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  • Red Hat: 2015:0854-01: java-1.8.0-oracle: Critical Advisory Updated java-1.8.0-oracle packages that fix several security issues are now available for Oracle Java for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having Critical security [More...]

  • Red Hat: 2015:0844-01: openstack-nova: Important Advisory Updated OpenStack Compute (nova) packages that fix three security issues, several bugs, and add various enhancements are now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5.0 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. [More...]

  • Red Hat: 2015:0843-01: openstack-nova: Important Advisory Updated OpenStack Compute (nova) packages that fix three security issues, several bugs, and add various enhancements are now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5.0 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. [More...]

  • PacketFence 5.0 released
    PacketFence is a free network accesscontrol system; the 5.0release is now available. Changes include a new active clusteringmode, better device fingerprinting, better performance monitoring, theelimination of plaintext passwords, and more.

  • Schaller: Red Hat joins Khronos
    At his blog, Christian Schaller announcesthat Red Hat has joined the KhronosGroup, the consortium behind (among other things) the OpenGLstandard. Schaller notes that "the reason we are joining isbecause of all the important changes that are happening in Graphicsand GPU compute these days and our wish to have more direct input ofthe direction of some of these technologies. Our efforts are likely tofocus on improving the OpenGL specification by proposing some newextensions to OpenGL, and of course providing input and help withmoving the new Vulkan standard forward."

  • Friday's security updates
    Arch Linux has updated php (multiple vulnerabilities).
    Debian-LTS has updated tzdata (unspecified vulnerability).
    Gentoo has updated adobe-flash (multiple vulnerabilities) and xorg-server (multiple vulnerabilities).
    openSUSE has updated icecast(13.1, 13.2:denial of service) and ntop (13.1, 13.2: cross-site scripting).
    Red Hat has updated java-1.8.0-oracle (RHEL6,7: multiple vulnerabilities), novnc (RHEL6 OSP; RHEL7 OSP: VNC session hijacking),openstack-foreman-installer (RHEL6OSP: root command execution),openstack-glance (RHEL6 OSP; RHEL7 OSP: denial of service),openstack-nova (RHEL6 OSP; RHEL7 OSP: multiple vulnerabilities), openstack-packstack, openstack-puppet-modules (RHEL6 OSP; RHEL7 OSP: root command execution),openstack-swift (RHEL6 OSP; RHEL7 OSP: metadata constraint bypass),python-django-horizon, python-django-openstack-auth (RHEL6 OSP; RHEL7 OSP: denial of service), andredhat-access-plugin-openstack (RHEL6 OSP; RHEL7 OSP: information disclosure).
    Ubuntu has updated apport(14.04, 14.10: privilege escalation).

  • GNU Hurd 0.6 released
    It has been roughly a year and a half since the last release of the GNU Hurd operatingsystem, so it may be of interest to some readers that GNU Hurd 0.6 has beenreleased along withGNU Mach 1.5 (the microkernel that Hurdruns on) and GNU MIG 1.5 (the Mach Interface Generator, whichgenerates code to handle remote procedure calls). New features includeprocfs and random translators; cleanups and stylistic fixes, some of whichcame from static analysis; message dispatching improvements; integerhashing performance improvements; a split of the init server into astartup server and an init program based on System V init; and more. "GNU Hurd runs on 32-bit x86 machines. A version running on 64-bit x86(x86_64) machines is in progress. Volunteers interested in ports toother architectures are sought; please contact us (see below) if you'dlike to help.To compile the Hurd, you need a toolchain configured to target i?86-gnu;you cannot use a toolchain targeting GNU/Linux. Also note that youcannot run the Hurd "in isolation": you'll need to add further componentssuch as the GNU Mach microkernel and the GNU C Library (glibc), to turnit into a runnable system."

