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- Red Hat: 2017:1162-01: python27: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: Updated python27 packages are now available as a part of Red Hat Software Collections 2.4 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact [More...]
- Red Hat: 2017:1161-01: httpd24-httpd: Moderate Advisory
LinuxSecurity.com: Updated httpd24 packages are now available as a part of Red Hat Software Collections 2.4 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact [More...]
- Stable kernel updates
Greg Kroah-Hartman has released stable kernels 4.10.13, 4.9.25, and 4.4.64. They all contain important fixes andusers should upgrade.
- Security updates for Thursday
Security updates have been issued by Debian (freetype, jasper, python-django, slurm-llnl, and weechat), Fedora (dovecot and pcre2), Gentoo (adobe-flash), openSUSE (curl, gstreamer-plugins-base, libsndfile, and tiff), and Ubuntu (mysql-5.5, mysql-5.7).
- [$] The great leap backward
Sayre's lawstates: "In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inverselyproportional to the value of the issues at stake". In that context,it is perhaps easy to understand why the discussion around the versionnumber for the next major openSUSE Leap release has gone on for hundreds ofsometimes vitriolic messages. While this change is controversial, theopenSUSE board hopes that itwill lead to more rational versioning in the long term — but the world has away of interfering with such plans.
- Security updates for Wednesday
Security updates have been issued by Debian (botan1.10, mysql-5.5, and rtmpdump), Fedora (collectd, firefox, java-1.8.0-openjdk, libdwarf, nss-softokn, nss-util, and tigervnc), Red Hat (httpd24-httpd and python27), and SUSE (kernel).
- No more grsecurity test patches
The grsecurity project has announced that itskernel-hardening patches will now be an entirely private affair."Today we are handing over future maintenance of grsecurity testpatches to the community. This makes grsecurity for Linux 4.9 the lastversion Open Source Security Inc. will release to non-subscribers."
- [$] Which email client for Ubuntu 17.10?
An email client was once a mandatory offering for any operating system, butthat may be changing. A discussion on the ubuntu-desktop mailing listexplores the choices for a default email client for Ubuntu 17.10, which isdue in October. One of the possibilities being considered is to not have adefault email client at all.
- Kali Linux 2017.1 Release
The Kali Linux 2017.1 rolling release is available.Kali is a Debian derivative aimed at penetration testing and relatedtasks. This release includes support for RTL8812AU wireless cardinjection, streamlined support for CUDA GPU cracking, OpenVAS 9 packaged inKali repositories, and more.
- Linkerd 1.0 released
The linkerd1.0 release is available. "Linkerd a service mesh for cloudnative applications. As part of this release, we wanted to define what thisactually meant." Support for per-service router configuration hasbeen added, along with new plugin interfaces for policy control. (LWN looked at linkerd in early April).
- Bash Bunny: Big hacks come in tiny packages (InfoWorld)
InfoWorld playswith the Bash Bunny, a USB device for attacking computers."It can run anything a regular Debian Linux distro can run, such asPython scripts or common Linux commands. To infiltrate other computingdevices, Bash Bunny can fake its identity as a trusted media device,networking device, keyboard, or other serial device. For example, it canload itself as a keyboard device and mimic keystrokes. You can downloaddozens of existing payload scripts, create your own, or ask questions in afairly active user forum."
- [$] Turmoil for Drupal
The Drupal content management system(CMS) has been an open-source tool of choice for many web site owners forwell over a decade now. Over that time, it has been overseen by itsoriginal developer, Dries Buytaert, who is often referred to as thebenevolent dictator for life (BDFL) for the project. Some recent eventshave led a sizable contingent in the Drupal community to question hisleadership, however. A request that a prominent developer leave the Drupalcommunity, apparently over elements of his private life rather than anyDrupal-related misstep, has led to something of an outcry in thatcommunity—it may well lead to a change in the governance of the project.
- Security updates for Tuesday
Security updates have been issued by Debian (activemq, libav, minicom, mysql-5.5, tiff3, and xen), Fedora (ansible, collectd, icu, and pcre), openSUSE (chromium and firefox), Red Hat (chromium-browser and kernel), Slackware (firefox), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-gke, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-raspi2, linux-hwe, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, qemu, and samba).
- Collabora Office 5.3 Released
Collabora Office 5.3 has been releasedwith all the fixes and several backported features from the upstreamLibreOffice 5.3 release. "The biggest change in this release is the inclusion of a long list of new features, combined with many User Interface improvements, making Collabora Office more powerful and at the same time faster and more comfortable to work with."
- [$] Two new block I/O schedulers for 4.12
The multiqueue block layer subsystem,introduced in 2013, was a necessary step for the kernel to scale to the fasteststorage devices on large systems. The implementation in current kernels isincomplete, though, in that it lacks an I/O scheduler designed to work withmultiqueue devices. That gap iscurrently set to be closed in the 4.12 development cycle when the kernelwill probably get not just one, but two new multiqueue I/O schedulers.
- Haters gonna hate: 7 ways to deal with criticism
It's an unfortunate reality of sharing your work: Some people jump in to provide unwanted and unconstructive criticism. As a wise philosopher (OK, it was Taylor Swift) once put it, "Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate."In healthy communities, constructive feedback (even if it's critical) will vastly outnumber the hate. Yet even in those cases, the "nonconstructive" feedback is often louder and easily gets more attention. Therefore, knowing how to "shake it off, shake it off" (to again draw from Ms. Swift's song) is important.read more
- Complete Guide: Linux grep command
Linux grep utility is famous for filtering the output or finding the specific words within a file. This post will touch major options available within Linux grep utility.
- LinuxAndUbuntu Distro Review Of The Week Debian Linux 8.7 (Jessie)
?I have always been a Ubuntu guy. I use Ubuntu or some other derivatives like Mint or elementary but never have I tried Debian. Well not anymore. I tested Debian and I must say I really like it. The thing with Debian is that stability is prioritized over all other factors. So if you are looking for the latest updates to packages, Debian is not the one. Debian is very popular amongst Linux users and rightly so. It enjoys a very superior community support compared to many other distros and most importantly the stability. So my experience? Let's start the distro review of the week, Debian 8.7.
- Big content cheers as Congress votes on changes to US Copyright Office
The bill is enthusiastically backed by big copyright holders, including the Copyright Alliance, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Software & Information Industry Association. It's opposed by public interest groups and trade groups that advocate for a more balanced copyright system, including Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Re:Create coalition.
- Raspberry WebKiosk 6.0 has been released
Raspberry WebKiosk 6.0 has been released today with a complete update of its underlying operating system, from Raspbian Wheezy to Raspbian Jessie Lite (a Debian Jessie derived OS for the Raspberry Pi microcomputer). Raspberry WebKiosk is designed for web kiosks and multi-user web workstations (think about using it in cafès, offices, schools, hotels, hospitals, libraries) with the Raspberry Pi base, where people can surf the web with a normal browser. It’s a port of the more powerful Instant WebKoisk system for PCs.
- Free Webinar on Starting a Collaborative Open Source Project
Starting a collaborative open source software project involves more than a great idea and the code to get it going. Much of the work involves deciding how you want your community of developers to build and evolve the code. But there’s no need to be intimidated by the process.
- Libreboot Applies to Rejoin GNU
Libreboot has now officially applied to rejoin GNU, which it left in September. According to Leah Rowe, the "initial responses from GNU’s leadership seems positive."
- Most powerful 96Boards SBC yet offers M.2 expansion
Archermind and LeMaker have launched a “Hikey 960” 96Boards CE SBC for AOSP using HiSilicon’s 4x -A73, 4x -A53 Kirin 960 SoC, and featuring M.2 expansion. The Hikey 960 design from Linaro’s 96Boards.org is now available from Archermind and LeMaker, which sell the boards via their Alpha Star and Lenovator sites respectively. The SBC is […]
- Get a Preview of Apache IoT Projects at Upcoming ApacheCon
The countdown until ApacheCon North America has begun. The blockbuster event will be in Miami this year and runs May 16-18. The Apache community is made up of many niche communities and ApacheCon offers something for all of them. Here, Roman Shaposhnik, Director of Open Source, Pivotal Inc., who is heading the Apache IoT track at the ApacheCon conference, gave us a sneak peek of what the Apache Internet of Things community can look forward to at the event.
- Download Files with Wget on the Linux Shell - Explanation and Examples
Are you a Linux newbie? Are you looking for a command line tool that can help you download files from the Web? If your answer to both these questions is yes, then you've come to the right place, as in this tutorial, we will discuss the basic usage of the WGET command line utility.
- How to set up a mail server with PostfixAdmin on CentOS 7
In this article, we will show you how to setup and configure a mail server with PostfixAdmin, Postfix, Dovecot and SQLite on a CentOS VPS. PostfixAdmin is a PHP-based web front-end that allows you to manage virtual domains and users for a Postfix mail transport agent. This guide should work on other Linux VPS systems as well but was tested and written for a CentOS 7 VPS.
- Qiana Studio Complete Multimedia Production
Qiana Studio is a Ubuntu and Linux Mint based system for multimedia productions. It comes with many powerful tools and applications that make it a media creation powerhouse. The developers seek to make a lightweight - but powerful A/V-distro basing on Linux Mint! Let us take a look at this distro if it's worth your time
- Mobile Ubuntu Gamble to Fizzle Out in June
Canonical will end its support for Ubuntu Touch phones and Ubuntu-powered tablets in June, and that it will shut down its app store at the end of this year. The company previously had signaled the system's demise, but it had not fixed a date. With Ubuntu Touch, a unified mobile OS based on Ubuntu Linux, Canonical hoped to establish a marketable alternative to Android and iOS.
- New Strain of Linux Malware Could Get Serious
A new strain of malware targeting Linux systems, dubbed "Linux/Shishiga," could morph into a dangerous security threat. Eset disclosed the threat, which represents a new Lua family unrelated to previously seen LuaBot malware. Linux/Shishiga uses four protocols -- SSH, Telnet, HTTP and BitTorrent -- and Lua scripts for modularity, wrote Detection Engineer Michal Malik and Eset researchers.
- A Window Into the Linux Desktop
"What can it do that Windows can't?" That is the first question many people ask when considering Linux for their desktop. While the open source philosophy that underpins Linux is a good enough draw for some, others want to know just how different its look, feel and functionality can get. To a degree, that depends on whether you choose a desktop environment or a window manager.
- Moby, LinuxKit Kick Off New Docker Collaboration Phase
Docker this week introduced two new projects at DockerCon with an eye to helping operating system vendors, software creators and in-house tinkerers create container-native OSes and container-based systems. The projects are based on a new model for cross-ecosystem collaboration and the advancement of containerized software. Both projects aim to help users adopt container technology.
- Report: Commercial Software Riddled With Open Source Code Flaws
Black Duck Software has released its 2017 Open Source Security and Risk Analysis, detailing significant cross-industry risks related to open source vulnerabilities and license compliance challenges. Black Duck conducted audits of more than 1,071 open source applications for the study. There are widespread weaknesses in addressing open source security vulnerability risks across key industries.
- Tiny Core: Small Footprint, Big Potential
Tiny Core Linux 8.0, released last week, is a minimalist Linux OS built from scratch with a focus on being as small as possible. That means you should be able to run this Linux distro on a wide range of legacy machines. The tradeoff for ultra smallness, however, often is a not-so-powerful OS that can leave you longing for better options. The Core Project is based on a highly modular system.
- Anbox Could Be the Android-to-Linux Tool Devs Have Been Waiting For
The ability to run Android apps natively in a Linux desktop environment is a step closer to realization, thanks to Anbox, a new open source project. Simon Fels, lead software engineer at Canonical, last week debuted a pre-alpha release of the Anbox platform, which he has been working on independently since 2015. There were quite a few problems to solve on the way to a working version, he said.
