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- The ACM 2015 technical awards
The Association for Computing Machinery has announced therecipients of its 2015 technical awards. They are Brent Walters, MichaelLuby, Eric Horvitz, and: "Richard Stallman, recipient of the ACMSoftware System Award for the development and leadership of GCC (GNUCompiler Collection), which has enabled extensive software and hardwareinnovation, and has been a lynchpin of the free software movement."
- X.Org votes to join SPI
The resultsof the X.Org election are in. There were two things up for a vote: fourseats on the board of directors and amending the bylaws to join Software in the Public Interest (SPI).Unlike last year's election, this year'svote met the required 2/3 approval to joinSPI (61 voters out of 65 members, with 54 voting "Yes", 4 "No", and 3 "Abstain"). In addition,Egbert Eich, Alex Deucher, Keith Packard, and Bryce Harrington were electedto the board.
- Security updates for Thursday
CentOS has updated firefox (C6; C5:multiple vulnerabilities).
Debian has updated iceweasel (multiple vulnerabilities) and php5 (multiple vulnerabilities).
Fedora has updated kernel (F23:two vulnerabilities) and libtasn1 (F22:denial of service).
openSUSE has updated php5 (13.2:multiple vulnerabilities, including one from 2014).
SUSE has updated php5 (SLE12: multiple vulnerabilities,including one from 2014).
Ubuntu has updated libsoup2.4(16.04, 15.10, 14.04: regression in previous update), oxide-qt (16.04, 15.10, 14.04: multiple vulnerabilities), php5 (15.10: regression in previous update), and thunderbird (multiple vulnerabilities).
- Firefox 46.0
- Security advisories for Wednesday
CentOS has updated firefox (C7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Debian has updated mysql-5.5 (multiple vulnerabilities) and openjdk-7 (multiple vulnerabilities).
Fedora has updated rpm (F23: two vulnerabilities) and xstream (F23; F22: enabled processing of external entities).
Gentoo has updated libksba (three vulnerabilities) and wireshark (multiple vulnerabilities).
Mageia has updated libgd (code execution), samba (multiple vulnerabilities), w3m (denial of service), and wireshark (multiple vulnerabilities).
Oracle has updated firefox (OL7; OL6; OL5: multiple vulnerabilities).
Red Hat has updated firefox(RHEL5,6,7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Scientific Linux has updated firefox (SL5,6,7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Slackware has updated firefox (multiple vulnerabilities).
Ubuntu has updated firefox (multiple vulnerabilities).
- GCC 6.1 Released
Version 6.1 of the GCC compiler suite is out. Changes in this releaseinclude defaulting to the C++14 standard, improved diagnostic output, fullsupport for OpenMP 4.5, better optimization, and more; see the changelog for a fulllist.
- New functional programming language can generate C, Python code for apps (InfoWorld)
InfoWorld introducesFuthark, an open source functional programming language designed forcreating code that runs on GPUs. It can automatically generate both C andPython code to be integrated with existing apps. "Most GPU programming involves using frameworks like OpenCL or CUDA, both of which use variations of C or C++ to generate code that runs on the GPU. Futhark can generate C code, but is its own language, more similar to Haskell or Standard ML than C. (Futhark is itself written in Haskell.)Futhark's creators claim that the expressiveness of the language makes it easier to describe complex operations that use parallelism. This includes the ability to support nested parallelizations (parallel operations inside other parallel operations). Futhark can do this "despite the complexities of efficiently mapping to the flat parallelism supported by hardware, as a great many programs depend on this feature," say the language's creators."
- Tuesday's security updates
CentOS has updated nspr (C5: twovulnerabilities), nss (C5: twovulnerabilities), nspr (C7: twovulnerabilities), nss (C7: twovulnerabilities), nss-softokn (C7: twovulnerabilities), and nss-util (C7: two vulnerabilities).
Fedora has updated ansible1.9 (F23; F22: codeexecution), golang (F23; F22: denial of service), gsi-openssh(F23; F22:command injection), mingw-poppler (F23; F22: codeexecution), mod_nss (F23; F22: invalid handling of +CIPHER operator),and webkitgtk4 (F22: multiple vulnerabilities).
openSUSE has updated flash-player(11.4: code execution).
Oracle has updated nss and nspr(OL5: two vulnerabilities) and nss, nspr,nss-softokn, and nss-util (OL7: three vulnerabilities).
Scientific Linux has updated nss,nspr, nss-softokn, nss-util (SL7: two vulnerabilities).
SUSE has updated php53(SLE11-SP4: multiple vulnerabilities), portus (SLEM12: multiple vulnerabilities), andxen (SLES11-SP2: multiple vulnerabilities).
- Finding a new home for Thunderbird
The Mozilla Foundation has (in the guise of Gervase Markham) posted anupdate on the process of spinning off the Thunderbird mail client as aseparate project. As part of that, they engaged Simon Phipps to write upasurvey of possible new homes [PDF] for the project. "Havingreviewed the destinations listed below together with several others whichwere less promising, I believe there are three viable choices for a futurehome for the Thunderbird Project; Software Freedom Conservancy, TheDocument Foundation and a new deal at the Mozilla Foundation. None of thesethree is inherently the best, and it is possible that over time the projectmight seek to migrate to a 'Thunderbird Foundation' as a permanent home(although I would not recommend that as the next step)."
- Intel releases the Arduino 101 firmware source code
Arduino has announcedthe release of the source code for the real-time operating system(RTOS) powering the Arduino 101 and Genuino 101. "The packagecontains the complete BSP (Board Support Package) for the Curie processoron the 101. It allows you to compile and modify the core OS and thefirmware to manage updates and the bootloader. (Be careful with this onesince flashing the wrong bootloader could brick your board and require aJTAG programmer to unbrick it)." (Thanks to Paul Wise)
- Security advisories for Monday
Arch Linux has updated pgpdump(denial of service), samba (multiplevulnerabilities), squid (multiplevulnerabilities), and thunderbird (two vulnerabilities).
Debian has updated imlib2 (multiple vulnerabilities) and libgd2 (code execution).
Fedora has updated java-1.8.0-openjdk (F23: multiplevulnerabilities), openssh (F23: privilegeescalation), parallel (F23; F22: file overwrites),python-tgcaptcha2 (F23; F22: reusable captchas), thunderbird (F23: multiple vulnerabilities),w3m (F23: denial of service), and webkitgtk4 (F23: multiple vulnerabilities).
Mageia has updated java-1.8.0-openjdk (multiple vulnerabilities), libcryptopp (information disclosure), squid (denial of service), varnish (access control bypass), and vtun (denial of service).
openSUSE has updated Chromium (13.2; 13.1:multiple vulnerabilities) and clamav(Leap42.1: database refresh).
Red Hat has updated nss, nspr(RHEL5: two vulnerabilities) and nss, nspr,nss-softokn, nss-util (RHEL7: two vulnerabilities).
Scientific Linux has updated nss,nspr (SL5: two vulnerabilities).
SUSE has updated yast2-users(SLE12-SP1: empty passwords fields in /etc/shadow).
Ubuntu has updated mysql-5.7(16.04: multiple vulnerabilities).
- Kernel prepatch 4.6-rc5
Linus has released the 4.6-rc5 kernelprepatch. "Things continue to be fairly calm: rc5 is bigger than rc4 was, but rc4really was tiny.And while we're back to fairly normal commit counts for this time inthe release window, the kinds of bugs people are finding remain verylow grade: there's absolutely nothing scary in here. If thingscontinue this way, this might be one of those rare releases that don'teven get to rc7."
- Rintel: Network Manager 1.2 is here
At his blog, Lubomir Rintel highlights some of the changes found in the new 1.2 release of Network Manager, the network-configuration utility suite shipped by many Linux distributions. High on the list are privacy improvements; the post notes that "the identity of a mobile host can also leak via Wi-Fi hardware addresses. A common way to solve this is to use random addresses when scanning for available access points, which is what NetworkManager now does (with a recent enough version of wpa_supplicant). The actual hardware address is used only after the device is associated to an access point." Network Manager can also now be used to manage tun, tap, macvlan, vxlan and IP tunnel software devices, and can run multiple VPN modules simultaneously. In addition, support for several hardware device classes was split into loadable modules, which will reduce memory overhead.
- Friday's security updates
CentOS has updated java-1.7.0-openjdk (C6; C5; C7: multiple vulnerabilities) and java-1.8.0-openjdk (C6; C7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Debian has updated varnish(access control bypass) and xen(multiple vulnerabilities).
Fedora has updated drupal7-block_class (F23; F22:cross-site scripting),glpi (F23; F22: SQL injection), libtasn1 (F23: denial of service), and springframework-amqp (F22: code execution).
Mageia has updated chromium-browser-stable (M5: multiple vulnerabilities), imlib2 (M5: code execution), lha (M5: buffer overflow), and poppler (M5: denial of service).
Oracle has updated java-1.7.0-openjdk (O7; O6; O5: multiple vulnerabilities).
Red Hat has updated java-1.6.0-sun (RHEL 5,6,7: multiple vulnerabilities),java-1.7.0-openjdk (RHEL 5,7; RHEL6: multiple vulnerabilities), java-1.7.0-oracle (RHEL 5,6,7: multiple vulnerabilities), and java-1.8.0-oracle (RHEL 6,7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Scientific Linux has updated java-1.7.0-openjdk (SL 5,7; SL6: multiple vulnerabilities).
Ubuntu has updated mysql-5.5,mysql-5.6 (12.04, 14.04, 15.10: multiple vulnerabilities) and php5 (12.04, 14.04, 15.10: multiple vulnerabilities).
- Learn Perl Online for Free
Some of the free computer training videos on YouTube rival the best tutorials you’ll find on paid video websites. Derek Banas' tutorials recently came to my attention. I particularly like “Learn Perl in One Video” — an hour long, comprehensive tutorial. You can even jump to a particular part of the video from the links in the text description of the video.