  • Boyer: Fedora 22 and Kernel 4.0
    On his blog, Josh Boyer looks at the choice of the 4.0 kernel for Fedora 22. While the underpinnings of the live kernel patching feature have been merged, even when it is fully operational it is probably not something that Fedora (and perhaps other distributions) will use often (or at all). "In reality, we might not ever really leverage the live patching functionality in Fedora itself. It is understandable that people want to patch their kernel without rebooting, but the mechanism is mostly targeted at small bugfixes and security patches. You cannot, for example, live patch from version 4.0 to 4.1. Given that the Fedora kernel rebases both from stable kernel (e.g. 3.19.2 to 3.19.3) and major release kernels over the lifetime of a Fedora release, we don't have much opportunity to build the live patches."

  • Security updates for Thursday
    Debian has updated gst-plugins-bad0.10 (code execution), inspircd (code execution from 2012), movabletype-opensource (code execution), andppp (denial of service).
    Debian-LTS has updated ruby1.9.1(three vulnerabilities).
    Mageia has updated java-1.7.0-openjdk (multiple vulnerabilities),mono (three SSL/TLS vulnerabilities), andpython-dulwich (two code execution flaws).
    openSUSE has updated flash-player(11.4: 45 vulnerabilities) and rubygem-rest-client (13.2, 13.1: plaintextpassword logging).
    Oracle has updated java-1.6.0-openjdk (OL5: unspecifiedvulnerabilities) and java-1.7.0-openjdk(OL5: unspecified vulnerabilities).
    Red Hat has updated chromium-browser (RHEL6: multiplevulnerabilities), java-1.6.0-openjdk(RHEL5,6&7: multiple vulnerabilities), java-1.7.0-openjdk (RHEL5; RHEL6&7: multiple vulnerabilities), and java-1.8.0-openjdk (RHEL6&7: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Scientific Linux has updated java-1.6.0-openjdk (SL5,6&7: multiplevulnerabilities), java-1.7.0-openjdk (SL5; SL6&7: multiple vulnerabilities), and java-1.8.0-openjdk (SL6&7: multiple vulnerabilities).
    SUSE has updated flash-player(SLE11SP3: 22 vulnerabilities).

  • [$] Plotting tools for networks, part I
    In the first two installments in this series on plotting tools(which covered gnuplot and matplotlib), we introduced tools for creating plots and graphs, and used the termsinterchangeably to refer to the typical scientific plot relating oneset of quantities to another. In this article we use the term "graph"in its mathematical, graph-theory context, meaning a set of nodes connected byedges. There is a strong family resemblance among graph-theory graphs,flowcharts, and network diagrams—so much so that some of the sametools can be coerced into creating all of them. We will now surveyseveral mature free-software systems for building these typesof visualizations. At least one of these tools will likely be useful if youare ever in need of an automated way to diagram source-codeinterdependencies, make an organizational chart, visualize a computernetwork, or organize a sports tournament. We will start with agraphical charting tool and a flexible graphing system that can easily be called by other programs.

  • Security advisories for Wednesday
    CentOS has updated java-1.6.0-openjdk (C7; C6; C5: multiple vulnerabilities), java-1.7.0-openjdk (C7; C6; C5: multiple vulnerabilities), and java-1.8.0-openjdk (C7; C6: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Debian-LTS has updated libvncserver (multiple vulnerabilities) and libx11 (code execution).
    Mageia has updated arj (multiple vulnerabilities), asterisk (SSL server spoofing), flash-player-plugin (multiple vulnerabilities), glusterfs (denial of service), librsync (file checksum collision), ntp (two vulnerabilities), qemu (denial of service), quassel (denial of service), shibboleth-sp (denial of service), socat (denial of service), tor (denial of service), and wesnoth (information leak).
    Oracle has updated java-1.6.0-openjdk (OL6: multiplevulnerabilities), java-1.7.0-openjdk (OL6:multiple vulnerabilities), and java-1.8.0-openjdk (OL6: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Red Hat has updated flash-plugin(RHEL5,6 Supplementary: multiple vulnerabilities).
    SUSE has updated Adobe FlashPlayer (SLEWE12, SLED12: multiple vulnerabilities).