- Kingsoft Adds Cloud Support to WPS Office
Kingsoft had announced an expansion to its WPS Office suite to include WPS Cloud. The upgrade enables users to work in a cross-platform office suite environment with added storage, file roaming and sharing capabilities. The cloud-enhanced version is available for PCs and mobile as a fully functional free release and with premium subscriptions. It runs on Linux, Windows, Mac and Android devices.
- Shuttleworth Gives Up Hope for Convergence Breakthrough
Canonical's long and winding quest for a unified user experience came to a sudden halt on Wednesday, as founder Mark Shuttleworth announced the firm's decision to stop investing in its struggling Unity8 shell and revert to Gnome. The 6-year-old Unity plan was to create a user interface that could work on various types of devices, ranging from a mobile phone to a personal computer or tablet.
- Fatdog64: More Bark Than Bite
Fatdog64 has the potential to serve as an alternative lightweight OS to Linux distros such as Puppy Linux, Knoppix and Zephyr. However, it has some critical usability issues that need to be fixed first. Fatdog64 seems to have lost its performance edge over earlier versions that made it more appealing as an alternative "frugal" Linux candidate. The latest update does nothing to remedy that problem.
- Take Command of Your Linux System's Processes
Who's afraid of the Linux terminal? Not you, if you've learned the basics of navigating your system. But how will these newly acquired skills help improve your computing life? To give you a sense of the terminal's everyday usefulness, here are some examples of tasks the terminal is well-disposed to handle. To start with, system administration is much more straightforward on the terminal.
- Samsung's Tizen OS Riddled With Security Holes
There are more than three dozen previously unknown flaws that pose a potential threat to consumers using some Samsung TVs, watches and phones, a security researcher has reported. Hackers could exploit the vulnerabilities found in Samsung's Tizen operating system to gain remote access and control of a variety of the company's products, according to Amihai Neiderman, head of research at Equus Software.
- Microsoft Shutters CodePlex, Will Migrate Projects to GitHub
In a move that caps off its gradual embrace of open source in a bear hug, Microsoft last week announced that it would shutter its nearly 11-year-old CodePlex project site and migrate its library of work to GitHub. The company has been forced to deal with a couple of major issues, such as a 2015 spam epidemic and a substantial decrease in usage, which in part prompted the move.
- Zephyr Linux: Zippy Performance, Zero Decor
Zephyr Linux is a newcomer to the Linux scene, and it is still morphing from developmental releases. However, it takes an interesting approach to removing desktop clutter and default software bloat. Zephyr is a collaboration between Leonard Ashley and other developers. Ashley built this distro on Devuan, a fork of Debian, and with it he gives the concept of minimalist design a fresh twist.
- Cloud Foundry Aims to Close Cloud Skills Gap
The Cloud Foundry Foundation has announced the launch of a worldwide cloud-native developer certification initiative. The foundation created the program to fill the widening gap of trained programmers for cloud apps and services. The Linux Foundation -- which has trained and certified more developers on open source software than any organization in the world -- will provide the instruction.
- Red Hat Pilots New Program to Ease Digital Transformation
Red Hat on Monday announced a new Application Platform Partner Initiative at its North America Partner Conference in Las Vegas. The goal is to provide a more robust ecosystem for companies engaging in digital transformation. The company has started conducting tests in a pilot program with a small number of solutions-oriented consulting partners in North America.
- OpenSuse Leap Reinforces Linux Faith
OpenSuse Leap 42.2 goes a long way toward maintaining Suse's reputation for reliability and stability. That said, new users might need a push to take the leap from their familiar distros to this latest OpenSuse release. Business users can remain confident that upgrading to the latest edition, released last fall, won't put them too close to the bleeding edge of innovation.
- Google Gives Devs First Look at Android O
Google on Tuesday unveiled a developer preview of the latest version of its mobile operating system, code named "Android O." The new OS is designed to improve on battery life and interactive performance of devices, according to Dave Burke, vice president of engineering, Android, at Google. The new release puts automatic limits on what applications do in the background in three areas.
- Cracking the Shell
If you've begun to tinker with your desktop Linux terminal, you may be ready to take a deeper dive. You're no longer put off by references to "terminal," "command line" or "shell," and you have a grasp of how files are organized. You can distinguish between a command, an option and an argument. You've begun navigating your system. Now what? File manipulation lies at the heart of Linux.
- IBM Launches Enterprise-Strength Blockchain as a Service
IBM has unveiled the first enterprise-ready Blockchain as a Service offering based on The Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger Fabric. IBM Blockchain, which lets developers quickly establish highly secure blockchain networks on the IBM cloud, is a transformative step in being able to deploy high-speed, secure business transactions through the network on a large scale, the company said.
- Google Unveils Guetzli, Open Source JPEG Encoder, to Speed Browsing
Google on Thursday announced Guetzli, a new contribution to its evolving set of tools for the open source community. Guetzli is an encoder that allows JPEG files to be compressed as much as 35 percent, resulting in much faster Web page loading. "Guetzli," which means "cookie" in Swiss German, allows users to create smaller JPEG images.
- Xbox Chief: We Need To Create a Netflix of Video Games
Phil Spencer, the man who heads up Microsoft's Xbox division, says that if the video game sector is to grow both creatively and economically it needs to start thinking along the lines of a video-games-as-a-service subscription model. From a report: Over the last five years we've seen the emergence of a new concept: the video game as a service. What this means is the developer's support for a new title doesn't stop when it's launched. They run multiplayer servers so that people can compete online; and they release extra downloadable content (DLC) in the form of new items, maps and storylines -- sometimes free, but very often paid for. [...] So being able to build and sustain a community around a single title takes the risk out of development. However, the costs of renting and running server networks and maintaining the matchmaking and lobby infrastructures make the model inaccessible for smaller teams. Should it be? "This is directly in line with what I think the next wave of innovation needs to be for us as a development platform," says Spencer. His solution, it seems, is to make Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform more open to smaller studios, so they get access to a large global network of servers. "They don't have to go buy a bunch of servers on their own and stick them under their desks and hope they get enough players to pay for them," he says. [...] Spencer feels that, from a creative standpoint, we need new types of narrative experience -- but from a business standpoint, it's getting harder and riskier to commit to those games. Is there an answer? Spencer thinks there is -- and it comes from watching the success of original content made and distributed on modern TV services. "I've looked at things like Netflix and HBO, where great content has been created because there's this subscription model. Shannon Loftis and I are thinking a lot about, well, could we put story-based games into the Xbox Game Pass business model because you have a subscription going? It would mean you wouldn't have to deliver the whole game in one month; you could develop and deliver the game as it goes."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Hackers Exploited Word Flaw For Months While Microsoft Investigated
An anonymous reader writes: To understand why it is so difficult to defend computers from even moderately capable hackers, consider the case of the security flaw officially known as CVE-2017-0199. The bug was unusually dangerous but of a common genre: it was in Microsoft software, could allow a hacker to seize control of a personal computer with little trace, and was fixed April 11 in Microsoft's regular monthly security update. But it had traveled a rocky, nine-month journey from discovery to resolution, which cyber security experts say is an unusually long time. Google's security researchers, for example, give vendors just 90 days' warning before publishing flaws they find. Microsoft declined to say how long it usually takes to patch a flaw. While Microsoft investigated, hackers found the flaw and manipulated the software to spy on unknown Russian speakers, possibly in Ukraine. And a group of thieves used it to bolster their efforts to steal from millions of online bank accounts in Australia and other countries.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- What Happens To Summer TV Binges If Hollywood Writers Strike
An anonymous reader shares a report: There also should be plenty of new video fare if Hollywood's writers and studios can't agree on a new contract by Monday. The beautiful thing about a contract is everyone knows when it ends. In this case, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents some 350 production companies, and the Writers Guild of America, which comprises 12,000 professionals in two chapters, have had three years to prepare for a standoff. In these situations, show makers typically rush to complete a pile of scripts before the deadline. Jerry Nickelsburg, an economist at the University of California at Los Angeles, calls this stockpiling "the inventory effect." This is precisely what happened the last time writers walked off the job, from November 2007 to February 2008. If the writers do, in fact, go through with the strike they approved on Monday, jokes and soaps will be the first things to take a hit. Late-night talk shows and soap operas are to entertainment writers what delis are to hungry New Yorkers -- a daily frenzy of high-volume production. If the sandwich makers don't show up, everybody gets hungry quickly.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Apple Wants To Turn Its Music App Into a One-Stop Shop For Pop Culture
Jimmy Iovine, one of the heads of Apple Music, has long expressed desires to make Apple Music "an entire pop cultural experience." The company, he has previously said, will do so partly by including original video content into its music app. Now, in an interview with Bloomberg, he added that the company plans to include original shows and videos with high-profile partners such as director J.J. Abrams and rapper R. Kelly. Iovine adds, from the interview: A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists. I'm trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans. We have the freedom, because it's Apple, to make one show, three shows, see what works, see what doesn't work until it feels good. The article also sheds light on Iovine's personality: Iovine fidgets when he talks. As his mind wanders, he takes his jacket off, then puts it back on. He frequently clutches his legs, contorting himself into a ball. He's a font of ideas with industry contacts to help execute every one of them. He turned to Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani for help picking the model for Beats headphones. Some ideas get Iovine into trouble. He's taken meetings with artists and made arrangements to release music without telling anyone in advance, frustrating colleagues. He's persuaded artists to release music exclusively with Apple, frustrating record labels.
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- Microsoft Co-founder Pledges $30 Million To House Seattle's Homeless
Paul Allen, a founder of Microsoft has pledged $30 million to house Seattle's homeless. From a report: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday the city was partnering with Paul G. Allen's family foundation to build a facility to house homeless families with children. Allen's foundation will provide $30 million toward the development of the facility, while the city of Seattle has pledged $5 million for its maintenance and operation. It will be owned and operated by Mercy Housing Northwest, a nonprofit housing organization. Seattle is in King County, which has 1,684 families that are homeless, according to the mayor's announcement. More than 3,000 homeless children were enrolled in Seattle's public schools during the 2015-2016 year, it said.
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- Computer Program Prevents 116-Year-Old Woman From Getting Pension
Bruce66423 quotes a report from The Guardian: Born at the turn of the past century, Maria Felix is old enough to remember the Mexican Revolution -- but too old to get the bank card needed to collect her monthly 1,200 pesos ($63) welfare payment. Felix turns 117 in July, according to her birth certificate, which local authorities recognize as authentic. She went three months without state support for poor elderly Mexicans after she was turned away from a branch of Citibanamex in the city of Guadalajara for being too old, said Miguel Castro, development secretary for the state of Jalisco. Welfare beneficiaries now need individual bank accounts because of new transparency rules, Castro said. "They told me the limit was 110 years," Felix said with a smile in the plant-filled courtyard of her small house in Guadalajara. In an emailed statement, Citibanamex, a unit of Citigroup Inc, said Felix's age exceeded the "calibration limits" of its system and it was working to get her the bank card as soon as possible. It said it was adjusting its systems to avoid a repeat of the situation.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- LinkedIn Testing 1970's-Style No-CS-Degree-Required Software Apprenticeships
theodp writes: The Mercury News reports on REACH, a new software apprenticeship program that LinkedIn's engineering team started piloting this month, which offers people without Computer Science degrees an opportunity to get a foot in the door, as Microsoft-owned LinkedIn searches for ways to help diversify its workforce. For now, the 29 REACH participants are paid, but are only short-term LinkedIn employees (for the duration of the 6-month program). LinkedIn indicated it hopes to learn if tech internships could eventually be made part of the regular hiring process, perhaps unaware that no-CS-degree-required hiring for entry-level permanent positions in software development was standard practice in the 70's and 80's, back when women made up almost 40% of those working as programmers and in software-related fields, nearly double the percentage of women in LinkedIn's global 2016 tech workforce. Hey, even in tech hiring, everything old is new again!