- Spit-balling creative concepts with open source tools
Let's a few minutes to talk—well, read and write—about one of my favorite parts of the creative process: concept development. You can call it brainstorming, spit-balling, daydreaming, pre-production, or even imagining. (Just don't call it "ideation,"†please. That word hurts my soul.) It doesn't matter if your project is a painting, a feature film, or a software tool that someone else will use to paint or make a movie. They're all creative processes and they all start with an idea, a concept.read more
- Cherry Trail hacker board is a Windows/Arduino mashup
DFRobot’s LattePanda hacker board, built around a 14nm quad-core Cherry Trail Atom SoC, is now available starting at $99, including Windows 10 Home Edition. We skipped the Kickstarter launch of the Windows 10-oriented LattePanda hacker board back in December. In our three years as LinuxGizmos.com, we covered plenty of single-board computers that run Windows, but […]
- DuckDuckGo Wants Answers to Linux Questions
The search engine that works to protect your privacy is looking for some Linux "Instant Answers" for programmers. Would they like some answers to everyday Linux questions as well?
- Contest rewards best Raspberry Pi 3 based IoT projects
Element14 has launched a “Pi Iot Smarter Spaces Design Challenge,” giving away Raspberry Pi-related gear for the best RPi 3 IoT designs. Premier Farnell’s Element14, which bills itself as “the world’s largest electronic design community,” has long been known for selling Raspberry Pi’s and related embedded gear. It makes sense then that the manufacturer/distributor/community site […]
- Top 18 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)
buntu 16.04 LTS, one of the most awaited version of Ubuntu history with huge improvement on LTS releases, was already out. So We need to tweak & adjust many things & settings. Also install additional required software’s to make your Desktop easier as well as better performance for more user friendly for your day to day operation.
- The Best Windows 10 Commercial Ever
We interrupt this weather report with a very important announcement. Despite our best efforts, your local TV station has not yet upgraded to Windows 10. We warned them that something like this was bound to happen sooner or later.
- Black Lab Linux 7.6 Screencast and Screenshots
Black Lab Linux 7.6 is the latest release of the stable 7.x series of OS's. Black Lab Linux 7.6 is supported long term until April 2019. What's new? There are a lot of changes to Black Lab Linux 7.6 some of which include: Linux Kernel 3.19.0-58, LibreOffice 5.1.2, Firefox 45.0.2, Thunderbird 38.6.0, Gmusicbrowser, GNOME Documents, Tracker fast search, HexChat IRC client, Xfce 4.12 enhancements, Skippy XD Expose style task switcher, Spotify and Steam game client.
- How new communication technologies are affecting peer-to-peer engagement
Both The Open Organization and The Open Organization Field Guide discuss ways new communication technologies are changing the nature of both work and management. I've seen these changes firsthand during my nearly three decades working for Japanese corporations. Over time, I've been able to classify and characterize some of the impacts these technologies—particularly new telecommunication technologies and social media—are having on daily life in many organizations. Simply put: They're effecting the way peer-to-peer decision-making practices function in organizations today.read more
- How to build your own IRC Server with InspIRCd and Anope
In this tutorial, I will guide you trough the installation of InspIRCd from source on a CentOS 7 server. Then we will integrate InspIRCd with anope services and enable gnutls encryption on it. InspIRCd is a modern and fast IRC server and one of the few IRC server applications that provides high performance and stability and is written from scratch in C++.
- How To Dual Boot Linux Mint And Windows 10
This guide shows how to dual boot Linux Mint and Windows 10 and includes all the usual steps such as backing up your computer, creating a USB drive, partitioning and installing Mint.
- Purdue's IronHacks series puts unique spin on hackathons
Hackathons are well-known as events where developers come together to quickly turn out a piece of software, often competing against each other. But what if they were also a place for learning? The Research Center for Open Digital Innovation at Purdue University is making that happen. The IronHacks series of hackathons is designed to allow participants to learn from judges and Center researchers to learn from the participants.read more
- The Humble Hacker?
Two of our favorite things have come together: The Humble Bundle and Hacking!
- Bodhi Linux 3.2 Promises Clearer Path to Enlightenment
Bodhi Linux 3.2.0 is an update to the Bodhi Linux 3.x series and features key kernel and desktop improvements. It is a different kind of Linux distro. Its developers refer to it as the "Enlightened Desktop," because it draws its energy from the Enlightenment desktop. Enlightenment started as a project to build a window manager for X11 in 1996. It grew into a desktop environment in its own right.
- Red Hat Goes All-In on OpenStack
Red Hat on Wednesday announced the general availability of Red Hat Cloud Suite and OpenStack Platform 8. The offerings provide a complete, integrated hybrid cloud stack with a container application platform, massively scalable infrastructure and unified management tools, the company said. They are available individually or in a single solution with Red Hat Cloud Suite.
- Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus Makes Its Debut
Canonical on Thursday launched Ubuntu 16.04, aka "Xenial Xerus," an upgrade that will be supported for the next five years. The latest version for all desktop, server and cloud editions will be available for download starting Thursday. Ubuntu 16.04 includes four major technology advancements geared toward multiplatform uses. Xenial Xerus is the sixth Long Term Support release for Ubuntu.
- EU Levels Antitrust Charges Against Abusive Android
The European Commission has charged that Google breached EU antitrust rules by seeking to maintain and expand the dominance of its Android operating system. "A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe," said the EC's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager. "We believe that Google's behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps."
- LXLE Gives Aging Hardware a New Lease on Life
LXLE is an ideal distro for out-of-the-box functionality to handle your everyday computing needs. It's a well-oiled lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu's long-term support releases for Debian and Lubuntu Linux from a community originating in the U.S. The latest version is 14.04.4, released last month. It runs an optimized LXDE that has a comfortable look and feel.
- Hortonworks Ramps Up Hadoop Security
Hortonworks this week announced a series of enterprise security efforts to bolster performance and data safety with its Hortonworks Data Platform. The company announced that Pivotal Software will standardize on Hortonworks' Hadoop distribution. The thrust of the product announcements concerned updates on applying security policies and maintaining data governance.
- Robust New FreeOffice Suite Proves Free Can Be Just as Good
SoftMaker's FreeOffice Linux office suite is a LibreOffice look-alike that provides strong performance compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. SoftMaker offers a line of open source offerings that compete with its commercial suite. It's a Windows/Linux cross-platform office suite with integrated applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and email management.
- Volkswagen Picks Mirantis to Build Massive OpenStack Cloud
Mirantis on Wednesday announced that Volkswagen Group has selected Mirantis OpenStack to power its cloud applications. The selection process involved a series of cloud-to-cloud performance trials between Red Hat and Mirantis, one of the last pure-play OpenStack companies. It's ideally positioned to pursue and win large-scale deals like the Volkswagen project, analyst Charles King said.
- Qubes' Xen-Like Security Requires a Leap of Faith
If you want an effective and different approach to computer platform security, turn to the Qubes OS. Be prepared to adjust your expectations and your computing comfort zone, however. The Qubes OS does not work the way other Linux distros work in adding extra layers of security. It is based on the Fedora Linux desktop but goes well beyond Fedora's approach.
- Ubuntu Goes to Microsoft's Windows 10 Bash
Microsoft on Wednesday unwrapped a major open source coup for Canonical when it announced that Ubuntu Linux will be able to run on Windows 10. Kevin Gallo, Microsoft's director of Windows developer platform, announced the development during a keynote address at Microsoft's Build 2016 conference in San Francisco. The Linux Bash command-line tool will run natively within Windows 10.
- Apricity OS Is Clean and Classy
If you're looking for a quick, clean and classy Linux distro, look no further than the Apricity OS beta. Either of the two available flavors -- GNOME or Cinnamon -- is sure to give you a pleasant computing experience. The latest beta version was released last month. Betas can be frustrating and Arch Linux can be challenging, but Apricity's developers ease that pain.
- Google Says Sayonara to Chrome App Launcher
Google on Tuesday announced that it was shutting down the Chrome app launcher everywhere but in the Chrome OS. That means users who like to launch their favorite Google apps from a menu will have to settle for launching them only within the Google Chrome browser or through shortcuts in their bookmark bar. Windows, Mac and Linux users prefer launching their apps within Chrome.
- GoDaddy Offers Small Businesses a Place in the Cloud
GoDaddy on Monday launched a pay-as-you-go cloud platform along with applications powered by Bitnami. The tools, Cloud Servers and Cloud Applications, are designed to help small businesses -- individual devs, tech entrepreneurs and IT professionals -- quickly build, test and scale cloud solutions. Provisioning takes 54 seconds or less, GoDaddy said.
- New Stagefright Exploit Takes a Bow
Stagefright, a multimedia library in Android 2.2 and higher, has been exploited again, according to news reports published last week. Zimperium last year reported a Stagefright exploit that it said exposed 95 percent of Android devices. Details of the latest exploit, named "Metaphor," were published earlier this month in a paper from NorthBit. Metaphor affects Android 2.2-4.0 and 5.0-5.1.
- Android, iOS on Opposite Sides of Encryption Divide
Consumers' understanding of what encryption does apparently doesn't determine whether they use the technology, as iPhone owners are much more likely to use encryption than Android users. Most Android phones are not encrypted, either by user choice or manufacturer design. About 95 percent of all iPhones reportedly are encrypted, compared with less than 10 percent of Android phones.
- Remix OS Fills Android Desktop Void
The ability to run the Android OS as a fully functional desktop on PCs took a giant leap forward this month with a release that merges the Android-x86 Project with Jide Technology's Remix OS distribution. Android-x86 Project developer Chih-Wei Huang late last month announced on the project's website a partnership with Jide. He started the Android-x86 Project in 2009.
- Devs Get to Noodle With Android N
Google last week announced a developer preview of Android N, the forthcoming release of its mobile operating system. The release comes early; it was widely expected to be announced in May at Google I/O 2016, the Google developers conference. Releasing a work-in-progress build earlier in the development cycle will give Google more time to incorporate feedback from developers.
