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The Hustle tells the story of a mysterious legend who “produced thousands of the ugliest counterfeit $1 bills ever made…so poorly done that the Secret Service thought the perpetrator was intentionally mocking them” — using a small hand-driven printing press in his kitchen:
It was printed on cheap bond paper that could be found at any stationary store. The serial numbers were “fuzzy” and misaligned, the Secret Service later said. George Washington’s likeness was “clumsily retouched, murky and deathlike,” with black blotches for eyes. And just for good measure, the ex-president’s name was misspelled “Wahsington”…
He also never spent money in the same place twice: His “hits” spanned subway stations, dime stores, and tavern owners all over Manhattan. Investigators set up a map of New York in their office, marking each $1 counterfeit location with a red thumbtack. They handed out some 200,000 warning placards at 10,000 stores. They tracked down dozens of folks who’d spent the bills. But 10 years came and went, and the search for Mister 880 turned into the largest and most expensive counterfeit investigation in Secret Service history. By 1947, the Secret Service had documented some $7,000 of the distinctively terrible fake $1 bills — about 5% of the $137,318 of fake currency estimated to be in circulation nation-wide. As it turned out, the worst counterfeiter in history was also the most elusive…
Agents busted into the brownstone, expecting to find a criminal mastermind. Instead, they were greeted by a jovial 73-year-old — “5’3″ tall, [with a] lean hard muscled frame, a healthy pink face, bright blue eyes, a shiny bald dome, a fringe of snowy hair over his ears, a wispy white mustache, and hardly any teeth.” It was Emerich Jeuttner, the old junk collector. Juettner seemed unfazed and endearingly aloof. When answering questions, he’d pause and offer a toothless grin…
“They were only $1 bills. I never gave more than one of them to any one person, so nobody ever lost more than $1.”
The likeable 73-year-old was given a lenient sentence of 1 year and 1 day, the article points out — meaning Jeuttner was eligible for parole after four months. And he was given a fine of exactly $1.
Jeuttner then sold the rights to his life story for a 1950 film (which won an Academy Award) — bringing him more money than he’d earned during all of his years as a counterfeiter.
of this story at Slashdot.
OpenSCAD has been updated. The latest release of what is probably the best 3D modeling tool has been in the works for years now, and we’ve got some interesting features now. Of note, there’s a customizer, for allowing parametrizing designs with a GUI. There’s 3D mouse support, so drag out that weird ball mouse from the 90s. You can export in SVG, 3MF, and AMF. Update your install of OpenSCAD now.
New Hampshire is the home of BASIC, and now there’s a sign on the side of the road saying so. This is a New Hampshire state historical marker honoring BASIC, invented at Dartmouth College in 1964. Interestingly, there are 255 historical markers in New Hampshire, usually honoring bridges and historical figures, which means there’s an off-by-one error depending on implementation.
Because robots a great way to get kids into technology — someone has to repair the future robot workers of the world — DJI has release the RoboMaster S1. It’s a robot with four Mecanum wheels, something like a Nerf turret, a camera, and WiFi. The best part? It’s programmable, either through Scratch or Python. Yes, it’s drag-and-drop programming for line following robots.
If you have a C by GE Smart Light Bulb and connect a new router to your home network, you will need to disassociate your C By GE Smart Light Bulb with your old network. To do this, you first need to turn your bulb on for eight seconds, then turn off for two seconds, then turn on for eight seconds, then turn off for two seconds. Then turn the bulb on for eight seconds, and finally turn the bulb off for two seconds. Finally, turn the bulb on for eight seconds, then turn the bulb off for two seconds. Your bulb should blink three times, indicating it has dissociated with the WiFi network. If this procedure does not work, your light bulb is running an older version of firmware. This is why you put a physical reset button on your stuff, people.
Have a lot of Raspberry Pi hats but you want to play around with the ESP32? No problem, because here’s a Pi-compatible GPIO ESP32 board. It needs a catchier name, but this is an ESP32 that’s mostly compatible with the 40-pin connector found on all Pis. Here’s a Crowd Supply link.
Customer experience has received all the attention, but employee experience may be another important software category. The problem? There are dozens of vendors coming at employee experience from different angles. You’ll be stitching together apps for the foreseeable future. …read more
At the AT&T Shape conference, we get a taste of the carrier’s blazing 5G speeds. And they sure make for smooth mole whacking. …read more
theodp writes: Amazon Future Engineer students across the country are graduating from high school,” reports the Amazon Day One blog, “and to celebrate, Amazonians visited select classrooms to meet some of the students and to check out their impressive computer science progress and end of year projects [TV coverage of an ‘Amazon graduation’].