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- NASA Inspector Says Agency Wasted $80 Million On An Inferior Spacesuit
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: When NASA began developing a rocket and spacecraft to return humans to the Moon a decade ago as part of the Constellation Program, the space agency started to think about the kinds of spacesuits astronauts would need in deep space and on the lunar surface. After this consideration, NASA awarded a $148 million contract to Oceaneering International, Inc. in 2009 to develop and produce such a spacesuit. However, President Obama canceled the Constellation program just a year later, in early 2010. Later that year, senior officials at the Johnson Space Center recommended canceling the Constellation spacesuit contract because the agency had its own engineers working on a new spacesuit and, well, NASA no longer had a clear need for deep-space spacesuits. However, the Houston officials were overruled by agency leaders at NASA's headquarters in Washington, DC. A new report released Wednesday by NASA Inspector General Paul Martin sharply criticizes this decision. "The continuation of this contract did not serve the best interests of the agency's spacesuit technology development efforts," the report states. In fact, the report found that NASA essentially squandered $80.6 million on the Oceaneering contract before it was finally ended last year.
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- Chinese, European Space Agencies In Talks To Build a Moon Base
ESA's Pal Hvistendahl has confirmed via Bloomberg that Chinese and European space agencies are talking with one another about plans to build a base on the moon. The discussions "involve working together to build a human-occupied 'moon village' from which both agencies can potentially launch Mars missions, conduct research, and possibly explore commercial mining and tourism projects," reports TechCrunch. From the report: China's upcoming projects in space include a mission to collect samples from the moon via an uncrewed craft by the end of this year, and to also launch an exploratory mission to the far side of the moon next year, with the similar aim of returning samples for study. The ESA's collaboration with China thus far include participating in the study of those returned samples, and potentially sending a European astronaut to the Chinese space station (which is currently unoccupied) at some future date.
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- Popular Belief That Saturated Fat Clogs Up Arteries Is a Myth, Experts Say
schwit1 quotes a report from Irish Independent: The authors, led by Dr Aseem Malhotra, from Lister Hospital, Stevenage, wrote: "Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong." Dr Malhotra and colleagues Professor Rita Redberg, from the University of California at San Francisco, and Pascal Meier from University Hospital Geneva in Switzerland and University College London, cited a "landmark" review of evidence that appeared to exonerate saturated fat. They said relative levels of "good" cholesterol, or high density lipoprotein (HDL), were a better predictor of heart disease risk than levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as "bad" cholesterol. High consumption of foods rich in saturated fat such as butter, cakes and fatty meat has been shown to increase blood levels of LDL. The experts wrote: "It is time to shift the public health message in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease away from measuring serum lipids (blood fats) and reducing dietary saturated fat. "Coronary artery disease is a chronic inflammatory disease and it can be reduced effectively by walking 22 minutes a day and eating real food." They pointed out that in clinical trials widening narrow arteries with stents -- stainless steel mesh devices -- failed to reduce the risk of heart attacks.
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- New Study Suggests Humans Lived In North America 130,000 Years Ago
An anonymous reader writes: In 1992, archaeologists working a highway construction site in San Diego County found the partial skeleton of a mastodon, an elephant-like animal now extinct. Mastodon skeletons aren't so unusual, but there was other strange stuff with it. "The remains were in association with a number of sharply broken rocks and broken bones," says Tom Demere, a paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum. He says the rocks showed clear marks of having been used as hammers and an anvil. And some of the mastodon bones as well as a tooth showed fractures characteristic of being whacked, apparently with those stones. It looked like the work of humans. Yet there were no cut marks on the bones showing that the animal was butchered for meat. Demere thinks these people were after something else. "The suggestion is that this site is strictly for breaking bone," Demere says, "to produce blank material, raw material to make bone tools or to extract marrow." Marrow is a rich source of fatty calories. The scientists knew they'd uncovered something rare. But they didn't realize just how rare for years, until they got a reliable date on how old the bones were by using a uranium-thorium dating technology that didn't exist in the 1990s. The bones were 130,000 years old. That's a jaw-dropping date, as other evidence shows that the earliest humans got to the Americas about 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. The study has been published in the journal Nature.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Hacking Group Is Charging German Companies $275 For 'DDoS Tests'
An anonymous reader writes: "A group calling itself XMR Squad has spent all last week launching DDoS attacks against German businesses and then contacting the same companies to inform them they had to pay $275 for 'testing their DDoS protection systems,' reports Bleeping Computer. Attacks were reported against DHL, Hermes, AldiTalk, Freenet, Snipes.com, the State Bureau of Investigation Lower Saxony, and the website of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The attack against DHL Germany was particularly effective as it shut down the company's business customer portal and all APIs, prompting eBay Germany to issue an alert regarding possible issues with packages sent via DHL. While the group advertised on Twitter that their location was in Russia, a German reporter who spoke with the group via telephone said "the caller had a slight accent, but spoke perfect German." Following the attention they got in Germany after the attacks, the group had its website and Twitter account taken down. Many mocked the group for failing to extract any payments from their targets. DDoS extortionists have been particularly active in Germany, among any other countries. Previously, groups named Stealth Ravens and Kadyrovtsy have also extorted German companies, using the same tactics perfected by groups like DD4BC and Armada Collective.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Will the High-Tech Cities of the Future Be Utterly Lonely?
adeelarshad82 writes from a report via The Week: The prospect of cities becoming sentient is "fast becoming the new reality," according to one paper. Take Tel Aviv for example, where everyone over the age of 13 can receive personalized data, such as traffic information, and can access free municipal Wi-Fi in 80 public zones. But in a future where robots sound and objects look increasingly sentient, we might be less inclined to seek out behaviors to abate our loneliness. Indeed, one recent study titled "Products as pals" finds that exposure to or interaction with anthropomorphic products -- which have characteristics of being alive -- partially satisfy our social needs, which means the human-like robots of tomorrow could kill our dwindling urge to be around other humans.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Ask Slashdot: Are Accurate Software Development Time Predictions a Myth?
New submitter DuroSoft writes: For myself and the vast majority of people I have talked to, this is the case. Any attempts we make to estimate the amount of time software development tasks will take inevitably end in folly. Do you find you can make accurate estimates, or is it really the case, as the author, DuroSoft Technologies' CTO/Co-CEO Sam Johnson, suggests via Hacker Noon, that "writing and maintaining code can be seen as a fundamentally chaotic activity, subject to sudden, unpredictable gotchas that take up an inordinate amount of time" and that therefore attempting to make predictions in the first place is itself a waste of our valuable time?
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- British Cops Will Scan Every Fan's Face At the Champions League Final
Using a new facial recognition surveillance system, British police will scan every fan's face at the UEFA Champions League on June 3rd and compare them to a police database of some 500,000 "persons of interest." "According to a government tender issued by South Wales Police, the system will be deployed during the day of the game in Cardiff's main train station, as well as in and around the Principality Stadium situated in the heart of Cardiff's central retail district." From the report: Cameras will potentially be scanning the faces of an estimated 170,000 visitors plus the many more thousands of people in the vicinity of the bustling Saturday evening city center on match day, June 3. Captured images will then be compared in real time to 500,000 custody images stored in the police information and records management system alerting police to any "persons of interest," according to the tender. The security operation will build on previous police use of Automated Facial Recognition, or AFR technology by London's Metropolitan Police during 2016's Notting Hill Carnival.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Micron looks to SanDisk for new CEO
Mark Durcan gets to retire at last as Sanjay Mehrotra takes over
Micron has hired ex-SanDisk CEO Sanjay Mehrotra as its new president and CEO, replacing the retiring Mark Durcan.…
- Super-secure Pi-stuffed nomx email server box given a good probing
Researcher claims it's riddled with flaws. Vendor denies it
Security researchers claim to have uncovered a variety of serious security holes in a heavily touted secure email server technology. Nomx, the firm behind the device, strongly disputes the claims and has challenged researchers to a hacking challenge, involving the creation of an email account on a designated remotely hosted nomx device.…
- Insuring against a future financial crisis
Staying compliant & off the front page
There’s nothing quite like a nice, juicy financial crisis to wake up the regulators’ rule-setters, psych up the lawmakers and get the lawyers sharpening their quill pens and breaking out a fresh bottle of Quink. And so it seems to have been proven since the financial car crash of the mid to late noughties, with the appearance of a variety of new rules and legislation to keep the financial services industry on its toes.…
- Series of Seagate missteps as revenue generator spins down
Catalogue of errors by stuck-in-the-rut firm
Comment Here's a suggestion – Seagate, led by a combined chairman and CEO, has made a catalogue of tactical errors in the face of the NAND tidal wave while rival Western Digital has pivoted sideways to embrace flash.…
- Straight outta Shandong cluster noobs set new LINPACK world record
31.7 trillion flops – pretty sporty
HPC Blog Another world record has fallen. Asian Student Cluster competitors have broken the student LINPACK record with an amazing score of 31.7 TF/s. This barely tops the former record of 31.15 TF/s set at SC16 by the University of Science & Technology of China.…
- Washing machine AI? You'll thank AWS, Microsoft, Google (eventually)
The scramble for space driving the commodity race
There's a war brewing in the cloud, and machine learning may well determine the outcome. With infrastructure services trending toward commoditisation, each of the big-three cloud purveyors is racing to augment vanilla IaaS and PaaS with not-so-vanilla machine learning (ML)/artificial intelligence (AI) smarts. Sure, they're way out in front of the market – most enterprises simply aren't doing much with ML – but the hope is that by paving the way to a dystopian future when the machines take over they will make boatloads of money along the way.…
- ITU's latest specs show that 5G is not just a wireless network
New standard addresses wireline aspects of low latency 5G
Analysis We can no longer see 5G as a wireless standard alone. Its heart may still be a 3GPP-defined radio, but to deliver commercial benefits to operators (old or new), wireline links will be as important as wireless ones, and architectural change will be more important than an updated air interface.…
- Citrix-as-a-service plan bore fruit in Q1
Virtual Skype turns out to be a reason to pick up the phone
Citrix has posted a solid first quarter in which it posted modest revenue and profit gains, beat its expected earnings-per-share and said its transition to selling cloudy subscriptions is coming along nicely.…
- Australia' Smart meter leaders lag in securing devices
Centre for Internet Safety calls for consumer safeguards
Default passwords, unpatched firmware, unencrypted traffic: according to a report from a Canberra University research organisation, Australia's smart electricity meter rollouts are characterised by n00b-level security gaffes.…
- Chipotle may have banished E coli, but now it has a new infection
Another reason to feel queasy when leaving – bank-card-stealing malware
The last quarter has been a trying one for Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle. People are returning to its restaurants after the great 2015 E coli outbreak, but now customers are being struck by a different kind of virus.…
- Don't install our buggy Windows 10 Creators Update, begs Microsoft
We'll give it to you when it's ready – and it is not
Microsoft has urged non-tech-savvy people – or anyone who just wants a stable computer – to not download and install this year's biggest revision to Windows by hand. And that's because it may well bork your machine.…
- Western Digital relocates HQ, sheds jobs
Orange County loses disk and flash fabber’s HQ as jobs go in transformation opportunity
Western Digital Corp is moving its HQ from Irvine, Orange County in southern California to San Jose in the north of the state, with job losses in both areas.…
- Netgear says sorry four weeks after losing customer backups
Critical design bug caused havoc on 30 March
Neatgear has cocked up its cloud management service, losing data stored locally on ReadyNAS devices' shared folders worldwide – and customers have complained to The Register about only being informed four weeks later.…
- Don't stop me! Why Microsoft's inevitable browser irrelevance isn't
Your best excuse for using Firefox or Chrome is just that
May’s nearly here, and you know what that means. Yet another round of browser stats articles. If past trends are an indication of future development, we'll see the continued loss of market share by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and the rise and rise of Google’s Chrome.…
Linux.com offline for now
- Amazon EC2 Cloud Benchmarks vs. AMD Ryzen, Various AMD/Intel Systems
For putting the AMD Ryzen 7 Linux performance in additional perspective and showing how various Amazon EC2 cloud instances compare to bare metal hardware, here are fresh benchmarks of many different Amazon EC2 instance types compared to various Linux systems in our lab. This comes down to a 29-way comparison of different cloud instances and bare metal systems.