- Microsoft Sees the Light and Joins Eclipse
Microsoft on Tuesday announced it was joining the Eclipse Foundation as a solutions member. Membership will enable the company to collaborate more closely with the Eclipse community, which has more than 240 members. It also provides an outlet for delivering tools and services for all development teams. Microsoft will be able to improve its cloud services, SDKs and tools.
- SQL Server on Linux Shows Microsoft's More Flexible Side
Microsoft on Tuesday announced plans to release a version of SQL Server 2016 for Linux. "Bringing SQL Server to Linux is another way we are making our products and new innovations more accessible to a broader set of users," said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie. SQL Server will be able to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, in the cloud and on-premises.
- Amazon Flip-Flop Lands Fire OS Back in Encryption Camp
Amazon last week announced that it had reversed a previous decision to drop support for local encryption on version 5 of its Fire tablet operating system. The disclosure came one day after the company joined 14 others to support Apple in its fight against the FBI, which wants the company to create a tool or code to unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino, California, terrorists.
- Google Joins Effort to Stop Zika Virus Spread
Google last week announced it would contribute $1 million to the UN Children's Fund to support the global fight against the mosquito-borne Zika virus. A team of Google engineers has volunteered to work with UNICEF to analyze data in an effort to figure out the viral infection's path. It also will match employee donations with the goal of giving an extra $500,000.
- The Critical Hole At the Heart Of Our Cell Phone Networks
An anonymous reader writes: Kim Zetter from WIRED writes an intriguing report about a vulnerability at the heart of our cell phone networks. It centers around Signaling System No. 7 (SS7), which refers to a data network -- and the protocols or rules that govern how information gets exchanged over it. Zetter writes, "It was designed in the 1970s to track and connect landline calls across different carrier networks, but is now commonly used to calculate cellular billing and send text messages, in addition to routing mobile and landline calls between carriers and regional switching centers. SS7 is part of the telecommunications backbone but is not the network your voice calls go through; it's a separate administrative network with a different function." According to WIRED, the problem is that SS7 is based on trust -- any request a telecom receives is considered legitimate. In addition to telecoms, government agencies, commercial companies and criminal groups can gain access to the network. Most attacks can be defended with readily available technologies, but more involved attacks take longer to defend against. T-Mobile and ATT have vulnerabilities with fixes that have yet to be implemented for example.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Obesity 'Explosion' In Young Rural Chinese A Result Of Socioeconomic Changes, Study Warns
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: Obesity has rapidly increased in young rural Chinese, a study has warned, because of socioeconomic changes. Researchers found 17% of boys and 9% of girls under the age of 19 were obese in 2014, up from 1% for each in 1985. The 29-year study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, involved nearly 28,000 students in Shandong province. The study said China's rapid socioeconomic and nutritional transition has led to an increase in energy intake and a decrease in physical activity. The data was taken from six government surveys of rural school children in Shandong aged between seven and 18. The percentage of overweight children has also grown from 0.7% to 16.4% for boys and from 1.5% to nearly 14% for girls, the study said. "It is the worst explosion of childhood and adolescent obesity that I have ever seen," Joep Perk from the European Society of Cardiology told AFP news agency.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- In Internet Age, Pirate Radio Arises As Surprising Challenge
K7DAN writes: Just as the demise of terrestrial radio has been greatly exaggerated, so has the assumed parallel death of pirate radio. Due to the failure of licensed stations to meet the needs of many niche communities, pirate radio continues to increase in popularity. Helping facilitate this growth is the weakening power of the FCC to stop it, reports the Associated Press. Rogue stations can cover up to several square miles thanks largely in part to cheaper technology. The appeal? "The DJs sound like you and they talk about things that you're interested in," said Jay Blessed, an online DJ who has listened to various unlicensed stations since she moved from Trinidad to Brooklyn more than a decade ago. "You call them up and say, 'I want to hear this song,' and they play it for you," Blessed said. "It's interactive. It's engaging. It's communal." It's upsetting many congressional members who are urging the FCC to do more about the "unprecedented growth of pirate radio operations." They're accusing said pirates of undermining licensed minority stations while ignoring consumer protection laws that guard against indecency and false advertising.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- All Belgians To Be Given Iodine Pills In Case Of Nuclear Accident
mdsolar quotes a report from Phys.Org: Belgium is to provide iodine pills to its entire population of around 11 million people to protect against radioactivity in case of a nuclear accident, the health minister was quoted as saying Thursday. The move comes as Belgium faces growing pressure from neighboring Germany to shutter two ageing nuclear power plants near their border due to concerns over their safety. Iodine pills, which help reduce radiation build-up in the human thyroid gland, had previously only been given to people living within 20 kilometres (14 miles) of the Tihange and Doel nuclear plants. Health Minister Maggie De Block was quoted by La Libre Belgique newspaper as telling parliament that the range had now been expanded to 100 kilometers, effectively covering the whole country. The health ministry did not immediately respond to AFP when asked to comment. The head of Belgium's French-speaking Green party, Jean-Marc Nollet, backed the measures but added that "just because everyone will get these pills doesn't mean there is no longer any nuclear risk," La Libre reported. Belgium's creaking nuclear plants have been causing safety concerns for some time after a series of problems ranging from leaks to cracks and an unsolved sabotage incident. Yesterday, a nuclear plant in Germany was reportedly infected with a computer virus.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Dissension Grows Inside Anonymous Because Of Political Propaganda
An anonymous reader writes from a report on Softpedia: Political tensions relating to the U.S. presidential race are creating turmoil inside the Anonymous hacker collective, muddling waters even more in a group that's known for its lack of leadership and a common goal. The most recent Anonymous infighting relates to the actions of the group's most famous news portal known as AnonHQ, who's been showing downright public support for Bernie Sanders, while being extremely busy at bashing Trump, Cruz, and more recently issuing video threats against Clinton. Ever since Anonymous' official news source has started showing public support for Sanders, many of the group's divisions have publicly disavowed it and have even gone so far as launching constant waves of DDoS attacks at what once used to be the hacker's official news portal. Last month, when a former Anonymous member decided to dox himself, he said in interviews that the group had been infiltrated by government agents.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Google's OnHub Is First WiFi Router To Support IFTTT
An anonymous reader writes: The first router to feature IFTTT support is Google OnHub. IFTTT is an abbreviation of "If This Then That," a free web-based service that can allow users to create "recipes," which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, etc. OnHub's smart features can now connect to the 300-plus programs and apps supported by IFTTT. Google provides some examples in its blog post. For example, you can automatically prioritize Wi-Fi to your Chromecast when it connects to your OnHub network after you plug it in to start binge watching your favorite TV show, or to your Nest Cam when it senses motion or sound after you've exhausted yourself from said binge watching and passed-out on your couch. There's a friendly little video Google put together to explain the feature in detail.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Who's Downloading Pirated Scientifc Papers? Everyone
sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: In increasing numbers, researchers around the world are turning to Sci-Hub, the controversial website that hosts 50 million pirated papers and counting. Now, with server log data from Alexandra Elbakyan, the neuroscientist who created Sci-Hub in 2011 as a 22-year-old graduate student in Kazakhstan, Science addresses some basic questions: Who are Sci-Hub's users, where are they, and what are they reading? The Sci-Hub data provide the first detailed view of what is becoming the world's de facto open-access research library. Among the revelations that may surprise both fans and foes alike: Sci-Hub users are not limited to the developing world. Some critics of Sci-Hub have complained that many users can access the same papers through their libraries but turn to Sci-Hub instead -- for convenience rather than necessity. The data provide some support for that claim. Over the 6 months leading up to March, Sci-Hub served up 28 million documents, with Iran, China, India, Russia, and the United States the leading requestors.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Microsoft Limits Cortana Search Box In Windows 10 To Bing and Edge Only
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Microsoft has announced a big change for how the Cortana search box in Windows 10 will work going forward: all searches will be powered by Bing and all links will open with the Edge browser. This is a server-side change going into effect today. Once it takes effect on your Windows 10 computer, Cortana will no longer be able to serve up results from third-party search providers, like Google or Yahoo, nor take you to a third-party browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager of search and Cortana, said in a Windows blog post announcing the change, "Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana. The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable. The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can't depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser. The only way we can confidently deliver this personalized, end-to-end search experience is through the integration of Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Bing -- all designed to do more for you."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Top Security Experts Say Anti-Encryption Bill Authors Are 'Woefully Ignorant'
blottsie writes from a report on the Daily Dot: In a Wall Street Journal editorial titled "Encryption Without Tears," Sens. Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein pushed back on widespread condemnation of their Compliance with Court Orders Act, which would require tech companies to provide authorities with user data in an "intelligible" format if served with a warrant. But security experts Bruce Schneir, Matthew Green, and others say the lawmakers entirely misunderstand the issue. "On a weekly basis we see gigabytes of that information dumped to the Internet," Green told the Daily Dot. "This is the whole problem that encryption is intended to solve." He added: "You can't hold out the current flaws in the Internet as a justification for why the Internet shouldn't be made secure." "These criticisms of Burr and Feinstein's analogy emphasize an important point about digital security: The differences between the levels of encryption protecting certain types of data -- purchase records on Amazon's servers versus photos on an iPhone, for example -- lead to different levels of risk," writes Eric Geller of the Daily Dot.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- North Korea Launches Two Midrange Missiles, Both Tests Fail
