Weekend news roundup: 3D gun designs, space station picks Linux over Windows XP


13 May 2013

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In our round-up of some of the top tech stories from the weekend, Mega’s founder wants 3D gun designs off the site, the International Space Station switches to Linux, and police flood Apple with decryption requests.

Dotcom orders deletion of 3D gun design from Mega

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom says designs for a 3D-printed gun are ‘scary’, and he has deleted public links to its blueprints from his new file-sharing website, ZDNet reported.

The US government is investigating whether the gun design, created by US-based company Defense Distributed, breached arms-control laws relating to shipping weapons overseas by making the plans publicly available online.

The Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance demanded that Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson remove public access to the designs until he had proven that he was not breaking the law.

The plans were available on Dotcom’s Mega website, but the entrepreneur asked his staff to delete the public files.

Dotcom said he was not contacted by the US government, but became aware of its plans to shut down public links to the designs.

International Space Station to boldly go with Linux over Windows

Computers aboard the International Space Station are to be switched from Windows XP to the Linux operating system in an attempt to improve stability and reliability, The Telegraph reported.

Dozens of laptops on the ISS’s ‘opsLAN’ network – which provides the ship’s crew with vital capabilities for day-to-day operations, from telling the astronauts where they are to interfacing with onboard cameras – will be switched, removing Windows entirely from the ISS.

“We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could,” said Keith Chuvala of the United Space Alliance, which runs opsLAN for NASA.

Astronauts using the system were trained on specific courses tailored by the non-profit Linux Foundation.

Apple reportedly inundated with police requests to decrypt iPhones

Examining encrypted iPhones and iPads as evidence in police investigations has become so common that Apple has created a waiting list to handle the inundation of help requests it receives, The Verge reported CNET as saying.

Though it’s been known that Apple is willing to help government agencies in opening up inaccessible iOS devices, the extent to which the company helps law enforcement hasn’t been detailed before.

Court documents CNET has seen reveal that an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was told that there would be a seven-week wait before Apple would be able to handle a case that he had submitted for assistance.

Tesla founder Elon Musk leaves Zuckerberg’s FWD.us advocacy group amid ‘green’ concerns

Telsa Motor’s founder Elon Musk has left the advocacy group formed by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, The Next Web reported.

The serial entrepreneur departed but his company spokesperson did not elaborate about his departure, although it might be due to FWD.us (the name of the group) assistance to US senators who support oil pipeline and drilling developments in Alaska.

The departure of Musk is a significant development for the group. The advocacy group was initially started to support immigration reform in the US, but has evolved into other issues. If the reasons for Musk leaving are indeed linked to the Alaska oil pipeline, it would run counter to what he believes. As the founder of Tesla, he operates a “green” company.

Why Pinterest is stressing out our moms

The Today Show in the US surveyed more than 7,000 moms, and discovered that Pinterest, the image sharing site, is dealing a low blow to the tranquillity of moms everywhere, Technorati reported.

According to the survey, more than 42pc of Pinterest-using moms have some level of stress derived from their time surfing the idea-filled network.

What’s bugging our moms? Perfection.

Pinterest provides an overly idealised glimpse into each other’s vicarious lives, as we share ideas learned from others. Our Pinterest ‘friends’ are merely sharing good ideas, not necessarily personally fulfilled projects. In fact, many boards might have only one project that was actually attempted by the person sharing.

Lose track of this fact, and it’s easy to feel inadequate, Technorati reported.

Gun control image via Shutterstock

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