- Windows 10 Creators Update vs. Ubuntu 17.04 Linux Radeon Gaming Performance
Given Microsoft's Windows 10 Creators Update earlier this month and the never-ending advancements to the open-source Linux graphics driver stack along with the recent release of Ubuntu 17.04, here are some fresh benchmarks of Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux when running a wide variety of cross-platform games with an AMD Radeon RX 580 and R9 Fury graphics cards.
- Radeon RX 580: AMDGPU-PRO vs. DRM-Next + Mesa 17.2-dev
Last week I posted initial Radeon RX 580 Linux benchmarks and even AMDGPU overclocking results. That initial testing of this "Polaris Evolved" hardware was done with the fully-open Radeon driver stack that most Linux enthusiasts/gamers use these days. The AMDGPU-PRO driver wasn't tested for those initial articles as it seems to have a diminishing user-base and largely focused for workstation users. But for those wondering how AMDGPU-PRO runs with the Radeon RX 580, here are some comparison results to DRM-Next code for Linux 4.12 and Mesa 17.2-dev.
- Testing F2FS With Its Multi-Drive Capabilities
Late last year F2FS picked up multiple device support for this Flash-Friendly File-System. This F2FS multi-drive capability isn't native RAID support like Btrfs but just allows a single F2FS file-system to span multiple devices. But it's more than that in that block allocation and the garbage collection policy is modified to boost I/O performance by taking advantage of the multiple SSD/flash devices.
- Trying Out Nouveau's Accelerated Pascal Support With DRM-Next, Mesa 17.2-dev
One of the many features to look forward to with Linux 4.12 is the Nouveau DRM driver providing initial 3D/accelerated support for GeForce GTX 1050/1060/1070/1080 "Pascal" graphics cards. Here are some benchmarks of this open-source NVIDIA driver support for these latest-generation GPUs compared to the proprietary driver.
- AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 OpenCL vs. NVIDIA Shows Problems
Last week I began posting a number of AMD Radeon RX 580 Linux benchmarks but not covered so far has been the OpenCL compute performance considering the Clover-based compute stack isn't good enough for benchmarking and is basically unmaintained these days by AMD. Meanwhile, their ROCm stack is still being brought up and is not yet fully-opened nor optimized yet for performance. Thus for those with desktop cards looking for basic OpenCL support are left with the AMDGPU-PRO hybrid driver with its closed-source OpenCL driver. In this article are some fresh OpenCL benchmarks of AMDGPU-PRO on the RX 580 and other Radeon GPUs compared to NVIDIA with its Linux OpenCL driver.
- Intel Optane Memory Now Available
After talking about it for a long time, Intel Optane Memory is now officially available. A 16GB module will cost just $44 USD or $77 for a 32GB capacity...
- TrueOS 20170424 Stable Update
For those wishing to try out the FreeBSD-based desktop-focused TrueOS operating system, formerly known as PC-BSD, there is a new stable release...
- 61 New Patches Allow OpenGL 4.5 For Radeon RX Vega
Initial support for Radeon RX Vega support in Mesa landed for Mesa 17.1 at the end of March. However, this initial support was limited to OpenGL 3.1 while now patches have come to take Vega up to OpenGL 4.5...
- LLVM Still Working Towards Apache 2.0 Relicensing
LLVM developers have been wanting to move from their 3-clause BSD-like "LLVM license" to the Apache 2.0 license with exceptions. It's been a while since last hearing about the effort while now a third round of request for comments was issued...
- ICYMI: Boston's book cleaning machine and Disney's new SFX tricks
Today on In Case You Missed It: We take a look at the Boston Public Library's novel method of keeping its archives clean. Hint: it involves pushing them through a portable vacuum cleaner. The Depulvera book cleaning machine, as it's called, can scrub the dust and accumulated grime from up to 12 ancient tomes a minute without damaging the books themselves.
Disney is also making headlines with a pair of new special effects tricks. The first will enable Disney CG animators to motion capture real life hairstyles and port them directly into computer generated simulations. The second uses high speed cameras and infrared lasers to map and project digital images and animations onto actors' faces. One will result in more lifelike and naturals doos in kids movies, the other will serve as a steady source of nightmare fuel for the parents. Good times.
As always, please share any interesting tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @Terrortola.
- Acer's new Predator gaming laptop may actually be portable
What's the point of getting a powerful laptop if you can't drag it to a gaming party? Acer's latest back-to-school update for its Predator series of laptops, the Triton 700, may actually be portable enough for those trips. It packs the latest NVIDIA graphics chips and an advanced dual-fan cooling system into a chassis that's just 18.9mm (or 0.75 inches) tall. Acer hasn't shared many other details about the notebook yet, except to say that it will be ready for the back-to-school season this summer.
Folks who don't need quite as premium a system can consider the new Nitro 5 laptop, which offers NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1050 or 1050Ti graphics and the company's CoolBoost cooling system. Again, at its New York presentation, the company didn't dwell very long on each product, so other details about the laptop are scant, and we'll update this post as we get more later from our hands-on.
For those who prefer to invest in their at-home battle stations, Acer also unveiled a 27-inch 4K gaming monitor called the Predator X27. It boasts a 144Hz refresh rate, 4ms response time and uses Quantom Dot technology for better image quality while saving energy. The X27, like many of its rivals, supports NVIDIA's G-Sync HDR technology for smoother streams with higher definition and contrast.
We'll be taking a closer look at Acer's gaming lineup for 2017 later, so check back here for more information.
Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.
- Acer is making yet another fitness wearable
After a series of underwhelming attempts at making fitness wearables that track uncommon metrics, Acer is at it again with its new Leap Ware watch. Not many details have been shared yet, but one thing the company was happy to mention? The Ware will monitor your stamina, along with "more-effective fitness" metrics and a scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass screen.
In the past, Acer touted its Liquid Leap wearables for their ability to track your stress level based on your galvanic skin response, as well as a constantly monitoring heart rate sensor for a low price. Stress-detection was a novelty at the time Acer announced it, and the technology didn't seem to spread to other devices. This year's stamina-monitoring seems equally gimmicky, and we don't know the full details on the science behind it yet, so it's too early to say if it will be effective.
We also don't know what else the Ware can do, or how much it costs, but based on the pictures we saw, it looks more like a smartwatch than a Fitbit. The round display can show the time, at least, from the render the company showed. In addition to this wearable, Acer introduced Holo 360, a 360-degree camera that comes with built-in WiFi and LTE support. The company didn't say much beyond that, other than it can make calls, but we should have more information as well as hands-on with both of these products shortly.
Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.
- Acer unveils a slew of new Switch laptops and detachables
At the IMAX theatre in New York's Lincoln Center, Acer CEO Jason Chen showed off his company's upcoming back-to-school lineup of products, including new Switch laptops and detachables, as well as a fanless all-in-one. The new Swift 1 and Swift 3 laptops expands the company's existing lineup of superthin notebooks. They come in 13, 14 and 15-inch models with full HD displays and colorful aluminum bodies, and sport fingerprint readers for more-convenient Windows Hello logins.
Then there are the Switch detachables, which were previously known as Switch Alpha. Two new models are available -- the 12-inch Switch 3 and the 15-inch Switch 5. While the former is a pretty regular detachable with an adjustable kickstand, full HD display and support for Acer's Active Pen, the Switch 5 stands out for its auto-retractable kickstand that you can adjust with one hand. The 5 also has a fingerprint reader for convenient logins.
As for the all-in-one desktop, Acer only said that it's the "world's first" fanless AIO, and there are no details yet on how much it'll cost or when it'll be available. Stay tuned though, as we'll be taking a closer look at these computers later today.
Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.
- 24 hours with Sony's A9 full-frame mirrorless camera
Sony has one clear goal with its A9 full-frame flagship camera: to make professional photographers forget about their DSLRs. These are high expectations, sure, but the company's new mirrorless shooter seems to tick all the right boxes in terms of specs. The A9 focuses on speed, not so much resolution, which makes sense, considering that Sony's going after people who do sports photography in particular. You'll find a 24.2-megapixel 35mm sensor, 20fps continuous shooting, 1/32,000 shutter speed and a ridiculous 693-point phase detection autofocus that covers 93 percent of your frame. None of this would work without the latest Bionz X processor, though, which Sony claims handles data 20 times faster than previous models.
Based on my first experience with it, at a track-and-field event Sony chose for the demo setting, the A9 is as fast as it sounds on paper. The camera's autofocus had no trouble keeping up with dancers, runners and pole vaulters. Being able to shoot up to 241 full-frame RAW images is definitely a nice option to have, even if you don't often need it. I had the A9 paired with Sony's new $2,500 G Master 100-400mm telephoto lens for most of my shots, which, as you can imagine, adds quite a bit of weight to the camera. Without any glass attached, the A9 is designed to be as compact as Sony's other full-frame mirrorless shooters, like the A7 II, A7S II and A7R II.
The A9 looks so similar to the Alpha cameras mentioned above, in fact, that people at the launch event kept grabbing my A7 II by mistake. Like its siblings, the A9 also shoots 4K video at 3,840 x 2,160, as well as 1080p at up to 120fps, for those of you looking to record slow-motion videos. The max ISO range of 204,800 also sounds promising, although I haven't been able to put that feature to the test just yet. It'll be interesting to see how the A9 performs in night shoots, especially compared with flagship DSLRs from Canon and Nikon. After all, Sony did say during its A9 presentation, "The age of the DSLR being the kingpin is over." We'll see about that.
It's hard to judge the A9 completely after spending only a day with it, but you can get an idea of what to expect in the sample images below. While I'm not a sports photographer, the camera definitely made it easy for me to get some solid shots of fast-moving subjects. Personally, I'd much rather use it for portraits and street photography, but then again, that's how I feel about every camera I play with. If you're into it, the A9 will arrive in stores May 25th for $4,500 (body only).
To view our sample images in full resolution, click here.
- Razer claims its wireless mouse is good enough for eSports
For pro gamers, wired mice have always been the only option, but now it looks like Razeris trying to change that. Following in the footsteps ofRoccat, the peripheral company is releasing Lancehead - a wireless mouse which it claims is the most reliable ever made. Powered by Razer's new Adaptive Frequency Technology, the mouse automatically switches between the strongest frequencies available within its 2.4 Ghz band - resulting in lag-free mouse movement. As well as boasting a resolution accuracy of 99.4 percent, the Lancehead also allows users to save mouse settings directly to the device while simultaneously uploading them to the cloud.