An anonymous reader writes: According to South Korean Defense Ministry officials, North Korea fired two midrange Musudan missiles Thursday, and both missiles appear to have failed. The military cannot confirm exactly when the missile exploded but said it "crashed shortly after it was launched," a Defense Ministry official said. U.S. military officials said the missiles traveled an estimated 200 meters from the launchpad. This past weekend, North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine off the east cost of the Korean peninsula. It only traveled about 30 km, well short of the 300 km range that would be considered a successful test. A little more than a week prior to that launch, North Korea failed to launch an intermediate-range missile on the 104th anniversary of the birthday of the country's 'eternal president,' Kim II Sung.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- India Installs 'Laser Walls' At Border With Pakistan
schwit1 writes: After experimenting with barbed wire, surveillance cameras and even cowbells and camels, India has now reportedly introduced "laser walls" at its border with archenemy Pakistan. Both New Delhi and Islamabad deploy more than half of their 1 million and 600,000-strong armies, respectively, on the border. India is setting up the laser walls to "plug the porous riverine and treacherous terrain and keep an effective vigil against intruders and terrorists" in Punjab state, the state-run Press Trust of India reported. According to the PTI report, around 45 laser walls will be installed in Punjab state. Lasers beamed over rivers and hills will set off an alarm and alert the Indian Border Security Force if someone attempts to pass by, it added.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Nvidia GPU-Powered Autonomous Car Teaches Itself To See And Steer
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World discussing Nvidia's project called DAVE2, where their engineering team built a self-driving car with one camera, one Drive-PX embedded computer and only 72 hours of training data: Neural networks and image recognition applications such as self-driving cars have exploded recently for two reasons. First, Graphical Processing Units (GPU) used to render graphics in mobile phones became powerful and inexpensive. GPUs densely packed onto board-level supercomputers are very good at solving massively parallel neural network problems and are inexpensive enough for every AI researcher and software developer to buy. Second, large, labeled image datasets have become available to train massively parallel neural networks implemented on GPUs to see and perceive the world of objects captured by cameras. The Nvidia team trained a convolutional neural network (CNN) to map raw pixels from a single front-facing camera directly to steering commands. Nvidia's breakthrough is the autonomous vehicle automatically taught itself by watching how a human drove, the internal representations of the processing steps of seeing the road ahead and steering the autonomous vehicle without explicitly training it to detect features such as roads and lanes.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Manufacturing Jobs On Decline Around the World
Reader Koreantoast writes: The New York Times posted an interesting thought piece (paywalled, this link could help) on the changing nature of manufacturing globally and the impact it has on modern politics and economic development. Although manufacturing productivity has jumped tremendously over the last several decades, the overall global pool of manufacturing jobs is shrinking as automation and new industrial technologies has increased the production and supply of manufactured goods with fewer people at a rate faster than global demand can absorb. The analogy is the agricultural revolution of the last several centuries where greater amounts of food are being produced by fewer and fewer farmers, displacing many of them. How will industrialized nations manage the growing number of displaced, blue collar labor? Bigger impact globally is that the shrinking pool of manufacturing jobs globally is closing the traditional route of export-oriented manufacturing economy that many nations, particularly in East Asia, were able to use to lift their nations out of poverty. What happens to those nations that missed the boat?"The likelihood that we will get a manufacturing recovery is close to nil," Professor Stiglitz said. "We are more likely to have a smaller share of a shrinking pie."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Bernie Sanders' Second Life Headquarters Besieged by Trump-Supporting Swastikas
Wagner James Au, writing for Motherboard (edited and condensed):As Donald Trump continues to ride roughshod over much of the United States, there are multiple reports that Trumps' virtual fans are riding roughshod on Bernie Sanders' unofficial headquarters in Second Life as well. Sanders' spot is in the sim (Second Life region) of Caspoli, with a Bernie 2016 banner that can be seen from satellite. It's a Roman-themed hangout space in a peaceful meadow, where Bernie supporters often gather to share news of their favorite candidate. But lately, the place has been besieged by pro-Trump griefers. [...] During a Bernie rally in Second Life, Sanders support group member Macaria Wind goes on, Trump-supporting demons flew around Bernie's rally, endlessly typing "TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!" into text chat.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Almost Two-Thirds of Software Companies Contributing To Open Source, Says Survey
Reader alphadogg writes: Open source's march toward preeminence in business software continued over the past year, according to a survey released by open source management provider Black Duck Software and venture capital firm North Bridge. Roughly two-thirds of respondents to the survey -- which was administered online and drew 1,300 respondents -- said that their companies encouraged developers to contribute to open-source projects, and a similar proportion said that they were actively engaged in doing so already. That's a 5% increase from the previous year's survey.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- At last: Ordnance Survey's map wizardry goes live
After a long beta programme, the Ordnance Survey has officially launched its “slippy”-style smartphone app and website - just in time for shivering in a parka on a Bank Holiday Monday, as you wonder who nicked your bike.…
- Nexsan in transports over added sync and share
Hopes it will sync and swim to growth with Transporter tech
Nexsan has added acquired Connected Data’s Transporter file sync’ and share technology to its NST file storage array, called the combined product UNITY.…
- Finance bods SWIFT to update after Bangladesh hack
But infosec folk say full revamp needed
Security vendors are pushing for a more comprehensive revamp of the SWIFT international inter-bank financial transaction messaging system beyond a update prompted by an $81m hack against Bangladesh's central bank.…
- Carl Icahn: Will someone rid my portfolio of this rotten Apple?
China blamed as billionaire activist investor ends stock flirtation, makes $2bn
Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has offloaded his Apple shares after the stock dropped below $100 a piece this week following the vendor's first sales slip in 13 years.…
- Ireland's tech sector fears fallout of Brexit 'Yes' vote
Mad, bad and dangerous for trade
The Republic of Ireland’s IT industry would be damaged if its second-biggest trading partner Britain left the European Union. Firms are concerned about the impact on exports - particularly if the British economy and sterling hit the skids.…
- Rampant robot tries to rip my clothes off
As its lithe synthetic fingers fumbled with my trouser buttons...
Something for the Weekend, Sir? Things are getting steamy. My valet is trying to pull down the back of my trousers. “We’ll have these off you in a jiffy, sir,” he sings.…
- The Devils of DevOps stick it to YOU
It's not going to save you: You still need data to stop a fail
DevOps can solve anything, can’t it? Well, no. In fact, if you don’t implement DevOps correctly, you’ll find that not only do you carry over the problems of the old world but that birth a few brand new ones, too.…
- No objections to object stores: Everyone's going smaller and faster
Yes, they really are. Enrico Signoretti takes a look at what firms are up to
A couple of weeks ago I published an article about high performance object storage. Reactions have been quite diverse. Some think that object stores can only be huge and slow and then others who think quite the opposite. In fact, they can also be fast and small.…
- Google Play infested with cash-stealing web apps
Simple HTML scams look to be sneaking through the app inspection process
Security researcher Joshua Shilko says phishing apps targeting some of the world's biggest payment services have slipped past screening and landed on Google Play.…
- Gumtree 'fesses up to breach and personal information leak
Email addresses, names and phone numbers accessed, but only in Australia
UPDATE eBay's even tattier tat bazaar Gumtree says it's suffered an attack during which users' personal data was encountered by parties unknown and unauthorised.…
- Heathrow Airbus collision 'not a drone incident'
No evidence of UAV impact, investigators say
The UK's Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has told Parliament that what was thought to be the Britain's first recorded incident of a collision between a UAV and an airliner was probably "not a drone incident" after all.…
- X-IO and Pivot3 enter mutual back-scratch deal
Loosely-coupled alliance with IP, product, staff, and engineering services aspects
X-IO is going to add Pivot3 hyper-converged products to its customers and provide IP, software and engineering services to Pivot3.…
- Pro-ISIS hacking groups are still hooking up
Twitter-defacing twits are still teaming up, may hit marginally bigger targets
Remember when pro-Daesh/ISIL/ISIS hacking groups banded together to form a unified force? They're still, er, hooking up, according to a recent study.…
Linux.com offline for now
- PTS Stress-Run Continues To Mature To Push Hardware/Software To Their Limits
One of the many less advertised features of the Phoronix Test Suite is the ability to re-purpose any available test profile not as a performance metric but simply as part of a stress tool for hammering your hardware or software for deficiencies. The phoronix-test-suite stress-run tool can run any number of the test profiles concurrently and in a random pattern for a defined length of time for fully stressing your system...
- Allwinner DRM Driver Will Be Present In Linux 4.7
More relevant than the ARC PGU DRM driver that was merged this week is a DRM display driver for more common hardware: Allwinner SoCs. The Allwinner DRM driver has been accepted into DRM-Next for in turn landing with Linux 4.7...
- Fresh Mesa 11.3-devel RadeonSI Tests On Ubuntu 16.04 vs. NVIDIA's 364.19 Driver
For some end-of-month benchmarks and while having a number of graphics cards out prior to being let down by Tomb Raider's Linux benchmark, here is a fresh round of OpenGL tests while using the newest Mesa 11.3-devel code on RadeonSI with AMDGPU/Radeon DRM from Ubuntu 16.04 and then compared to various Kepler/Maxwell graphics cards with the newest NVIDIA Linux driver.
- Tomb Raider Benchmarks On Linux With NVIDIA Graphics
With Feral Interactive releasing Tomb Raider for Linux, three years after the premiere of the Windows port, many have been wondering about the Linux performance particularly with regards to the graphics driver situation. Here are our initial benchmarks of Feral's port of Tomb Raider on Ubuntu Linux with using NVIDIA graphics. More tests to follow.
- Xamarin's 2016 Conference Starts, Open-Source SDK Available
As most Phoronix readers will certainly recall, Microsoft bought out Xamarin, the company co-founded by Miguel de Icaza and focused around Mono technologies, and last month announced they would open-source the Xamarin SDK. Microsoft is making good on their word this week...
- Warsow 2.1 Recently Released With Offloaded Rendering
While checking on various Linux game benchmarks this morning, I noticed Warsow 2.1 was quietly released at the end of March without much attention. Warsow continues to be a multi-platform, GPL-licensed first-person shooter game powered by the Qfusion engine, a very distant derivative of the Quake II engine...
- OpenMandriva Adds F2FS Support
It's been a while since last having anything to report on with the OpenMandriva Linux distribution, but they wrote in today with news about adding Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) support...
