firefox 20, so assuming Mozilla stays on its usual schedule, Firefox 21 will make its debut on Tuesday.

mozilla

This next version of the popular open source browser has already attracted attention for the changes brought in early versions to Firefox’s “Do Not Track” capabilities, but those are by no means the only interesting additions we’ll see.

Several changes and new features are slated to arrive in the final version of Firefox 21, in fact. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights you can expect to find.

1. Three ‘Do Not Track’ options

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Groupon to launch POS app for iPad? Here are 5 alternatives

Groupon Payments

It looks like Groupon is adding yet another mobile payments solution to the already crowded space that includes its own Groupon Merchants app for iPhone and Android. as well as competitors such as Square and PayPal Here.

An iPad app called Groupon POS earlier today briefly landed in the iTunes store before it disappeared. Now if you click on a link pointing to it from various media outlets you’ll only receive a message that says “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the U.S. store.”

What’s behind its removal is anyone’s guess (a horrible name, perhaps?) and Groupon hasn’t officially announced it. Before it went missing, the Groupon POS app description said it “works for a wide variety of merchants from cafes and delis, to salons, spas and florists,” reported TechCrunch, which said it looked like a more simple and generalized version of Breadcrumb, a restaurant-centered iPad payments solution Groupon acquired last year.

You can expect a Groupon app for tablets to reappear because of the kind of traction Groupon is getting in mobile. In a recent earnings report the company said that 45 percent of North American transactions occurred on mobile devices, compared with only 30 percent a year earlier.

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Why Yahoo’s telecommuting ban is still bad for business

Last week, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was interviewed at the Wired Business Conference on a range of topics, but the question on everyone’s mind (including interviewer Steven Levy) was her impossibly unpopular edict against telecommuting.

I surely don’t have to rehash what happened when Mayer enacted the New Law against working from home. It was eventually reported that she allegedly caught wind of it when she determined people weren’t logged into the company VPN for enough hours of the day to be “working.” The backlash has sparked a furious debate on the merits of WFH, and whether Mayer has it right or is simply another victim of CEO paranoia, convinced her employees are “ripping her off” by slacking when they should be grinding out work at their desks.

Last week Mayer attempted to clarify her position, arguing that it had been misinterpreted and that Yahoos can still work from home, provided it is at night or on the weekend. (Hey, thanks!) She then gave an example of how a new mobile app called Yahoo Weather (it tells you the weather) came to be. Yahoo’s newly collaborative environment, she said, made it possible for someone from the Weather team and someone from the Flickr team to encounter one another serendipitously on the Yahoo campus. And that’s the magic of how the app came to be.

But the most important thing Mayer said is that she isn’t particularly against telecommuting, just that it is “not right for us, right now.” She has a point. Telecommuting doesn’t work for 100 percent of companies 100 percent of the time, but the positioning is a little ironic given Mayer’s earlier decisions as CEO. As one of her first orders of business last year, she gave every employee a new smartphone. In her announcement to staff, she explained the generosity saying, “We’d like our employees to have devices similar to our users, so we can think and work as the majority of our users do.”

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Google security plan targets login authentication, hijacking

Google has released a draft of its next five-year plan for login authentication that tries to stay at least on par with criminal hackers, but recognizes that strong security requires industry collaboration.

The draft, which was released last week for security pros, may be discussed further at the Google I/O conference next week. It explores where Google might head following its first five-year plan, issued in 2008.

Over the last five years, the security landscape has changed dramatically with the broad adoption of smartphones, the rise in hijackings of website accounts, and the evolution in hacking techniques and tools that require innovation in defenses.

Two-factor authentication offered

This year, Google rolled out a two-step log-in process to attach a specific device to an account holder. The company is now considering becoming much more aggressive with the mechanism, which is currently optional.

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Western Digital ships hybrid drive sporting SanDisk memory

Western Digital has released new information about its first hybrid drive, revealing that it is using NAND flash technology from SanDisk. The drive is now shipping.

WD originally announced the solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD)—the WD Black SSHD—last month along with its thinnest hard disk drive to date, the WD Blue.

Hybrid drives use a small amount of NAND flash memory to accelerate performance in combination with a traditional hard disk drive for added storage.

In the partnership, SanDisk will supply its iSSD NAND flash and WD will offer up its WD Black hard drive to create the SSHD. The drive uses a 6Gbps SATA interface.

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Cybercrooks reportedly hang out in Latin America, Caribbean

Internet criminals have opened a new front in Latin America and the Caribbean and seem to have founded booming businesses thanks to low levels of cybercrime protection and awareness, a rare but timely analysis of the region by Trend Micro has found.

After gathering data from 20 out of 32 members of the Organization of American States (OAS) and its own honeypots, Trend concludes that cybercrime is on the rise, not a surprise perhaps given that this is a global phenomenon, but worth paying attention to for any firm doing business in these countries.

Overall, incidents increased in OAS countries by between 8 percent and 40 percent in every category of threat in 2011 and 2012, with hacktivism, attacks on online banks, and infrastructure probes particular standouts.

Preventative practices lacking

More interesting than the percentages alone, however, were the inferences Trend was able to make about underlying cybersecurity based on the types of attack that were reported.

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iTunes snub is another nail in the Windows RT coffin

Windows RT just can’t catch a break. Friday’s big news— Apple’s refusal to create an iTunes Windows 8 app —was another blow to the beleaguered OS, for even though Microsoft’s finger-friendly software are dubbed “Windows 8 apps,” they’re truly “Windows RT apps.” The ARM processors poweringWindows RT tablets can’t run traditional desktop programs (like iTunes) and are instead forced to rely upon the lackluster selection in the Windows Store.

Apple’s decision to pass on a Windows 8 app doesn’t affect hardware running the full version of Windows 8 in the slightest, as those users just grab the classic version. But for people who bought into the promise of the Surface RTand its ilk, the snub cuts deep.

The lack of an iTunes app is a big deal, and not just because the current state of Windows 8 music apps is so …wanting. (The baked-in Music app? Meh.)

More importantly, iTunes is a juggernaut of an ecosystem, gobbling roughly two-thirds of all paid digital music and video sales alike. If you buy digital media, there’s a great chance you have something stashed in iTunes—and, if that something includes any video files or DRM-protected songs, you’ll find it utterly inaccessible on Windows RT.

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iTunes snub is another nail in the Windows RT coffin

Windows RT just can’t catch a break. Friday’s big news— Apple’s refusal to create an iTunes Windows 8 app —was another blow to the beleaguered OS, for even though Microsoft’s finger-friendly software are dubbed “Windows 8 apps,” they’re truly “Windows RT apps.” The ARM processors poweringWindows RT tablets can’t run traditional desktop programs (like iTunes) and are instead forced to rely upon the lackluster selection in the Windows Store.

Apple’s decision to pass on a Windows 8 app doesn’t affect hardware running the full version of Windows 8 in the slightest, as those users just grab the classic version. But for people who bought into the promise of the Surface RTand its ilk, the snub cuts deep.

The lack of an iTunes app is a big deal, and not just because the current state of Windows 8 music apps is so …wanting. (The baked-in Music app? Meh.)

More importantly, iTunes is a juggernaut of an ecosystem, gobbling roughly two-thirds of all paid digital music and video sales alike. If you buy digital media, there’s a great chance you have something stashed in iTunes—and, if that something includes any video files or DRM-protected songs, you’ll find it utterly inaccessible on Windows RT.

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