With eSports players usually swearing by wired mice, the new tech means that Lancehead could be the first wireless mouse that's widely adopted by pro gamers. The cloud features (going under the name of Razer Synapse Pro) make a lot of sense for eSports, giving players the ability to easily keep their exact mouse settings wherever they go. Yet while Lancehead owners will get exclusive access to the beta version of Synapse Pro, it's unclear as to whether they'll have to evntually shell out for the full service.
The Razer Lancehead launches next month in the US, costing $139.99. Those who'd prefer to stick with a trusty wired mouse, however, can pick up The Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition now for $79.99.
- Google has already lost the hardware chief it poached from Amazon
You probably have food that's been in your freezer longer than David Foster (nope, still not the composer) stayed at Google after leaving Amazon. After six months, Foster is vacating his position as vice president of Google's vice president of hardware product development, Echo speakers, the Kindle Paperwhite and Voyage e-readers.
Looking at his resume on LinkedIn, his short stay is something of an anomaly. Foster previously held posts at Apple, Amazon and IBM for almost six years each. Google is where he stayed the shortest amount of time, behind 13-month stints at both Gibson Guitar and SuperMac Technology.
Bloomberg's sources say that the search juggernaut won't be replacing Foster either. At least not immediately. Which makes us wonder what Google has up its sleeve for this year's round of hardware. It's rumored that the big G will unveil a pair of new Pixel devices this year, and seeing a new version of the Home smart speaker wouldn't be too surprising either. With I/O around the corner, we might not have to wait long to find out.
- Why Amazon wants to replace your mirror with a camera
Years ago, if someone told you she was buying a camera for her bedroom, you'd imagine she was planning something naughty. But times have changed, and Amazon believes you'll spend $200 on a camera that's both an extension of your smart home and the ultimate fashion accessory. The Echo Look is designed to help you look your best every morning, guiding and improving your style every time it's used. But what it represents, and what Amazon gets out of it, could be a much bigger deal for the future of fashion.
Echo Look resembles pretty much every other smart home security camera you'd care to find, but it's not about protecting your property. The unit is designed for fashionable types who like to document their daily outfits and make sure that they're always looking good. Look comes with a depth-sensing camera, bolstered with four LEDs that'll turn even the dingiest bedroom into a half-decent photo studio.
If you take a selfie in a full-length mirror before leaving the house each morning, then the Echo Look is its modern-day replacement. Rather than holding a phone across your body, you can simply speak and ask the device to take a picture for you. The unit is voice activated and comes with Amazon's chatty computing platform, Alexa. In addition, the depth-sensing camera will automatically blur the background to hide how messy your place is.
Now, this sort of setup won't be good enough for hard-core Instagram types and fashion bloggers, of course. Those folks often have lighting rigs and DSLRs and edit their images before uploading them to social media. But if you're just in the habit of sharing your outfit choices on the internet, then you'll find that job much easier with the Echo Look than it was before.
Because the Look comes with Alexa, it'll pull double duty as a Trojan horse to get Amazon's voice-control platform into your bedroom. If you've already spent big on an Echo, you've probably left it in the family room or kitchen, where you'd get the most use out of it. Those who've yet to find a reason to jump onto Amazon's bandwagon may find Alexa a nice extra feature.
The other half of Echo Look's sales pitch is Style Check, a feature that builds on the company's Outfit Compare platform to keep your "look on point using advanced machine learning and advice from fashion specialists." Simply submit two snaps of you wearing different outfits and the system will tell you which one looks best. It'll do that by crunching what's trending, what fashion experts are saying, how well it fits you and what colors are in season.
Amazon is, of course, storing every single one of those images, along with hundreds of pieces of contextual information. That data will be constantly crunched not only to understand what style suits you but also what outfits you pick depending on weather, mood or season. In addition, the information will be used to train a machine learning system that can offer better suggestions for every Echo Look user.
Echo Look will also enable Amazon to start tracking customer habits in ways that the fashion industry will envy. After all, most clothing retailers have no clue if their products are worn once or every day. Meanwhile, retailers with loyalty schemes -- like Target -- can predict purchasing outcomes based on repeated custom. But most people don't buy scarves every week, so retailers have no idea if their products are successful in the real world.
Since Amazon will store and track every outfit image you send it, it'll determine what products are getting lots of repeated use. So Jeff Bezos and friends will know what outfits, styles, patterns and brands you already like and offer similar suggestions. In addition, Amazon might be able to work out when your everyday-use biker jacket starts showing signs of wear and offer up a discounted replacement.
Smart Mirrors are hugely expensive. You know what isn't expensive? An AR clothes platform that Amazon can get its users to pay for in their own homes.
Traditional brick-and-mortar retail is having its lunch eaten by the internet, and Amazon has led that charge for decades. Twenty years ago, Main Street would have had a couple of bookstores, a DVD or games emporium and a place to buy electronics. Even grocery shopping is changing with the Dash button, as Amazon eats into purchases for laundry detergent and toilet paper.
But fashion retail is a tougher nut to crack, since there's still a preference by some people to go into stores and try before they buy. A 2015 survey by analysis firm TimeTrade found that more than 85 percent of consumers prefer to shop in stores. This is for a variety of reasons, including a desire to feel the product, a dislike of waiting for shipping and because they value human advice.
For the past century, at least, there have been ways to shop without visiting stores, either with catalogs or, these days, going online. Products are ordered and mailed to you, with you returning the ones that don't fit or aren't right. The shipping and returns are often free or at negligible cost, since they're still cheaper than renting and staffing a brick-and-mortar store. But it's still a burden, since those companies have to overbuy inventory and spend big sums on shipping.
Online stores have a huge advantage in that their inventories can be almost limitless compared to the space constraints of a real store. Retailers have belatedly woken up to this threat by building and installing smart mirrors in their flagship stores. These devices are often used as an attraction, enabling people to use an augmented reality overlay to "try on" outfits that aren't available in store.
But smart mirrors require time and space to set up and are hugely expensive, and you can only have a couple in store. You know what isn't expensive? An AR clothes platform that Amazon can get its users to pay for to have in their own homes. There, all they have to do is snap themselves in their underwear and their smartphone will let them "try on" pretty much every piece of clothing on sale in the whole country.
We know that AR is going to be hugely important, and Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and startups like Magic Leap are all working on it. Amazon has already dipped its toe into AR with products like Flow, which was designed as a way for people to identify products to buy without bar codes. Using a depth-sensing camera to clock customers' measurements and overlaying outfits onto them makes perfect sense.
Amazon has had envious eyes pointed toward the clothing retail market for a while. Amazon Fashion pushed a $15 million ad campaign over the 2016 holiday season to highlight its new in-house clothing lines. These marques, called things like Franklin & Freeman, North Eleven and Scout + Ro, are designed to look like fashion brands in their own right.
But all of these are just toes in the water compared to what Amazon could do when it begins to join up these ideas. It is building fashion brands and learning how to make its own clothes quickly and efficiently. It already has a logistics platform that can deliver goods to people in less than a day. Now it'll begin documenting the vital statistics and shopping preferences of every one of its customers who owns an Echo Look.
It's the depth-sensing camera that's the giveaway, since that technology is clearly going to become vital. Brooks Brothers, for instance, already harnesses the powers of depth-sensing technology to tailor shirts for its customers. Feetz is doing a similar job to create custom-made, 3D-printed shoes for people with problematic feet.
Clearly, the end goal is to have a system whereby Amazon can produce tailored clothes with custom sizing and next-day shipping. At that point, you'd have to wonder why you'd bother trekking down to Nordstrom's, Barney's or Bloomingdale's for an on off-the-shelf number. Or not, because while Amazon may not reveal how many people buy its Kindle readers and Echo products, Echo Look could be a Fire Phone-esque dud. Only the future knows for now.
- Uber hopes to silence critics with more UK driver benefits
Uber has long argued that its drivers are independent contractors, not employees. While that distinction has been argued in the courts, the company has been upping driver perks to try to keep them on side and silence critics. Its latest effort in the UK is a partnership with the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE). For £2 per week, Uber drivers can sign up for IPSE benefits which include sickness and injury cover up to £2,000, jury cover up to £2,000, access to financial advice and support, and occupational accident cover up to £300.
Uber says it's making "a significant contribution" to the scheme, and that the benefits are worth £8 per week. IPSE offers two plans for regular members in the UK -- a standard membership for £154.73 (plus VAT) per year, and a premium "Plus" version for £247.65 (plus VAT) per year. The one offered to Uber drivers is "entirely different," however, and therefore "you can't compare them," a spokesperson for IPSE told Engadget. The scheme will, however, be offered "more widely later in the year," which could indicate how much money Uber is putting towards the initiative.
The IPSE partnership follows a flurry of Uber driver perks announced back in February. These include FlexPlay, which gives drivers the option to bank their earnings "early" in the week, earning advice sessions and a 12-month premium subscription to language learning app Busuu.
These additions have been overshadowed, however, by a deluge of controversies at the company. These include a messy legal dispute with Alphabet's Waymo division, a long list of executive departures, the revelations around "Hell," a program designed to track drivers who also work for Lyft, a crash involving one of its self-driving cars, a "Greyball" initiative designed to mislead law enforcement agencies -- the list goes on and on. Luckily we've put together a timeline so you can keep track of it all.
- Nintendo's hardware visionary is calling it a day
Alongside today'simpressive earnings report, Nintendo announced that long-serving employee Genyo Takeda is stepping down as company director this June. Holding the title of representative director and also sitting alongside Miyamoto as "Technology Fellow", Takeda has played a key role in defining both Nintendo's hardware and software.
During his 46 year career at the Japanese games giant, Takeda produced and directed Nintendo classics like Platform Technology Development Division and hardware lead on Wii U. Regardless of what Takeda does next, there's no doubt that his work contributed to making millions of childhoods a better place.
- Cassini probe survives first dive between Saturn and its rings
NASA's Cassini probe has emerged unscathed after its first dive between Saturn and its rings. The spacecraft's ground team had to spend 20 hours wondering whether the probe was doing well or whether it plunged to its death a few months too early. Thankfully, it got back in contact with NASA at 2:56AM EDT today, April 27th. By 3:01 AM, it started beaming back precious data about the planet's atmosphere, including the unprocessed images of Saturn's features above.
The probe flew 1,900 miles above the gas giant's clouds and around 200 miles away from the innermost rings, a region that has never been explored before. NASA wasn't even 100 percent sure whether the ring's particles in the region could hurt the spacecraft enough to cause its premature death. Since it was going to travel at speeds reaching 77,000 mph, the team chose to be careful and used Cassini's dish-shaped antenna as a shield to protect it. They had to turn the antenna away from the Earth to do that, so it couldn't beam back data until the probe was out of the 1,500-mile-wide gap.
Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize said in a statement:
"No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before. We could only rely on predictions, based on our experience with Saturn's other rings, of what we thought this gap between the rings and Saturn would be like. I am delighted to report that Cassini shot through the gap just as we planned and has come out the other side in excellent shape."
Before the Cassini probe plunges into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15th, it will perform the same dive 21 more times in the next few months. It's on a mission to gather as much data as possible, though the info it sends back from the first one will help NASA ensure it can survive until it's time for the probe to say goodbye.
We did it! Cassini is in contact with Earth and sending back data after a successful dive through the gap between Saturn and its rings. pic.twitter.com/cej1yO7T6a
— CassiniSaturn (@CassiniSaturn) April 27, 2017
Source: NASA JPL
- Atlus has change of heart over 'Persona 5' streaming restrictions
Since launching last month,JRPG greats. Yet for streamers, this highly acclaimed title has become more of an archaic headache than a gaming highlight. Upon launch, developer Atlus forbade fans from streaming any content past a certain point in the game, threatening to hit 'offending' fans with copyright claims or even to ban their account. Now, after community outrage, the developer has decided to relax its punitive stance.. slightly.