  • [$] Report from the Python Language Summit
    The first half of our report from the Python LanguageSummit is now available. Subscribers can click below to access reports from five sessions held before lunch covering topics like the atomicity of Python operations, making Python 3 more attractive to developers, PyParallel, infrastructure for Python development, and Python 3 adoption. We will be adding more reports to this page as they become available.

  • OIN Expands the Linux System Definition
    Open Invention Network (OIN) has announced that it hasupdated its Linux System patent non-aggression coverage. "For thisupdate, 115 new packages will be added to the Linux System, out of almost 800 proposed by various parties. Key additions are the referenceimplementations of the popular Go and Lua programming languages, Nginx,Openshift, and development tools like CMake and Maven. This update willrepresent an increase of approximately 5% of the total number of packagescovered in the Linux System, a reflection of the incremental and disciplinednature of the update process."

  • KDE Ships Plasma 5.3 Beta
    A beta version of Plasma 5.3 has been released.This release features enhanced power management, better Bluetoothcapabilities, improved Plasma widgets, a tech preview of Plasma MediaCenter, big steps towards Wayland support, and lots of bug fixes.

  • Tuesday's security updates
    Arch Linux has updated ruby (man-in-the-middle attack).
    CentOS has updated openssl (C5: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Debian-LTS has updated ia32-libs (multiple vulnerabilities).
    Oracle has updated openssl (OL5: multiple vulnerabilities).
    Red Hat has updated kernel(RHEL6.4: privilege escalation).
    Scientific Linux has updated xorg-x11-server (SL7, SL6: information leak/denial of service).
    Ubuntu has updated apport (14.10,14.04: privilege escalation), libx11,libxrender (14.10, 14.04, 12.04: code execution), and ntp (14.10, 14.04, 12.04: multiple vulnerabilities).

  • The Document Liberation, one year after
    The Document Foundation's project Document Liberation looks at its progressduring the past year. "During 2014, members of the project released a new framework library,called librevenge, which contains all the document interfaces and helpertypes, in order to simplify the dependency chain. In addition, they starteda new library for importing Adobe PageMaker documents, libpagemaker,written as part of Google Summer of Code 2014 by Anurag Kanungo.Existing libraries have also been extended with the addition of moreformats, like libwps with the addition of Microsoft Works Spreadsheet andDatabase by Laurent Alonso. He is now working on adding support for Lotus1-2-3, which is one of the most famous legacy applications for personalcomputers. Laurent has also added support for more than twenty legacy Macformats to libmwaw."

  • GitHub: Now Supporting Open Source License Compliance
    While GitHub has always been a great site for developers to come together, network and share code, up until a few years ago, the website had a problem. Though it was easy for developers to share code, finding the right software license to go along with it was much harder.

  • How open source grew up
    Visiting the Open Source Open Society 2015 conference in Wellington this week was like watching someone else’s child who you knew as a smart but awkward teenager, transformed into a smart, professional adult. Open source grew up.

  • ExTiX 15.2 LXQt Screencast and Screenshots
    ExTiX Linux Live DVD’s 64 bit are based on Debian Jessie/Ubuntu 15.04. The original system includes the Desktop Environment Unity (Ubuntu). After removing Unity I have installed LXQt 0.9.0 (in ExTiX 15.2, build 150417) and KDE 4.14.6 together with KDE Frameworks 5.9.0 in an extra version also of 150417. LXQt is the Qt port and the upcoming version of LXDE, the Lightweight Desktop Environment.

  • 5 Best Data Recovery Tools For Linux To Recover Data Or Deleted Partitions
    Atleast once in life, most of us do wrong with the important data on our computer and then we think we must not have deleted this, whether some important documents or lectures' videos or bunch of important projects. Instead of cursing yourselves for such a foolish mistake, let's do some work. Let's try to recover that deleted data out from our HD. Here I am reviewing 5 of the best Data recover tools that can help recovering deleted data on Linux.

  • WikiLeaks releases entire trove of Sony Hack emails
    According to a press release on WikiLeaks, the entire archive which contains 30,287 documents from Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and 173,132 emails, to and from more than 2,200 SPE email addresses has been leaked because “This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation.