- KDE's Krita 3.0 Now In Beta
The developers behind KDE's flagship digital painting and animation program have this morning announced the Krita 3.0 Beta...
- AMD Posts Secure Memory Encryption For The Linux Kernel (SME)
Well, today seems to be the day for x86 CPU vendors to push out memory security related features for the Linux kernel... After Intel posted the Secure Guard Extensions driver for Linux, AMD has come out with a patch-set for "Secure Memory Encryption" (SME) that looks like it will be a hardware feature of Zen...
- FCC introduces rules to prevent 5G price hike
The FCC is planning to regulate wholesale internet rates charged by cable companies, a move that could indirectly affect consumer wireless data prices. Such business internet services, called "special access," dictate what wireless carriers pay to supply data to cellular data networks. They also determine rates paid by business and government for services like ATMs, health networks and more. Tom Wheeler's commission already regulates special access for phone companies like AT&T, but now it wants control of cable operators' wholesale pricing, a move that has companies like Comcast up in arms (again).
The FCC became interested in the subject after looking into special access rates charged by telecoms AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Frontier. It decided to force those companies to change certain tariffs within 30 days, finding them "unjust and unreasonable." However, the commission has no power over the special access rates charged by cable companies, which only entered that market recently. After concluding its investigation, it elected to include them in the regulation fun for the first time.
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and cablers like Comcast are (trying) to have none of this. Their main argument is that they just entered the wholesale market, and the FCC traditionally doesn't regulate prices for newcomers. "In this upside-down new regime, a competitive cable provider that currently holds a 10 percent share in a market would be treated the same as a dominant incumbent provider serving 90 percent of that market," says Comcast Senior VP David Cohen.
FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler (Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The FCC, however, wants to ensure that prices don't spiral out of control in non-competitive markets. In a statement, it said that "competition in this essential market is uneven ... [which could] stifle the ability of business customers to innovate and compete." It pointed out that excessive wholesale prices could have an especially negative effect on future 5G cellular networks, which will eat up a lot more data than LTE. The decision to regulate cable companies' business data prices was unsurprisingly endorsed by telecoms like Verizon and Sprint, too.
The decision (proceeding 05-25) was, unsurprisingly, passed by a narrow vote, with the Republican commissioners protesting it robustly. The FCC doesn't plan to regulate all special access markets, however. Rather, it's coming up with a way to test regional markets, and both cable and telecom operators considered to be in non-competitive areas would see stricter regulations. It will take several months to determine the final rules, and the commission is now taking public comments.
- Sling adds Spanish TV to its multi-stream beta
Sling TV's service is great for cord-cutters, but not ideal for families who like to watch different stuff at the same time. It recently launched a multi-stream option (in beta) that allows viewing on up to three Sling-TV supported devices at once, but so far content has been limited to Fox and a few other channels. However, Spanish viewers now have a bunch of new options thanks to the company's Best of Spanish TV-Beta that brings multi-stream viewing of channels like Azteca, beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS en EspaŮol, Cinelatino, CineSony, De Pelicula, Pasiones, TeleromŠntica, UniMŠs and Univision.
The service is among the new "Extras" options, which include Hollywood Extra-Beta, Lifestyle Extra-Beta and World News Extra-Beta. Each of those is $5 per month, while the Cinemax Extra-Beta is $10 and HBO Extra-Beta runs $15 a month. In addition, Viacom channels like Comedy Central will soon come to both the single- and multi-stream options. Those prices are on top of regular subscription prices -- both the single and multi-stream options run $20 per month. That might make multi-stream seem like a bargain, but it doesn't include some important channels like ESPN and Disney. However, the Spanish Extra pack is identical for both single- and multi-streams.
Source: Sling TV
- Atari founder Nolan Bushnell is making mobile games
Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has teamed up with a small Amsterdam studio to develop and publish new mobile games. Bushnell created the iconic Atari brand in 1972, and oversaw the release of classic systems such as the Atari 2600. He was ousted from the company six years later and ran a bunch of other businesses before returning to Atari's board of directors in 2010. Spil Games, meanwhile, is a relatively unknown name that specializes in mobile and browser-based titles. Bushnell has signed on to develop three games with the studio, with the first scheduled for release in early 2017. We'll soon see if he still has some of that old Atari magic.
- TiVo will be acquired by patent giant Rovi for $1.1 billion
Rovi has agreed to acquire DVR maker TiVo in a deal worth $1.1 billion. The acquisition, which was rumored to be close to completion in March, will be part cash, part shares -- only $277 million will actually change hands, with the rest of the figure being paid out in stock of a new company that will own both Rovi and TiVo. Subject to the usual regulatory approvals, the purchase will complete in Q3 2016, after which the joint entity will be known as TiVo.
While you're aware of TiVo, you probably don't know what Rovi is or does. The company started life as MacroVision, and owns thousands of patents relating to DRM and program guides. More recently, it's mostly been in the news for wielding those patents liberally in various lawsuits, including a case against Netflix that it eventually lost. TiVo also has lots of IP relating to its DVR tech. With the acquisition, the new TiVo will have over 6,000 patents, and some far-reaching claims to royalties in the DVR market.
- Flow is Microsoft's take on IFTTT automation
Microsoft is about to release its take on the automation service IFTTT called Flow, according to a blog post published and removed by the company.
Flow connects to over 35 services, with more integrations planned. These include Microsoft products like Office 365 and OneDrive; third-party platforms such as Twitter, Dropbox, MailChimp, Google Drive, Slack and Trello; and developer-focused options like Github and SQL. Just like IFTTT, you'll be able to create workflows across multiple services. Examples include adding a card in Trello if your boss emails you with "to do" in the subject line, sending a text alert if a Dropbox file is modified, or saving all of a user's tweets to OneDrive.
Some of this functionality has been available as part of a private preview for Microsoft's Azure business customers, but Flow appears to be a more user-friendly take on the concept. It's aimed squarely at businesses, schools and other large institutions, but there's no reason that it couldn't be useful to individuals, especially if you're the sort of person that organizes your life through Trello.
It's not clear exactly when Flow will be ready. Twitter user @h0x0d first discovered the service (as spotted by The Verge
Source: Microsoft Flow (Google cache)
- Will.i.am's next wearable is available to pre-order
Rapper, singer and entrepreneur William Adams, best known as Will.i.am, is ready to unleash his next smartwatch on the world. It's called the Dial and is available to pre-order from Three in the UK, starting at £22 per month with a £49 upfront fee, or £25 per month with a one-off, £19 payment. That's right, you'll need to take out a new, separate contract to use this wraparound wearable. Unlike most smartwatches, however, it doesn't require a tethered phone. That's because it comes with a Three SIM card inside, allowing you to call, text and access the internet with nothing but what's on your wrist.
The Dial is being touted as a "voice-first" device with its own virtual assistant, called AneedA. Like Siri, Cortana and Alexa, the idea is that you can ask for information and execute tasks while your hands are full. How AneedA compares to those alternatives is, for now, a mystery. Three says it has the ability "to learn and tailor responses to each consumer" and "make traditional mobile search irrelevant." Big claims, which we're skeptical of given the performance of its previous wearable, the Puls. In early 2015, the press called it a "wearable nightmare" and "riddled with problems."
Its successor has one more trick to win you over: free music streaming. The service, powered by 7Digitial, has over 20 million tracks that you can listen to ad-free. There's no extra subscription and no promotional period to worry about. The data you spend streaming is written off too, so you'll never hit your monthly data cap while listening to Scream & Shout. Such a bonus, while welcome, probably won't be enough to make this smart cuff a hit. Few consumers in the UK are interested in taking out a second contract, even if it has the star power of someone like Will.i.am behind it.
- BT is raising prices for (almost) everyone in July
If you enjoy BT's phone, broadband or TV services, you can expect those packages to get a little more expensive in the coming months. BT and Sky spent a record £5.14 billion on securing coverage for the next three seasons. However, BT's Sport package isn't immune from the price increases, as the company will charge broadband customers £6 instead of the normal £5 from July.
Last year, BT announced its new pricing tiers in July and then rolled them out in September. However, with an expensive Premier League season set to kick-off at the end of August and a fresh commitment to expanding fibre broadband across the UK, the company appears to have brought its annual hike forward to help finance it all.
"We realise that customers never welcome price rises, but we have again ensured that low-income customers avoid increases. And we continue to highlight money-saving options for all customers," says John Petter, BT Consumer CEO. "We have also done our best to ensure that all of our customers will get more value if their price is going up, and we know they want faster speeds and better online security from their broadband."
Source: The Guardian
- Elon Musk's AI initiative opened an online dojo
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the artificial intelligence you coded in your garage probably doesn't have the type of resources behind it that Google used to make DeepMind a fearsome Go competitor. That's what the Elon-Musk-backed OpenAI Gym is for. It's in open beta right now, and available test environments include Go on 9x9 and 19x19 boards, a ton of classic Atari games and robot control simulations, among others, with more to come.
The firm says it launched this is because progress made in reinforcement learning lags for a few reasons. Firstly, OpenAI notes that existing, open-source testing environments lack diversity and are difficult to set up and use. What's more, there's a dearth of standardization, which makes reproducing the tests -- key for any sort of academic research -- between different projects in an apples to apples way pretty hard to do.
Want in? The Python-based environments apparently are compatible with algorithms written in "any framework," including Tensorflow and Therano. But if you're looking to dominate the leaderboards you might be disappointed: OpenAI says it's worried less about your high scores and would rather see the generality of your technique when you upload your results.
Via: OpenAI (1) (Twitter)
- ESPN Classic on-demand videos head to Roku and Apple TV
Sports fans with ESPN Classic on demand might spend the next few weeks glued to their screens. The company is giving them access to over 600 hours of archived programming. That means hundreds of hours of old basketball, football, X Games and other sports you'd usually watch on ESPN -- even "classic" ones people still talk about decades later, like Muhammad Ali's fights -- via the WatchESPN app. WatchESPN is available for a bunch of platforms, including Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Xbox One. But if you want to watch events you might have only heard from your parents, you'll have to bust out an Apple TV or a Roku.