For the uninitiated, Persona 5 runs on an in-game calendar, letting players choose how best to spend their time. Previously, players were forbidden from showing any content that took place past mid-July in the game world. Now, Atlus has apologized, instead asking streamers not to show anything that happens beyond November 19th in Persona 5. While it's Atlus' right to protect its intellectual property, attempting to prevent spoilers in such an aggressive manner feels counter intuitive in 2017. With the game launching in Japan months before it arrived in the west, players could easily find out Persona 5's ending long before it was streamed.
It begs the question whether preventing spoilers was really Atlus' true motivation here. Streamers and YouTubers can both command huge audiences, and many publishers have embraced this, seeing people showcasing their games as free marketing. With Persona 5 presumably clocking up a hefty development budget during its lengthy creation time, it's difficult not to wonder whether the move was simply a bid to forcibly drive more sales.
Either way, it's good to see Atlus loosening its archaic restrictions and apologizing for the heavy-handed threats. Whether Persona fans will forgive them, however, is another matter entirely.
- Gboard on Android makes it easier to type and tweak your text
Google has made a few seemingly minor tweaks that could make Gboard on Android much easier to use. The keyboard now comes with a new text editing mode with arrow keys that you can use to quickly go to the part of your text that you want to edit or delete. You'll also find huge select, cut, copy and paste buttons right next to those keys, so you won't have to long press on the text box and to drag the text pointer around. You can access all these by pressing the G button and tapping the new text edit icon that looks like a "I" in between two pointers.
If selecting, cutting and copying text have never been an issue for you, you may find Gboard's other new feature more useful. You'll now be able to resize and reposition the keyboard for when you're typing with one hand on a big phone or for any other scenario when it's needed. Simply press G and then tap the triple-dot icon to see the option to choose one-handed mode. That's where you can customize your keyboard.
In addition to these two changes, Google has added support for 22 Indic languages. The Gboard team even worked with native speakers across India to get enough samples for the more obscure languages of the lot to train its machine learning models. As a result, you can not only type in any of those languages in their native script, but also in the English alphabet. The keyboard has transliteration support for all of them that can convert what you type on the QWERTY keyboard to their native script.
[Image credit: Mariella Moon/Engadget]
- Inmates used smartphones to swap child porn in prison
Prosecutors have charged a group of inmates at a federal prison in New Jersey for downloading child porn from the dark web to their smuggled phones, according to NBC News. They even stored videos and photos that show kids, including babies and toddlers, being sexually abused in a cloud account they all shared. While the prosecutors announced charging five people to the public -- and all five were imprisoned for child pornography -- one of them secretly collaborated with the investigation.
Based on the info they got from the wire their mole wore, the group employed lookouts positioned in every stairwell that can notify them when a housing unit's corrections officer leaves. Since it's a low-security prison, they didn't have to worry about more than one guard, but they still hid their phones carefully in light fixtures, closets, under their lockers and in jacket linings.
Feds named Anthony Craig Jeffries, who's serving 14 years for distributing child porn, as the group's ringleader. He reportedly purchased a phone for around $900 to $1,000 and then rented it out to inmates for anywhere between $4 to $10 an hour. Jeffries and the other three were officially charged after the mole got them talking about the videos and images they were downloading from the dark web.
This is far from the first time inmates were able to hide machines from guards and use them for nefarious purposes while behind bars. Back in 2015, two inmates in an Ohio prison fixed decommissioned computers and hid them in the ceiling. They used the computers to take out credit cards under other prisoners' names, create access cards for restricted areas and to download porn.
Source: NBC News
- BlackBerry KEYone reaches the US on May 31st
To say that the launch of the BlackBerry KEYone has been protracted would be an understatement. BlackBerry and TCL teased the high-profile phone in January, dished out proper details in February, and has left people wondering about a specific US release date ever since. At last, you can relax: BlackBerry and TCL have revealed that the keyboard-equipped Android phone will reach both the US and Canada on May 31st. Americans will be limited to buying the $549 unlocked CDMA or GSM versions at first, but take heart -- there will be carrier deals, including a Sprint launch sometime in the summer. If you thought the up front price was too much to swallow, you'll have a way of softening the blow.
In Canada, the handset will be available through Bell, Rogers, SaskTel and Telus for $199 CAD on a 2-year contract. For context, a Galaxy S8 is typically $250 CAD on similar terms. That might give you a hint as to what you could expect for American carrier pricing -- it'll be considered high end, but might not be as expensive as certain flagships.
The US carrier deal is important. BlackBerry's previous Android phones, the DTEK series, were virtually non-existent in the States for anyone besides business customers and dedicated fans. A carrier deal not only makes the KEYone more palatable to price-conscious buyers, it puts the phone on the map for shoppers who won't even consider a phone if don't see it in a local provider's store. While the KEYone is unlikely to be a runaway hit, that exposure might help BlackBerry regain some of its long-lost reputation.
- The Morning After: Thursday, April 27th 2017
TV dinners for foodies? The beginning of the end for net neutrality? Someone beating up a poor robot? Must be a Thursday. We also hear more on the next Call Of Duty title and Amazon's new fashion camera. Really.
Profits are up, and 'Pokemon' is pretty much a license to print money.
Nintendo's profits are up. It's claimed an operating profit of $1.6 billion (178 billion yen) for the last quarter, which is almost a billion dollars more than the same quarter in 2016. It's the company's first financial results after its Switch console went on sale, and since March 3rd, it's sold 2.74 million units. The company believes sales will stay strong, forecasting 10 million more Switch consoles sold by this time next year. That prediction, shy of 13 million, would put it toe to toe with the total sales of its predecessor, the Wii U, over its entire lifetime.
Ajit Pai wants to do away with rules preventing throttling, blocking and paid prioritization.
The future of net neutrality has been uncertain since the November election of Donald Trump. His FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, has made it clear he intends to scale back some of the regulations surrounding ISPs, but details have been scarce. Now we have an idea of the framework the commission will be pursuing, and it begins with revoking the classification of ISPs as a "common carrier" service under Title II, which has essentially treated the internet as a public utility for the last two years.
Drunkenly attacking a connected bot with cameras wasn't smart.
The Knightscope's K5 may not be the cutest robot, but that doesn't mean drunks get to knock it over.
Return of the webcam?
Meet Echo Look, an Alexa-powered camera designed around taking your own fashion photos and videos. If you want to show off your daily wardrobe, you just have to ask the Look to take a snapshot -- you don't have to take a selfie in front of a mirror to get a full-length picture. And since it includes a depth-sensing camera, it can blur the background to make shots pop. The real party tricks come when you're not sure about your outfit, however. The Look's Style Check service blends AI algorithms with fashion specialist advice to provide a second opinion -- and hopefully get you buying more outfits, you clothes horse.
It's a step back in time for the franchise for a few reasons.
Samsung's quarterly earnings are in, showing the company's highest quarterly profit since Q3 2013. That's despite the Galaxy Note 7 recall, and a markdown in the price of its Galaxy Note 7, apparently because the company's chip business (making memory, processors and camera sensors for phones) is booming. As a company, it brought home the $8.75 billion in operating profit expected, and looks forward to better results next quarter, since it will include sales of the new Galaxy S8 phones.
But wait, there's more... Nomiku Sous Chef essentially offers TV dinners for foodies 'White Collar' crime tracker mocks police profiling bias How 'Puyo Puyo Tetris' tricked me into liking puzzle games 'The Protectors' shows how VR can help save African elephants
- NASA is running out of functional spacewalk suits
NASA already spent over $200 million on developing a next-gen spacesuit, but it's still years away from conjuring up a working unit. That's a bigger problem than you might think, because according to NASA's Office of Inspector General (OIG), the agency is quickly running out of (PDF) functional suits needed for spacewalks. The iconic white suits you see the ISS crew wearing today are the same units made for astronauts 40 years ago. They were designed to last for only 15 years, and while most of them still work, they're already riddled with issues that make them risky to use.
Some astronauts said their eyes felt like they were burning inside the suit, while others found their gloves too easily damaged. One of the most serious incidents, though, happened in 2013, when one astronaut almost drowned during a spacewalk after the cooling system in his backpack flooded his helmet with water. That broken life-support backpack is but one of the many NASA can't use anymore: only 11 of the 18 original units remain.
The OIG's report says it's concerned about the possibility that NASA's remaining units won't last until the station retires in 2024. It's also worried that the agency's next-gen design won't be ready before then, especially since the agency cut its development's funding. It'll be an even bigger problem if the orbiting lab gets extended until 2028. To make sure the issue won't affect future ISS crew members, the OIG says NASA's human exploration unit needs a "formal plan for design, production and testing" of its next-gen spacesuits. It also recommends conducting a study comparing the costs of maintaining its current set of aging units to the costs of developing and testing a new one.
Source: NASA Office of Inspector General (PDF), AP
- Two men admit involvement in the TalkTalk 2015 hack
Two men involved in 2015's TalkTalk hack have pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey court in London. Matthew Hanley, a 22-year-old from Tamworth, Staffordshire, admitted to three offences under the Computer Misuse Act, including the TalkTalk hack itself and obtaining and supplying files that would "enable the hacking of websites to others." He also confessed to supplying a spreadsheet, containing TalkTalk customer details, so that others could commit fraud. Conner Douglas Allsop, also from Tamworth, pleaded guilty on March 30th to assisting fraud and sharing a file that could help other hackers. Both men will be sentenced on May 31st.
The Metropolitan Police said Hanley was an early suspect in his investigation. He was arrested in October 2015, and while officers were able to seize his computer, they contained little information because the hacker had either used encryption or wiped them clean. Police turned to Hanley's social media accounts and discovered conversations about his involvement in the hack, including the steps he had taken to delete any incriminating data. They also found a connection to Allsopp -- Hanley had asked him to sell the TalkTalk customer data in the hope of making a tidy profit.
Police arrested Allsopp in April last year. They showed him the chat logs and the 20-year-old subsequently admitted that he had tried, unsuccessfully, to sell the customer data and information about TalkTalk's vulnerabilities. "Hanley thought that he was being smart and covering his tracks by wiping his hard drives and encrypting his data," Andy Gould, detective chief inspector for the Met's 'Falcon' cyber crime unit said. "But what our investigation shows is that no matter how hard criminals try to conceal their activity, they will leave some kind of trail behind."
Last December, a 17-year-old hacker was sentenced to a 12-month youth rehabilitation order for his involvement in the hack. He had used an SQL mapping tool to identify a vulnerability in TalkTalk's website, which he then published online. The teenager was punished for multiple offences though, including cyberttacks against Manchester and Cambridge universities. Daniel Kelley, described as the "mastermind" behind the TalkTalk hack, plead guilty to hacking offences that same month. He's being charged for fraud, blackmail and money laundering. To date, police have arrested six individuals in relation to the cybercrime.
TalkTalk's reputation was battered by the scandal. The internet, phone and TV provider was fined £400,000 by the Information Commissioner Office and incurred costs of roughly £42 million following the breach. Chief executive Dido Harding is due to step down next month, making way for Tristia Harrison, currently managing director for TalkTalk's consumer division. The company tried to shake its battered image with a company-wide reboot last year, which included new packages, guarantees and a fresh marketing campaign. Slowly, the provider seems to be recovering -- and soon, it seems, this whole episode will finally be behind them.