Amazon Future Engineer “is a four-part, childhood-to-career program aimed at inspiring and educating 10 million students from underrepresented and underserved communities each year to try computer science and coding. Amazon strives to achieve this by inspiring millions of children through coding camps and Code.org’s Hour of Code program, funding computer science courses in high schools across the country, providing 100 students with four-year college scholarships in computer science, and offering Amazon internships to scholarship recipients.”
The importance of CS education to Amazon is highlighted in a new Washingtonian story, The Real Story of How Virginia Won Amazon’s HQ2, which reports, “Northern Virginia’s ultimate proposal was centered around an effort to provide Amazon — or any other tech firm that wanted to come — with all the educated workers it needed, now and in the future. [Virginia Economic Development Partnership CEO Stephen] Moret’s team proposed increasing tech education from kindergarten through 12th grade, expanding university offerings to produce up to 17,500 new bachelor’s degrees in computer science and related fields, and building a tech campus that could produce the same number of master’s degrees.”
And in a recent Brookings Institution fireside chat, Moret noted, “we analyzed substantially all of the LinkedIn profiles of HQ1 — the Seattle workforce… And if you look at the tech occupations — that was the space they were the most concerned about — literally half of all the people at Amazon Seattle headquarters that are working in some kind of tech occupation, half of them have at least one degree in computer science. So, that was a really big data point for us; and that really shaped a lot of how we built our package.
of this story at Slashdot.
The first nighttime launch of the big rocket will also be a celestial funeral of sorts. …read more
Long-time Slashdot reader chicksdaddy shares news of a recent report from cybersecurity company Forcepoint’s X-Lab, examining how cybersecurity decision-making is affected by six common biases:
For instance, Forcepoint found that older generations are typically characterized by information security professionals as “riskier users based on their supposed lack of familiarity with new technologies.” However, studies have found the opposite to be true: younger people are far more likely to engage in risky behavior like sharing their passwords to streaming services. The presumption that older workers pose more of a risk than younger workers is an example of so-called “aggregate bias,” in which subjects make inferences about an individual based on a population trend. Biases like this misinform security professionals by directing their focus to individual users based on their supposed group membership. In turn, analysts wrongly direct their focus to the wrong individuals as sources of security issues.
Availability bias may influence cybersecurity analysts’ decision-making in favor of hot topics in the news, which ultimately cloud other information they may know but are not so frequently exposed to; leading them to make less well-rounded decisions. People encounter “confirmation bias” most frequently during research. By neglecting the bigger picture, assumptions are made and research is specifically tailored to confirm those assumptions. When looking for issues, analysts can often find themselves looking for confirmation of what they already believe to be the cause as opposed to searching for all possible causes.
The fundamental attribution error also plays a significant role in misleading security analysts, Forcepoint found. This is manifested when information security analysts or software developers place blame on users being inept instead of considering that their technology may be faulty or that internal factors contributed to a security lapse.
The report also cites what it calls the framing effect. “Security problems are often aggressively worded, and use negative framing strategies to emphasize the potential for loss.”
of this story at Slashdot.
These ‘Father’s Day deals’ on Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 4 are still available. …read more
Why would anyone put as much effort into resurrecting a 1970s split-flap clock as [mitxela] did when he built this custom PLL frequency converter? We’re not sure, but we do like the results.
The clock is a recreation of the prop from the classic 1993 film, Groundhog Day, rigged to play nothing but “I Got You Babe” using the usual sound boards and such. But the interesting part was getting the clock mechanism keeping decent time. Sourced from the US, the clock wanted 120 VAC at 60 Hz rather than the 240 VAC, 50 Hz UK standard. The voltage difference could be easily handled, but the frequency mismatch left the clock running unacceptably slow.
That’s when [mitxela] went all in and designed a custom circuit to convert the 50 Hz mains to 60 Hz. What’s more, he decided to lock his synthesized waveform to the supply current, to take advantage of the long-term frequency control power producers are known for. The write-up goes into great detail about the design of the phase-locked loop (PLL), which uses an ATtiny85 to monitor the rising edge of the mains supply and generate the PWM signal that results in six cycles out for every five cycles in. The result is that the clock keeps decent time now, and he learned a little something too.
If the name [mitxela] seems familiar, it’s probably because we’ve featured many of his awesome builds before. From ludicrous-scale soldering to a thermal printer Polaroid to a Morse-to-USB keyboard, he’s always got something cool going on.