- Test drive the PC-optimized 'Forza 6: Apex' on May 5th
Last September, Microsoft released Forza Motorsport 6 for PC and Xbox One to feed the ultra-realist gamer's need for meticulously-detailed racing. But back in March, Microsoft announced a re-release of Forza 6 specially crafted to run on Windows 10 (and only Windows 10 -- sorry Xbox One owners). On May 5th, Microsoft will unleash Forza Motorsport 6: Apex's open beta for players to enjoy all summer, with a full release at an undisclosed later date.
So long as your rig can handle the Windows 10 and DirectX 12 system requirements to play, Apex promises stunning graphics in up to 4K resolution. Neither the beta nor the game will feature multiplayer nor can Apex players race with Forza 6 owners, although you can compare your car's livery with your friends', if that's your bag.
Apex will feature 63 cars and 20 track configurations of six locations along with wet and night versions of each. While that's a paltry number of vehicles compared to Forza 6's lineup of 450 automobiles, Apex's beta is free...and neither Microsoft nor Turn 10 Studios have stated when it will end.
Source: Turn 10 Studios
- Supreme Court approves feds' request for greater hacking powers
The FBI found an ally in the Supreme Court in its quest to expand its hacking powers. Today, the highest federal court in the US has agreed to the changes made to Rule 41, giving judges the authority to approve remote access to suspects' computers outside their jurisdiction. Under the original Rule 41, a judge in, say, New York can only authorize hacking into a suspect's computer in New York. But the amended rule means that same judge in New York can approve the feds' request to hack into a computer in Florida, Alaska, or anywhere else, really.
According to the court documents that detail the changes:
"...a magistrate judge with authority in any district where activities related to a crime may have occurred has authority to issue a warrant to use remote access to search electronic storage media and to seize or copy electronically stored information located within or outside that district if: (A) the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means; or (B) in an investigation of a violation of 18 U.S.C. ß 1030(a)(5), the media are protected computers that have been damaged without authorization and are located in five or more districts."
By "concealed through technological means," the Supreme Court is saying that a warrant will be granted if a suspect uses Tor or any other tool to remain anonymous.
DOJ spokesperson Peter Carr told threw out evidence that the feds got through hacking the members of a child porn service on the Tor network. The judge explained that they violated Rule 41's territorial restrictions. This change would prevent something like that from happening. However, as Google's Legal Director Richard Salgado said, it could also "have profound implications for the privacy rights and security interests of everyone who uses the Internet."
The Congress has until December 1st to reject or make more changes to Rule 41, after which the amended version will take effect.
Via: TechCrunch, Reuters, Motherboard
Source: Supreme Court (PDF)
- NY Times sends 300,000 Google Cardboard viewers to subscribers
After last year's rollout of the another 300,000 Google Cardboard kits to digital subscribers. This year's promotion coincides with the release of the Times' new virtual reality film "Seeking Pluto's Frigid Heart."
The film actually debuted earlier this month at the Tribeca Film Festival but will hit the NY Times VR app on May 19th. When it lands, users will be able to virtually fly over the "rugged mountains and bright plains," or stand on the surface of the dwarf planet while the moon Charon hangs in the sky. The film is a joint project between the newspaper, the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the Universities Space Research Association, and the data used to create the virtual Pluto was gathered in 2015 by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.
The Times will be selecting Cardboard recipients based on how long they've been subscribers, so if you're just signing up today for a trip to Pluto, chances are you'll get left behind. Don't fret, though: You can still catch a modified 360-degree video version when it drops in May.
- Twitter co-founder Biz Stone relaunches failed Jelly app
Biz Stone's resurrected Jelly app officially relaunched today, and where the original 2013 app was something like Instagram-meets-Yahoo Answers, Stone sees the latest version as a return to his original vision and an alternative to Google.
Unlike the first version, everything is anonymous and you don't necessarily have to rely on your social network for answers this time around. "We think the future of search engines is just ask a question, get the answer," Stone toldan announcement post on Medium. "Each query and every answer is freighted with metadata. But all this science is in service of getting you the right responses from the right folks."
In other words: If you're asking where to get lunch in Barcelona, for example, Jelly wants to make sure you get an answer from someone who has actually been there. Users will also be able to follow up with the person who answered their query, in case they need more information.
The app is live now in the App Store and on the web at askjelly.com.
- Uber affirms tipping drivers 'is not expected or required'
In most parts of the world, tipping for certain services has been a long-standing tradition. Still, Uber made sure that was never the case between its riders and drivers, unless a yellow taxi was involved. But after a recent $100 million class-action settlement in the US, speculation grew that Uber would start encouraging tips. Not so fast. Today, in a Medium post and an email sent to users, Uber clarified that tipping isn't expected or required, citing a hassle-free experience as to why it doesn't give riders the option to add a tip to their fares.
"Nothing has changed. As we've said for many years, being Uber means you don't need to tip," Josh Mohrer, Uber's NYC general manager, said in the email. "We decided against including [an option] because we felt it would be better for riders and drivers to know for sure what they would pay or earn on each trip -- without the uncertainty of tipping." That said, Mohrer did say you're more than welcome to tip drivers, and they're more than welcome to accept it, but you shouldn't feel compelled to do so.
"Riders tell us that one of the things they like most about Uber is that it's hassle-free," he said. "And that's how we intend to keep it."
- The Wirecutter's best deals: The Pebble Time Round
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer's guide to the best technology. Read their continuously updated list of deals at TheWirecutter.com.
You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we'll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot -- some of these sales could expire mighty soon.
Pebble Time Round
Street price: $200; MSRP: $200; deal price: $150
This sale on our budget pick drops it to an even better price. This is the first time we've seen a great sale on this model, and it's available on most of the colors, except for Silver. Originally the deal was down to $144 and it has since risen a bit to $150.
The Pebble Time Round is our budget pick for the best smartwatch for Android phones. Kevin Purdy said, "Most reviewers (Wired and CNET, to name two) found the Time Round to be the best watch that Pebble has made, but a bit pricey at its original price of $250. At its new $200 price, it has just enough smartwatch functionality, and good enough looks, to make it a worthwhile companion to your Android phone."
Garmin Vivosmart HR
Street price: $150; MSRP: $150; deal price: $130
Here's the first discount we've seen on our favorite fitness tracker since its release. This deal is good for $20 off the street price. Shipping is free for Prime members.
The Garmin Vivosmart HR is our pick for the best fitness tracker. Amy Roberts said, "The Garmin vivosmart HR narrowly edged out the also-good Fitbit Charge HR because it tracks everything the Charge HR does but offers more features for around the same price. Its larger, always-on, customizable touchscreen display is easier to read and interact with; it's completely waterproof to 50 meters (as opposed to just "splash-proof") for worry-free use in the shower or pool; and it's impressively accurate in measuring distance traveled, despite a lack of GPS."
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Mirrorless Camera Body
Street price: $550; MSRP: $650; deal price: $450
This is a $100 drop under the best price we've seen on a new model of this camera. This price is for the body only, and while we consider the street price on it to be $550, it's been sitting at $600 since the start of April.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is our pick for the best mirrorless camera under $1,000. Amadou Diallo said, "The Olympus E-M10 II offers impressively fast focus, built-in image stabilization, and access to a wide range of quality lenses. It delivers great-looking images in a conveniently small and light package."
Anker PowerPort 4 USB Wall Charger
Street price: $26; MSRP: $50; deal price: $20 with code QAAUTP8Q
Make sure to use the code QAAUTP8Q for the white model, or L7PU4JGO for the black model. We haven't seen too many discounts on this version so this is a nice discount.
The Anker PowerPort 4 is our runner-up pick for the best multiport USB wall charger. Nick Guy said, "This newer version of our top pick looks a bit nicer, is slightly more powerful, and has folding prongs that are great for travel. It doesn't cost much more, but it's not a necessary upgrade for most people."
Deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.
- Google's OnHub router uses IFTTT to automate your life
Google's $200 OnHub router arrived last year, delivering fast WiFi in a device that touted an easy setup and automatic security updates. In the months following its arrival, the company has also added features like guest mode and band steering. Today, OnHub became even more useful as Google announced that the device now supports automated recipes from IFTTT. For the uninitiated, IFTTT uses formulas called recipes to automate certain behaviors based on things like a device's location, time of day or some activity.
In the case of OnHub, you can set up IFTTT to send you an email when your kid gets home from school and their device connects to the router, for example. Because the recipes work with a host of apps and connected devices, you can make connecting to your WiFi network trigger things like turning on Philips Hue lighting when your phone is in range. There's also OnHub-specific recipes for things like prioritizing your Chromecast while streaming or giving a Nest Cam more bandwidth when it senses motion. IFTTT integration for OnHub is available now, so you can start setting up those tasks whenever you're ready.
- Twitter for iPhone is now classified as a news app
A day after Twitter posted yet another quarter of mediocre growth, the company is making a small but notable change in how it positions its app on the iTunes Store. Starting today, Twitter is categorized under the "news" section of the App Store rather than "social networking." It's a change that makes a lot of sense and fits with both how Twitter has positioned itself as well as how it's being used.
Watching news and events unfold in real time is arguably the platform's best feature -- it's less about keeping in touch with friends and more about following people who share things you find interesting and relevant, whether you know them or not. Twitter Moments was probably the biggest new feature the service launched in the last year, and it again shows its focus squarely on curating the best commentary surrounding current events.
Whether or not this change helps the app gain more visibility remains to be seen, but at the very least it's now the number one free app in the news category of the App Store. Previously, it had to fight off massive apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Skype and a number of others for visibility on that list.