Source: Metropolitan Police
- B&O puts its smallest speaker in your pocket for $169
What's next for high-end audio company Bang and Olufsen following last year's handheld BeoPlay A1 speaker? Making a smaller model, of course. The Beoplay P2 fits in the palm of your hand and perhaps more closely resembles an earbud case than it does a speaker. But maybe don't fret that sound quality diminished because the speaker's size did. Like the A1, the P2 blasts sound out in 360 degrees and it inherited a tweaked version of the mid-woofer from last year's model. 2016's sound carries forward in another way as well -- the P2 shares its 0.75-inch tweeter with the A1.
Oh, and if you were a fan of the A1's leather strap and speakerphone capabilities, those return here as well. More than that, the P2 does away with all physical buttons; everything is controlled via the Beoplay App.
If you'd rather not pull your phone out to skip or pause a song every time, the P2's aluminum shell responds to touch as well. "With just a double tap or shake, you can play, pause and skip tracks, launch your favorite personal assistant [and] change sound profiles," the provided announcement says. Cool.
The smaller size comes at a smaller price, too. The P2 is available today and will set you back $169 (£149) versus the A1's $249.
- Nintendo Switch could outsell the Wii U in its first year
Nintendo's profits are up. It's claimed an operating profit of $1.6 billion (178 billion yen) for the last quarter, which, while around the same level as the last earnings report, is almost a billion dollars more than the same quarter in 2016, when it made just $701 million. It's Nintendo's first financial results after its Switch console went on sale, and since March 3rd, it's sold 2.74 million units. The company believes sales will stay strong, forecasting 10 million more Switch consoles sold by this time next year. That prediction, shy of 13 million, would put it toe to toe with the total sales of its predecessor, the Wii U, over its entire lifetime. (The Wii U did manage to sell over 3 million units in its first six weeks back in 2012, but that was also during holiday season. Sales, however, didn't quite keep at that pace in the following months.)
The company added that it's pulled in around 50 billion yen from related entities like The Pokémon Company, as well as gains from selling its part ownership of the Seattle Mariners. During a Q&A session, CEO Kimishima added that while its latest mobile game, Fire Emblem, was downloaded only a tenth of the times that Super Mario Run was, its revenue exceeded that of the plumbers debut, due to in-app purchases of randomized characters.
Its new console aside, it's the company's games that seem responsible for making money. The Legend OF Zelda: Breath of the Wild has sold 2.76 million copies on the new console. Yes, that's more Zelda titles than there are Switch consoles, and doesn't even factor in sales of the game on Wii U -- that gives a true total of 3.84 million copies sold. Those figures pale in comparison to Pokémon Sun and Moon, which have sold 15.44 million games on 3DS. The Switch's sales pitch as a combination home and portable console makes a whole lot of sense to Nintendo's accountants.
- Samsung's chip business kept things looking up to start 2017
Samsung's Q1 2017 earnings are in, showing the company's highest quarterly profit since Q3 2013. That's despite the Galaxy Note 7 recall, and a markdown in the price of its Galaxy Note 7, apparently because the company's chip business (making memory, processors and camera sensors for phones) is booming. As a company, it brought home the $8.75 billion in operating profit expected, and looks forward to better results next quarter, since it will include sales of the new Galaxy S8 phones.
On a call with reporters, execs reaffirmed that reports of a reddish tint on some S8s are a "natural difference" in the OLED technology that it will let users tweak after a software update. Samsung also mentioned "the launch of a new flagship smartphone in the second half," but didn't tag the Galaxy Note name to whatever that presumably large-screened device will be. It also did not play into any expectations for an OLED iPhone that it could supply screens for, simply saying that "YoY revenue growth in the OLED business is forecast on the back of increased flexible panel shipments in the second half."
- Google becomes first foreign internet company to go live in Cuba
After former President Obama reopened America's diplomatic relations with Cuba, businesses started looking for opportunities to make inroads to the island nation. Google was one of these, with Obama himself announcing it would come to help set up WiFi and broadband access there. Cuba's national telecom ETECSA officially inked a deal with Google back in December, and today, they finally switched on the service, making the search giant the first foreign internet live on the island.
To be fair, Google already had a headstart when it made Chrome available in Cuba back in 2014. The servers Google switched on today are part of a the Google Global Cache (GGC), a global network that locally stores popular content, like viral videos, for quick access. Material stored in-country will load much quicker than Cuba's existing setup: Piping internet in through a submarine cable connected to Venezuela. Many Cubans can only access the web through 240 public access WiFi spots scattered through the country, according to Buzzfeed. While this won't bring Cuban internet near as fast as American access, it's still a huge step forward.
- 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the first with instant replay
Soccer (or, to the rest of the world, football) traditionalists have shunned video replay for years, claiming it would alter the sanctity of referees' calls. But well-documented flubbed calls like those that erroneously eliminated England and Mexico in the 2010 World Cup have nudged FIFA into considering the technology. At long last, after getting implemented at professional levels, it's headed to the game's biggest stage: On-field instant replay is coming to the World Cup for the first time in 2018, when Russia hosts the tournament.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino says video assistant referees will be used at the World Cup for the first time at 2018 tournament in Russia
— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) April 26, 2017
Video replay came to American football years ago, filling out professional stadiums in 2007 and college-level ball in 2010. Ref-assisting technology started trickling into soccer thereafter, with FIFA finally bringing goal-line tracking games in 2012 and video replay into general matches last year. Hopefully, on-field replay will prevent the gaffes that have haunted past World Cups.
Source: CBS Sports
- Microsoft wasn't hammered by surveillance requests in 2016
A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft released its Transparency Report revealing that it had received "1,000 to 1,499 surveillance requests for foreign intelligence purposes (known as FISA) from January to June 2016." There's only one problem though -- it didn't. Today, Microsoft updated the report to say that stat was an error, and the number of orders it had received in 2016 is actually somewhere between 0 - 499, as it has been in previous years. Unfortunately, the company is not allowed to release more specific data, so we don't know if it has actually changed or by how much. A spokesperson told Reuters, Microsoft
- Torching the modern-day Library of Alexandria
It was strange to me, the idea that somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25-million books and nobody is allowed to read them. It's like that scene at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie where they put the Ark of the Covenant back on a shelf somewhere, lost in the chaos of a vast warehouse. It's there. The books are there. People have been trying to build a library like this for ages - to do so, they've said, would be to erect one of the great humanitarian artifacts of all time - and here we've done the work to make it real and we were about to give it to the world and now, instead, it's 50 or 60 petabytes on disk, and the only people who can see it are half a dozen engineers on the project who happen to have access because theyâÂ€Â™re the ones responsible for locking it up. I asked someone who used to have that job, what would it take to make the books viewable in full to everybody? I wanted to know how hard it would have been to unlock them. What's standing between us and a digital public library of 25 million volumes? You'd get in a lot of trouble, they said, but all you'd have to do, more or less, is write a single database query. You'd flip some access control bits from off to on. It might take a few minutes for the command to propagate. You know those moments, when reading about history, where you think "how could these people have been so stupid? Why didn't drinking from, defecating in and washing in the same body of water raise a red flag? Why did people think slavery was an a-ok thing to do? Why did they sacrifice children to make sure the sun would rise in the morning? Were these people really that stupid?" A hundred years from now, people are going to look back upon the greatest library of mankind, filled with countless priceless works that nobody has access to, fully indexed, ready to go at a push of a button - this invaluable, irreplaceable treasure trove of human culture, and think, "how could these people have been so stupid?"
- Apple forces recyclers to shred all iPhones and MacBooks
Apple released its Environmental Responsibility Report Wednesday, an annual grandstanding effort that the company uses to position itself as a progressive, environmentally friendly company. Behind the scenes, though, the company undermines attempts to prolong the lifespan of its products. Apple's new moonshot plan is to make iPhones and computers entirely out of recycled materials by putting pressure on the recycling industry to innovate. But documents obtained by Motherboard using Freedom of Information requests show that Apple's current practices prevent recyclers from doing the most environmentally friendly thing they could do: Salvage phones and computers from the scrap heap. Having "old" but perfectly usable products in the marketplace is a terrible place for a company like Apple to be in. Most computers, smartphones, and tablets from, say, the past 4-5 years are still perfectly fine and usable today, and a lot of people would be smart to buy one of these "old" devices instead of new ones. Except, of course, that Apple doesn't get a dime when people do that. So, they have "recycling" companies destroy them instead. Remember: profit always comes before customer. Apple is executing an environment and sustainability PR campaign right now through its usual PR outlets - don't be fooled.
- Darwin 0.1 and Rhapsody DR 2 booted
So the recently recovered source code to Darwin 0.1 corresponds with the release of the PowerPC only OS X Server 1.0. However as we all found out, Darwin will still built and maintained on Intel, as it was a very secretive plan B, in case something went wrong with the PowerPC platform. Being portable had saved NeXT before, and now it would save Apple. So with this little background, and a lot of stumbling around in the dark, I came up with some steps, that have permitted me to build the Darwin 0.1 kernel under DR2. This is beyond awesome.
- Is it time to break up the major tech companies?
The original headline (I changed it) is clickbaity, but the article raises good points. In just 10 years, the world's five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place. They're all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies. We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about "the curse of bigness" were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson's counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) "in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people." We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the "fake news" business to know that Brandeis was right. Any entity which becomes a threat to the well-being of our society, our planet, or the people on it must be dealt with. I'm not quite sure if e.g. Google or Apple qualify for that, and if they do, how to deal with that, but I sure as hell do not wish to live in a society where any one corporation is more powerful than the people.
- John Deere: only corporations can own property
John Deere has turned itself into the poster-child for the DMCA, fighting farmers who say they want to fix their own tractors and access their data by saying that doing so violates the 1998 law's prohibition on bypassing copyright locks. Deere's just reiterated that position to a US Copyright Office inquiry on the future of the law, joined by auto manufacturers (but not Tesla) and many other giant corporations, all of them arguing that since the gadgets you buy have software, and since that software is licensed, not sold, you don't really own any of that stuff. You are a licensee, and you have to use the gadget according to the license terms, which spell out where you have to buy your service, parts, consumables, apps, and so on. This is finally a moment where without a doubt I can be all smug and entirely unhelpful by saying I do not use any stuff made by John Deere.
- Debian GNU/Linux port for RISC-V 64-bit (riscv64)
This is a post describing my involvement with the Debian GNU/Linux port for RISC-V (unofficial and not endorsed by Debian at the moment) and announcing the availability of the repository (still very much WIP) with packages built for this architecture.
- Reverse engineering APFS
I started to reverse engineer APFS and want to share what I found out so far. Notice: I created a test image with macOS Sierra 10.12.3 (16D32). All results are guesses and the reverse engineering is work in progress. Also newer versions of APFS might change structures. The information below is neither complete nor proven to be correct.
- AmigaOne X5000: first impressions
Many were waiting for the day when new and strong Amiga(One) will appear. That happened now. Currently, the X5000 can be purchased with the dual-core processor. In the future, a more powerful machine will be available. Is it worth buying the current model or wait for a four-core version? A look at the new X5000. Note that the author is Polish (I think), and English isn't her or his first language.
- Google plans ad-blocking feature in popular Chrome browser
Alphabet Inc.'s Google is planning to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its popular Chrome web browser, according to people familiar with the company's plans. The ad-blocking feature, which could be switched on by default within Chrome, would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web. Google could announce the feature within weeks, but it is still ironing out specific details and still could decide not to move ahead with the plan, the people said. An ad-blocker from Google? Something tells me this won't go down well with antitrust regulators.
