Developer coaxes Siri to raise, lower his temperature

The prospect of asking Apple's Siri to control items besides your iPhone is starting to look a whole lot more real.

A developer known only as Pete, or @plamoni on Twitter, has created a special proxy server through which he can issue voice commands to the iPhone 4S voice assistant, who can then perform tasks outside of the iPhone. The first target: his thermostat.

Tapping into a hack set up last week by developer Applidium that lets people add more functionality to Siri, Pete managed to create a plugin to control a Wi-Fi thermostat by voice. In the video … Read more

Hacker says he broke into Texas water plant, others

A twentysomething hacker said today that he hacked into a South Houston water utility to show that it can easily be done, after U.S. officials downplayed the risks from a report yesterday of an intrusion at an Illinois water plant.

The hacker, using the alias "pr0f," said he has hacked other SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems too.

He tweeted on November 5 links to public posts with what he identified as PLC configurations for a Polish waste-water treatment plant; SCADA data from an HMI (human-machine interface) box possibly for a generator used for research purposes … Read more

Add settings icons to your iDevice, no jailbreak required

One of the big draws of jailbreaking your iPhone or iPad is access to SBSettings, a free app that provides quick access to settings like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, screen brightness, and so on.

If you've ever wished for that kind of convenience without the hassles of jailbreaking, this is your lucky day. A hack called IconSettings lets you add up to 40 iOS-settings icons to your iDevice, no jailbreaking required.

This "app" is actually a collection of fancy-icon browser bookmarks with hooks into iOS settings. Thus, when you tap, say, Brightness, you'll see Safari appear and … Read more

How to create a banner photo for your Google+ profile

Google+ has a cool five-photo lineup near the top of your profile page, so why not utilize it for something awesome?

Bored of five random images? Then it's time to try this free Web tool. You don't need to install any fancy programs; all you need is a Web browser, a large picture you like (of yourself or anything else), and a few minutes of your time.

Step 1: Head to this site and click on the Upload Your Picture button.

Step 2: Locate the picture you want to use for the banner. This image should be at … Read more

FBI investigates grade change hacking at Santa Clara

After a Santa Clara University undergraduate tweeted that he had unexpectedly been questioned by FBI agents, the school itself acknowledged that it has asked the feds to investigate how an intruder electronically altered a few dozen grades.

Mark Loiseau, 25, a senior electrical engineering student, received an unpleasant surprise this morning: three FBI agents showed up at his off-campus apartment wanting to have a friendly chat with him.

FBI agent Jeffrey Miller and his colleagues had complete dossiers on him and his friends, Loiseau told CNET this afternoon. "They had all my grades. They had pictures of me." … Read more

How to see your retweets on Twitter

Twitter is gradually removing the Retweets tab from all accounts and merging it into the @username tab.

Editors' note: Unfortunately this quick fix was short-lived. However, this author is still seeking a new solution that isolates the retweets from other content on Twitter. If you have a suggestion or know of a solution, please add it to the comments, or share it with the author at cozdroid@gmail.com.

If you're running a Twitter account for a business, or if you're just curious about your personal reach within your followers, it can be difficult to sort through the @… Read more

Now Anonymous threatens Iowa caucuses?

Is it possible that hacking has become slightly old hat?

Is it possible that the amorphous group called Anonymous has decided more direct action is necessary?

This might be the case, given a new YouTube video which has emerged from the very loose organization. This one attempts to rouse a disruption of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, traditionally the first in the election process.

In the video, which includes some quite hum-worthy music, the disguised narrator declares that both political parties have failed us.

He continues: "Both parties are desecrating the American democracy and committing crimes against humanity on behalf … Read more

Tweephone makes tweeting retro-quaint

At first I thought the Tweephone might be a joke, but upon second look, I see that it's just a fun little hack. A twee one, even.

The "world's first analog Twitter client" lets you tweet with the turn of a rotary phone dial. An Arduino platform inside the retro-looking phone chassis interprets your dial turns as letters in much the same way you used to have to keep punching keys on an alphanumeric dialpad to get the right letters when texting. To get an "a," for example, you have to dial 2 once; to get an "f," you dial 3 three times. Yes, yes, that's a lot of labor for 140 characters, but has tweeting ever looked so charming? … Read more

China: Don't blame us for U.S. satellite hacks

China asserts it was not behind a series of hacks against U.S. environment-monitoring satellites a few years ago.

Speaking at a news briefing today, China Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said claims that China was behind the hacks, which occurred in 2007 and 2008, are "untrue." The spokesman added, according to Reuters, which attended the briefing, that China is "also a victim of hacking attacks and will oppose any form of cybercrime, including hacking."

Last week, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission wrote in a draft of its annual report that two … Read more