- Talkshow is a messaging app that wants you to text in public
There's a new messaging app in town and it's called Talkshow. But unlike most other messaging apps, the conversations you have on it aren't private. Co-founded by former Twitter exec Michael Sippey, Talkshow's big idea is that your banter is public for all the world to see. Calling Talkshow a "messaging" app is therefore a bit of a misnomer. It's really more like a public-facing chatroom, or a liveblog but for everyday people (which, yes, sounds a lot like Twitter). As Sippey said in an introductory blog post, it's essentially you and your friends texting in public.
But let's back up a little here and explain how it all works. When you first launch the app, it'll ask you to create an account using your phone number. It then sends you a confirmation code to authorize you. Then you're asked to add your friends, which can be found through your Facebook or Twitter login, address book or through a manual search. You can also send people an invite if they haven't signed up for Talkshow yet.
From there, you can dive into any number of Featured Shows (hand-picked conversations from the Talkshow staff), choose one that's currently live (that would be on the What's On tab) or just create one yourself. To do that, you select the little "new show" icon in the corner, invite your co-hosts, give your show a title and you're ready to start chatting. You can enter in text, images or GIFs. As with Slack, you can also edit and delete a message in case you regret something you said. Co-hosts and viewers can also "heart" individual messages if they especially like them.
You don't have to invite a co-host to have a show either. You can just do a monologue if that's more your jam. You're also encouraged to share your show on Twitter or elsewhere to get folks to start watching, but it's not necessary. All Talkshow message threads have a permalink on the web, so even those without the app can view it. You can find out how many people have viewed the show in the Info tab.
You can see hints of Twitter in Talkshow. Peeking in on a Talkshow conversation is a lot like following along a Twitter thread, except it isn't interspersed with other random comments. That's because the only people allowed in a Talkshow chat are the host (you) and your co-hosts (the people you've invited to the conversation). The public can still read along of course, but they can only offer a variety of different canned responses (These include "lol," "This is good," "Wait, what?" and a slew of different emojis). If they do want to join in, they can choose "Can I co-host?" as one of the reactions and you can then opt to include them or not. You can always boot them from the chat if you've had enough of their input. "It's the 'Thanks for calling!' feature," said Sippey.
That said, the real inspiration behind Talkshow wasn't Twitter at all. According to Sippey, he was motivated to do Talkshow partly because of a funny messaging exchange between Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. Swift had posted a snippet of it to her Instagram, and that tiny bit of chatter got a lot of love from her fans. "Their conversation is relatable," he said. "Why? Because everybody texts! And everybody texts about everything: sports, TV, politics, Beyonce's Lemonade, Damn Daniel, or what they're eating for dinner. I wanted to create Talkshow to give people a platform to share these conversations in front of an audience."
If this is still all a little confusing, I did a Talkshow with Sippey himself in a little impromptu interview (Yes I realize having a Talkshow about Talkshow with the co-creator of Talkshow is incredibly meta).
I asked him who he sees using this app. After all, who would want to have their conversations broadcast publicly? "We are already seeing sports fans, music fans, TV fans [on the service]," he said. "People that are into talking about what they're passionate about." He also said that Talkshow could be a great outlet for comedy or TV show casts to talk each other or connect with fans. Basically, it's like podcasting but in text form.
Some of the more interesting shows so far include ones about the U.S. presidential elections, the NBA playoffs or just really weird humorous ones that are about nothing in particular. Sippey pointed out a show that was just a mock conference called "Is This Thing On?" He also mentioned a solo show entitled "The Cute Puppies Only Show" that's just, well, photos of cute puppies. (I am behind this idea wholeheartedly.)
Viewing these shows feels like eavesdropping on a really great conversation at a bar. It does feel a little voyeuristic at first, but you soon get swept up by them. One of my favorites so far is about exercise efforts, and it's hosted by Sippey and his friends. I'm on a bit of a fitness kick myself so it was interesting to hear about how others were trying to get fit. If you've ever gotten sucked into reading an interesting thread on an online forum then you know what this is like.
Still, that could also be a criticism of Talkshow. You can already have these conversations in Slack, in messaging apps, in online forums and on Twitter. What makes Talkshow so different? "There's room for a lot of different ways for people to communicate with each other and express themselves," said Sippey, explaining that he sees Talkshow as co-existing with all of these other services, not replacing them.
Personally, I think Talkshow sells itself for a few reasons. Unlike Twitter, you can browse through different topics and pick one that interests you. Also, the fact that the public can't randomly chime in on conversations means that the possibility of harassment is close to nil. You're free to go on a big, uninterrupted "tweetstorm," if you will. I do wish you could have some kind of VIP list of people who are always allowed to comment, but you can at least give people permission on a case-by-case basis.
Talkshow is only available on iOS at the moment, with no word on if or when it might reach Android. I also asked if there would eventually be a desktop version, because I found it a little difficult to write paragraph-long responses on my dinky iPhone keyboard. "We love mobile and tablets, and so we'll have to see," said Sippey. "But a full desktop client, we'll see how things go!" As for future features, all he would say is that they have great things planned.
I'm generally very skeptical of new social apps, because they tend to feed into an echo chamber of tight-knit early-adopter communities. I'm also afraid that someone outside the Silicon Valley bubble would find Talkshow full of just cliquey people talking to themselves. That said, I'm giving Talkshow the benefit of the doubt. Because, so far anyway, I'm finding most of the shows oddly compelling. Maybe it's because group conversations are by default more interesting than just one person on a rant, but instead of feeling like an outsider, I just feel like part of an audience, enjoying the show. And that's really just fine with me.
- Facebook: 60 percent of government requests come with gag order
In a biannual transparency report, Facebook has revealed that 60 percent of the data requests it gets from world governments includes a gag order. That means they include non-disclosure directives that prevent the company from telling the user about the request. This is the first time that Facebook has ever revealed this statistic, thanks to recent law changes in the US that allow them to do so.
As for removing that gag order, the courts are still in battle over that, with Microsoft being one of the key players. The latter has said that such a gag order not only violates the First Amendment but also the Fourth, which is the right to be notified when the government searches or seizes your property.
Facebook also noted in its report that data requests have gone up 13 percent in the second half of 2015, and that the number of posts that have been censored due to local laws have also increased. Part of the reason for the latter is almost entirely due to a photo related to the Paris attacks. The image is said to have violated French laws protecting human dignity, and therefore access to it was restricted, but only in France due to a request from the French government.
"We support the Email Privacy Act, which passed the US House of Representatives yesterday, because it would codify the warrant-for-content requirement and update an old law on government access to internet communications," said Facebook in a statement.
It also reaffirmed that it does not provide any government with "back doors" or direct access to people's data, and that every request is scrutinized to see if it's necessary or warranted. "We'll also keep working with partners in industry and civil society to push governments around the world to reform surveillance in a way that protects their citizens' safety and security while respecting their rights and freedoms."
- Vivaldi closes in on the cure for the common browser
If you miss the old Opera, the Opera of the Opera 12-era, then Vivaldi is for you. And if the current crop of browsers leaves you wanting more or you end up installing a dozen extensions to get things the way you like them, Vivaldi is well worth a look. But even if you never use this new browser directly, Vivaldi looks to have enough innovative new features that it's very likely some will end up in whatever browser you do use. Vivaldi has certainly piqued my interest - especially since I'm having major issues with browsers on OS X. I prefer Chrome on Windows, but Chrome on OS X is far too resource-intensive and sucks tons of battery. Safari for OS X is very buggy for me (nine out of ten times it will refuse to load pages after waking from sleep, forcing you to restart the browser) and I'm experiencing a ton of bugs with YouTube in Safari. So, I'm looking for a browser that I like on both Windows and OS X, and reading all the positive reports about Vivaldi, it's definitely worth a look.
- Richard Stallman receives ACM Software System Award
Richard Stallman, recipient of the ACM Software System Award for the development and leadership of GCC (GNU Compiler Collection), which has enabled extensive software and hardware innovation, and has been a lynchpin of the free software movement. A compiler is a computer program that takes the source code of another program and translates it into machine code that a computer can run directly. GCC compiles code in various programming languages, including Ada, C, C++, Cobol, Java, and FORTRAN. It produces machine code for many kinds of computers, and can run on Unix and GNU/Linux systems as well as others. GCC was developed for the GNU operating system, which includes thousands of programs from various projects, including applications, libraries, tools such as GCC, and even games. Most importantly, the GNU system is entirely free (libre) software, which means users are free to run all these programs, to study and change their source code, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. GNU is usually used with the kernel, Linux. Stallman has previously been recognized with ACM's Grace Murray Hopper Award. Well-deserved.
- Apple sees its revenue decline for the first time in 13 years
Don't say they didn't warn you. Apple posted a year-over-year decline in revenue today, the first time the company's failed to grow its business in 13 years. It brought in $50.6 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2016, and $10.5 billion in profits. That compares with $58 billion in revenue and $13.6 billion in profits during this period last year, a drop of 13 percent for the revenue. Apple isn't doing badly, it is still one of the most valuable and profitable companies in the world. But it hasn't found a new blockbuster product to pick up the slack as iPhone sales have slowed in many parts of the globe. All product categories are down too - iPhone down 16%, iPad down 19%, Mac down 12% - but obviously, they're still selling an amazing number of each of these. No, Apple isn't doomed - anyone who says so based on these numbers is an idiot - but it does show that Apple has been unable to find the 'next big thing' after the iPhone (for now!).
- Details about Windows Subsystem for Linux
We recently announced Bash on Ubuntu on Windows which enables native Linux ELF64 binaries to run on Windows via the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). This subsystem was created by the Microsoft Windows Kernel team and has generated a lot of excitement. One of the most frequent question we get asked is how is this approach different from a traditional virtual machine. In this first of a series of blog posts, we will provide an overview of WSL that will answer that and other common questions. In future posts we will dive deep into the component areas introduced. The subsystem relies on ideas and technologies developed as part of Project Drawbridge (more details).