- Apple promises to stop mining for rare-earth materials
Apple has one of the most aggressive sustainability and recycling programs in tech, but it still pulls plenty of metals and toxic rare-earth materials out of the ground to make iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and other products. That's about to change. The company is set to announce a new, unprecedented goal for the tech industry, "to stop mining the earth altogether". Apple plans to stop mining for rare-earth materials, and exclusively use recycled materials (from iPhones and other Apple products, presumably). Incredibly ambitious goal - one among many environmental goals the company revealed yesterday - and quite laudable. They have the money to blaze these trails, and I'm glad they're using it for this.
- TouchWiz is actually pretty nice
I challenge anyone to receive a notification on Samsung s Galaxy S8 and not be charmed by the elegant blue pulse of light that traces the contours of the phone's gorgeous screen. This sort of subtlety, this sort of organic, emotive, instant appeal is not something I ever expected Samsung would be capable of. But the company once judged to have cynically copied Apple's iPhone design has exceeded all expectations this year: the 2017 version of Samsung's TouchWiz brings its software design right up to the high standard of its hardware. I have always hated TouchWiz. It was ugly, overbearing, complex, and annoying. Keyword here is was. As per my philosophy to never rot stuck in a single brand or platform, I replaced my Nexus 6P with a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge a few weeks ago. I was assuming I'd have to root it and install a custom ROM on it within days, so I had the proper files and reading material ready to go the day the phone arrived. But as I was using the phone for a few days, it dawned on my that TouchWiz on the S7 Edge was... Not that bad. I buy off-contract, so I didn't get any carrier crapware (as far as I know, Dutch carriers don't really do crapware to begin with), and even Samsung's own stuff was remarkably sparse, and you could hide most of Samsung's stuff anyway. I was pleasantly surprised. I was even more pleasantly surprised when it dawned on me that several parts of TouchWiz were superior to Google's stock Android versions. The stock Android alarm/clock application is a UI disaster, but the TouchWiz version is clean, simple, and much easier to use. TouchWiz' contacts application, too, sports a cleaner look and I find it easier to use than the stock version. Most of all, though, Samsung's settings application is so much better than the stock Android one in terms of looks, organisation, search capabilities, and so on, that I'm surprised Google hasn't copied it outright. Within just a few days, I thought to myself "...okay right so that's why Samsung dominates Android and has 80% smartphone market share in The Netherlands". Samsung has truly cleaned up TouchWiz, and I'm curious to see if I hit that thing everybody is talking about where Samsung phones get slower over time, something that didn't happen to my Nexus devices. CGP Grey once said, in one of his videos: The trick is to keep your identity separate from your opinions. They're objects in a box you carry with you, and should be easily replaceable if it turns out they're no good. If you think that the opinions in the box are "who you are", then you'll cling to them despite any evidence to the contrary. Bottom line: if you always want to be right, you need to always be prepared to change your mind. I try to apply this as much as possible, including here on OSNews. Any longterm reader of this site knows I haven't been kind to TouchWiz over the years. A few weeks with a modern Samsung phone has completely changed my mind.
- File system improvements for Windows Subsystem for Linux
In the latest Windows Insider build, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) now allows you to manually mount Windows drives using the DrvFs file system. Previously, WSL would automatically mount all fixed NTFS drives when you launch Bash, but there was no support for mounting additional storage like removable drives or network locations. Now, not only can you manually mount any drives on your system, we've also added support for other file systems such as FAT, as well as mounting network locations. This enables you to access any drive, including removable USB sticks or CDs, and any network location you can reach in Windows all from within WSL. There's a lot of work being done on WSL.
- Introducing power throttling
Most people running Windows like having multiple apps running at the same time - and often, what's running in the background can drain your battery. In this latest Insider Preview build (Build 16176), we leveraged modern silicon capabilities to run background work in a power-efficient manner, thereby enhancing battery life significantly while still giving users access to powerful multitasking capabilities of Windows. With "Power Throttling", when background work is running, Windows places the CPU in its most energy efficient operating modes - work gets done, but the minimal possible battery is spent on that work. My biggest worry with technology like this is that it affects unsaved work. Luckily, you're supposed to be able to turn it on and off.
- The curious case of the New York Times' Galaxy S8 coverage
The review embargo for the Samsung Galaxy S8 was lifted today, so there's reviews all over the place - and they're all pretty much universally positive, so also kind of uninteresting. An article in The New York Times stood out, though. When a splashy new smartphone hits the market, consumers often weigh whether to place an order right away or to wait and see how others react to the device. But with the Galaxy S8, Samsung's first major smartphone release since the spontaneously combusting Galaxy Note 7 was discontinued last year, there isn't much of a debate. Your best bet is to wait to buy the roughly $750 device - not just for safety reasons, but also because other uncertainties surround it. Since I think you should never rush out and buy a complex and expensive device like a smartphone on release day anyway, this is sage advice. However, it is quite unusual for a major publication to just flat-out tell consumers to wait and not buy the latest and greatest new smartphone from Samsung (or Apple, for that matter) in such an overt, put-it-in-the-headline kind of way. The next paragraph in the NYT article makes me suspicious. Samsung declined to provide an early review unit of the Galaxy S8 to The New York Times, but several consumer electronics experts who tried the device ahead of its release this Friday were cautiously optimistic about the product. Even so, they said the phone had some radical design changes that might make people uncomfortable, a few key features were unfinished and SamsungâÂ€Â™s recent safety record remained a concern. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the above article would not have been written had the NYT been given a review unit of the Samsung Galaxy S8. The tone of the entire article is mildly vindictive, like it was written by someone scorned. It feels a little unprofessional for a publication like the NYT to do this. That being said - the advice still stands: don't rush out on release day for expensive and complex equipment like a smartphone. Wait a few weeks to see if there's any teething problems before plonking down hundreds of euros.
- Steve Ballmer serves up a fascinating data trove
On Tuesday, Mr. Ballmer plans to make public a database and a report that he and a small army of economists, professors and other professionals have been assembling as part of a stealth start-up over the last three years called USAFacts. The database is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments. Want to know how many police officers are employed in various parts of the country and compare that against crime rates? Want to know how much revenue is brought in from parking tickets and the cost to collect? Want to know what percentage of Americans suffer from diagnosed depression and how much the government spends on it? ThatâÂ€Â™s in there. You can slice the numbers in all sorts of ways. This is exactly the kind of thing technology should be used for in a democracy: to provide (relatively) easy insight into otherwise incredibly obtuse and splintered government data. Well done.
- Graph Any Data with Cacti!
For the past few years, I've been trying to understand how to make graphs using RRDtool (Round-Robin Database tool) after failing miserably to understand MRTG (Multi-Router Traffic Grapher) before that. The thing I like about RRDtool is that it's newer and supports a wider variety of data sources.
- Be Kind, Buffer!
I like to tweet. Not like a bird (well, not usually), but tweeting on Twitter. I like to post silly pictures and say silly things. Unfortunately, a few things usually happen:
I take a bunch of photos within minutes of each other.
I want to post to Twitter and Facebook.
- Preparing Data for Machine Learning
When I go to Amazon.com, the online store often recommends products I should buy. I know I'm not alone in thinking that these recommendations can be rather spooky—often they're for products I've already bought elsewhere or that I was thinking of buying. How does Amazon do it?
Partners Canonical, openHAB Foundation and Azul Systems have collaborated hard to drive development of the new openHAB 2.0 smart-home platform as a snap package. An alternative to Apple Homekit and Samsung SmartThings, openHAB from openHAB Foundation is completely free and open source, and acts as a control hub for home IoT setups.
- Low Power Wireless: 6LoWPAN, IEEE802.15.4 and the Raspberry Pi
The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the new kids on the block. It promises connection of sensors and actuators to the internet, for data to flow both ways, and once on the internet, to become part of new and exciting business systems, reaching up into the realms of big data and artificial intelligence.
- CodeLathe's Tonido Personal Cloud
CodeLathe counts Dropbox and OneDrive as competitors to its Tonido Personal Cloud storage service. While the former can cost anywhere from $50 and up per year to store a TB of data, CodeLathe's cross-platform Tonido for the desktop is fully free, and storage space is limited only by users' hard drive capacities.
- MultiTaction's MT Canvus-Connect
"A new era in visual collaboration" is the promise of MT Canvus-Connect, MultiTaction's new real-time collaboration software that enables visual touchscreen collaboration across remote locations in real time.
- Android Candy: Facebook Everything?!?!
When Facebook decided its messenger app would be an entirely separate program from its regular app, I was ticked off. I didn't want to have a second application in order to send private messages. It seemed like a needless extra step. And, I stuck by that opinion until I realized I could integrate regular SMS and MMS messages into Facebook Messenger.
- Simple Server Hardening, Part II
In my last article, I talked about the classic, complicated approach to server hardening you typically will find in many hardening documents and countered it with some specific, simple hardening steps that are much more effective and take a only few minutes.
The new production release of Mender 1.0, an open-source tool for updating embedded devices safely and reliably, is now available.
- VMKings' VPS Hosting Solution
The management team of cloud provider VMKing, as developers themselves, found standard virtual servers not to be well tailored to the developer community—too much or too little space, insufficient security and no support for their preferred Linux OS(!).
- Extended File Attributes Rock!
Worldwide, data is growing at a tremendous rate. However, one recent study has pointed out that the size of files is not necessarily growing at the same rate; meaning the number of files is growing rapidly. How do we manage all of this data and files? While the answer to that question is complex, one place we can start is with Extended File Attributes. Continue reading ’
- Checksumming Files to Find Bit-Rot
In a previous article extended file attributes were presented. These are additional bits of metadata that are tied to the file and can be used in a variety of ways. One of these ways is to add checksums to the file so that corrupted data can be detected. Let's take a look at how we can do this including some simple Python examples. Continue reading ’
- What’s an inode?
As you might have noticed, we love talking about file systems. In these discussions the term "inode" is often thrown about. But what is an inode and how does it relate to a file system? Glad you asked. Continue reading ’
- Emailing HPC
Email is not unlike MPI. The similarities may help non-geeks understand parallel computers a little better. Continue reading ’
- iotop: Per Process I/O Usage
Based on a reader comment, we take iotop for a spin to see if it can be used for monitoring the IO usage of individual processes on a system. The result? It has some interesting capability that we haven't found in other tools. Continue reading ’
- SandForce 1222 SSD Testing, Part 3: Detailed Throughput Analysis
Our last two articles have presented an initial performance examination of a consumer SandForce based SSD from a throughput and IOPS perspective. In this article we dive deeper into the throughput performance of the drive, along with a comparison to an Intel X-25E SSD. I think you will be surprised at what is discovered. Continue reading ’
- Putting Drupal to Work
Drupal is a simple but powerful CMS. However, you'll probably want to configure it. Learn how to tweak Drupal's settings to your liking. Continue reading ’
- SandForce 1222 SSD Testing – Part 2: Initial IOPS Results
SandForce has developed a very interesting and unique SSD controller that uses real-time data compression. This affects data throughput and SSD longevity. In this article, we perform an initial examination of the IOPS performance of a SandForce 1222-based SSD. The results can be pretty amazing. Continue reading ’
- Drupal at Warp Speed
Need to setup Drupal CMS but don't have the time to learn how? Try this 30 minute quick start guide. Continue reading ’
- Chasing The Number
The Top500 list is a valuable measure of HPC progress, but the race it has spawned maybe over for many organizations Continue reading ’
- Stick a Fork in Flock: Why it Failed
This probably won't come as a surprise to many, but the "social Web browser" has thrown in the towel. Don't cry for the Flock team - they're flying the coop for Zynga to go make Facebook games or something. But Flock's loyal fans are out in the cold. Why'd Flock fail? There's a few lessons to be learned. Continue reading ’