- Gentoo on a Tesla
Some details, this is running a Gentoo arm system, cross-compiled using a qemu-user chroot environment. Yes, that's right, Gentoo, running on a Tesla. All those USE flags, CFLAGS, and optimizations are going to add speed to my car. My 5 second 0-60 will be faster than your 5 second 0-60! There was probably at least 5 days of continuous compilation going on here. The system is almost completely independent. "OMG did you seriously flash the Tegra?" No, I didn't go that far. I'm running Gentoo in a chroot environment within the Tesla OS itself. I will definitely be making a post later diving into the technical details of it. Absolutely crazy, and I love it.
- Google Play Store headed to Chrome OS
Google first brought the ability to run Android apps on Chrome OS with a project called the "App Runtime for Chrome (ARC)." Google built an Android runtime on Chrome OS and partnered with select developers to port a handful of Android apps. Now it sounds like Google is ready to unleash millions of Android apps onto the platform by bringing the entire Play Store to Chrome OS. This is great news, because the more exposure Android applications get to the proper desktop world, the more developers will take that into account when developing Android applications. We need these applications to become properly resizable to prepare them for the future of the desktop/laptop Android Google claimed it's working on. In addition, it makes Chrome OS - which is going to be phased out in the process - a lot more useful.
- The web is Doom
Recall that Doom is a multi-level first person shooter that ships with an advanced 3D rendering engine and multiple levels, each comprised of maps, sprites and sound effects. By comparison, 2016's web struggles to deliver a page of web content in the same size. If that doesn't give you pause you're missing something. So where does this leave us? It leaves us with a web that is horrible to use.
- The NSA won't tell Congress how many Americans it's spying on
You would think there would be some more tangible action Congress could take, given its constitutional mandate to provide oversight of the executive branch, but you would be wrong. In theory, they might repeal FISA, but it's pretty clear that's not going to happen. We've been doing this dance for three congressional terms now and this is basically all that ever occurs. It's especially weird since the NSA's charter is for foreign intelligence, so the answer to "how many Americans are you spying on?" should really be zero. But we all know that's not true, thanks to documents leaked by a whistleblower who is unable to enter the country on pain of immediate lifetime imprisonment. If the current election cycle in the US has proven anything to me, it's that the American 'democracy' is fundamentally broken, down to its very core. How on earth can the NSA just refuse to answer these questions?
- New Windows 10 build: New Start menu, notifications, pen features
At its Build developer conference a few weeks ago, Microsoft announced the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, a major update for Windows 10 due this summer. One of its biggest aspects was substantially reworked and improved pen support ("Ink" in Microsoft terminology) intended to make pen applications easier to find and use and to make stylus use more powerful. A new Windows build that provides the first access to these new features, version 14328, has just been promoted to the fast ring.
- Google believes its superior AI will be the key to its future
Google is beginning to look beyond search to tap into some of the most lucrative and promising businesses in the tech industry: artificial intelligence and cloud computing. The company, the largest and most significant part of Alphabet Inc., has grown to mammoth proportions off the back of its search-based advertising division. But those revenues are starting to slow. The cloud allows companies to manage and sell server space and software that lives inside its data centers, like AI, to other large companies. That type of service-based business is fast becoming the new way to reap profits in the tech industry. Google is, effectively, a monoculture, and that's a huge sticking point for the company's future. The company's surely got a number of endeavours that could prove hugely profitable in the future (e.g. its driverless car technology), but that's still a considerable number of years in the future. For a company with what is probably the biggest server infrastructure in the world, it seems like a logical place to look.
- Free VPN integrated in Opera for better online privacy
Today, we want to share with you another big thing that you will first see in the developer channel for Opera for computers. We are the first major browser maker to integrate an unlimited and free VPN or virtual private network. Now, you don't have to download VPN extensions or pay for VPN subscriptions to access blocked websites and to shield your browsing when on public Wi-Fi. A great addition to a browser, and in these times, every browser should have it.
- Canonical unveils 6th LTS release of Ubuntu with 16.04
Canonical announced today it will release Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on 21st April, featuring the new 'snap' package format and LXD pure-container hypervisor. This is the latest version of the world‚¬Ä¬ôs most widely used Linux platform across desktop, IoT and cloud computing. The images are available for download now, but no official announcement just yet.
- EU formally lodges Android antitrust complaint
The European Commission has formally lodged an antitrust complaint regarding Android. The European Commission has informed Google of its preliminary view that the company has, in breach of EU antitrust rules, abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. The Commission's preliminary view is that Google has implemented a strategy on mobile devices to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general internet search. First, the practices mean that Google Search is pre-installed and set as the default, or exclusive, search service on most Android devices sold in Europe. Second, the practices appear to close off ways for rival search engines to access the market, via competing mobile browsers and operating systems. In addition, they also seem to harm consumers by stifling competition and restricting innovation in the wider mobile space. Google has already responded in a blog post (read the whole thing): The European Commission has been investigating our approach, and today issued a Statement of Objections, raising questions about its impact on competition. We take these concerns seriously, but we also believe that our business model keeps manufacturers‚¬Ä¬ô costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices. That's how we designed the model. This EU antitrust complaint is one of the biggest jokes in EU antitrust history; an even bigger joke than the Windows N editions. Not only is Android open source, the operating system has created a vastly more open and consumer- and competition friendly mobile operating system than anything else that has ever existed on the market. The situation before Android was absolutely dreadful - dozens, if not hundreds, of closed little feature phone platforms, the closed-source Windows Mobile, the completely locked-down iOS, the heavily fragmented, obtuse, and effectively locked-down Symbian. The situation after Android is that any user has a lot of control over the software they run on their phone, with tons of cheap, yet high quality devices to choose from. You can install whatever software you want, from whatever source you want, without having to go through Google or anyone else. Developers can target a vast segment of the market - Android has 80% market share in Europe - without being beholden to the nonsensical whims of a single corporation. In addition, users can run Android on pretty much any phone without any additional Google software or services. The situation clearly isn't perfect by any means, but the real problems with mobile software are not in Android - or iOS for that matter - but in the baseband processors, firmware, and similar software. Far less sexy, of course, and yet a far bigger problem that needs to be tackled. This entire antitrust complaint is a complete waste of money and taxpayer resources - which, coincidentally, makes it a very EU thing to do.
- 'Sony to release upgraded PS4 with faster GPU, processor, RAM'
Earlier this year, rumors began to fly that Sony would release an upgraded version of the PlayStation 4, a console often called the PS4.5 or the PS4K by fans and press. Today, multiple sources have confirmed for us details of the project, which is internally referred to as the NEO. No price was provided, but previous reports indicate that the NEO would sell at $399. At time of publishing, Sony has not returned our request for comment, but we will update this story if the company responds. The NEO will feature a higher clock speed than the original PS4, an improved GPU, and higher bandwidth on the memory. The documents we've received note that the HDD in the NEO is the same as that in the original PlayStation 4, but it's not clear if that means in terms of capacity or connection speed. Starting in October, every PS4 game is required to ship with both a "Base Mode" which will run on the currently available PS4 and a "NEO Mode" for use on the new console. I'm not sure what to think of this. It just feels like this wouldn't go down well with consumers who just bought a regular PS4, and developers would have to actually worry about all of this, do additional testing, possibly extra coding, and so on. It feels needlessly convoluted, especially since the PS4 isn't that old to begin with. Meanwhile, Microsoft claims it isn't interested in doing this, but you can bet your vanilla red pinky that Microsoft would follow suit in a heartbeat if this turns out to be a success.
- The untold story of Magic Leap
There is something special happening in a generic office park in an uninspiring suburb near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inside, amid the low gray cubicles, clustered desks, and empty swivel chairs, an impossible 8-inch robot drone from an alien planet hovers chest-high in front of a row of potted plants. It is steampunk-cute, minutely detailed. I can walk around it and examine it from any angle. I can squat to look at its ornate underside. Bending closer, I bring my face to within inches of it to inspect its tiny pipes and protruding armatures. I can see polishing swirls where the metallic surface was ‚¬Ä¬úmilled.‚¬Ä¬Ě When I raise a hand, it approaches and extends a glowing appendage to touch my fingertip. I reach out and move it around. I step back across the room to view it from afar. All the while it hums and slowly rotates above a desk. It looks as real as the lamps and computer monitors around it. It‚¬Ä¬ôs not. I‚¬Ä¬ôm seeing all this through a synthetic-reality headset. Intellectually, I know this drone is an elaborate simulation, but as far as my eyes are concerned it‚¬Ä¬ôs really there, in that ordinary office. It is a virtual object, but there is no evidence of pixels or digital artifacts in its three-dimensional fullness. If I reposition my head just so, I can get the virtual drone to line up in front of a bright office lamp and perceive that it is faintly transparent, but that hint does not impede the strong sense of it being present. This, of course, is one of the great promises of artificial reality - either you get teleported to magical places or magical things get teleported to you. And in this prototype headset, created by the much speculated about, ultrasecretive company called Magic Leap, this alien drone certainly does seem to be transported to this office in Florida - and its reality is stronger than I thought possible. The video is very cool, but the rig they're using makes it very clear this is still very early days. That being said - it looks amazing.
- The Humble Hacker?
Two of our favorite things have come together: The Humble Bundle and Hacking!
- The Death of RoboVM
Microsoft recently made a big noise about its love and support of the Open Source community (especially Linux), but while it's making concrete steps toward improving its support for FOSS projects, its motives may not be entirely altruistic.
- AdaCore's SPARK Pro
With this new version of the SPARK Pro toolset, AdaCore comes one step closer to its goal of making the writing of proven software both efficient and pleasant.
- Zappix Visual IVR
Zappix's development of its Visual IVR customer service platform is informed by research showing that 77% of consumers report that valuing their time is the most important element of good service.
- 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 í
- 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 í
- 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 í
- Emailing HPC
Email is not unlike MPI. The similarities may help non-geeks understand parallel computers a little better. Continue reading í
- 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 í
- 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 í
- 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 í
- 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 í
- 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 í
- 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 í
- 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 í