  • How to install Known on a CentOS 7 VPS
    Known is quite new and promising open-source publishing and collaboration platform that allows individuals or groups to share their stories to a wide range of social media services.

  • Power-sipping IP camera SoC gains Linux dev kit
    Ambarella has launched a Linux-ready reference design for battery-driven IP cameras using its S2Lm SoC, which supports fast wake-up and sub-500mW operation. Ambarella has announced the availability of a reference design for battery-powered IP cameras, supported with a Linux board support package (BSP). The design showcases the company’s recently announced, Cortex-A9 based S2Lm system-on-chip, which […]

  • How to install Kde Plasma 5 on Arch Linux
    In the last two post I’ve talked about the new Kde Plasma 5. In particular I’ve posted some pictures about Plasma 5 on my Arch Linux workstation and, after a not too long testing period, I’ve also wrote a review about its current status.

  • Wine 1.7.41 Officially Released, Fixes an Adobe Photoshop CS6 Crash
    Alexandre Julliard announced the immediate availability for download and testing of a new maintenance release of Wine 1.7.41, which brings better support for kernel job objects, improves MSI patches, enhanced support for Known Folders in the shell, and fixes theming issues.

Linux Insider

  • Survey: OSS Gives Enterprises More Bang for Less Bucks
    Black Duck Software and North Bridge Venture Partners on Thursday published the results of The Ninth Annual Future of Open Source Survey. The number of companies using some open source products or developing software built with open source components is at an all-time high, it found. The results reflect the increasing enterprise adoption of open source and participation in the OSS community.

  • SuperX OS Greases the Classic Linux Wheel
    SuperX OS is a solid Linux distribution that dispels all of the criticisms about using free open source OSes. SuperX is a relatively new distro developed by Libresoft. Based on Ubuntu and Debian, it adds a highly customized KDE desktop environment. The maturity and impressive performance of Grace, its latest release, makes the SuperX OS a prime replacement choice for whatever distro you now use.

  • New Smart Drone Breaks $1K Barrier
    A new aerial drone from 3D Robotics packs two computers and an array of powerful features for $999. The computers -- one on the craft and one in the controller -- have enabled it to make some radical breakthroughs in autonomous flight and camera control, according to 3DR. Built on 1-GHz Cortex A9 ARM chips running Linux, the computers allow operators to preprogram the drone's flight path.

  • Chrome Web Store Gives Bad Extensions the Boot
    Google recently purged some 200 extensions from its Chrome Store inventory. Extensions and add-ons let users add functions and features to the Chrome Web browser, but bad extensions can expose users to a greater risk of spyware and malware. A major problem with many browser add-ons is ad injectors. The clean-up resulted from increasing user complaints.

  • Parsix 7 Morphs GNOME Into a Better Desktop
    Parsix GNU/Linux 7 is a feature-rich rendition of the GNOME desktop that you must take for a spin. Dubbed Nestor, the project's goal is to provide a ready-to-use and easy-to-install operating system based on Debian's testing branch and the latest stable release of the GNOME desktop environment. The Parsix distro meets that goal -- and goes even beyond.

  • Microsoft Could Throw Windows Wide Open
    Open sourcing the code for Microsoft Windows is "definitely possible," Microsoft engineer Mark Russinovich reportedly said last week during a panel discussion at ChefConf. The company isn't acknowledging any movement in that direction as yet, but Russinovich's remarks are a strong indication that the Microsoft of today isn't the trenchant foe of the paradigm it was in the past.

  • Google Goes Crazy for Chromebooks
    Google has announced two new budget-busting Chromebook computers, a tablet/notebook convertible with a full swivel screen, and a Chrome computer-on-a-stick. The Haier Chromebook 11 and the Hisense Chromebook both are available for preorder for $149. The Asus Chromebook Flip will hit the market this spring with a $249 price tag. The Asus Chromebit will be available this summer for less than $100.

  • Big Money Helps Cyanogen Go for Android's Jugular
    Cyanogen has announced the completion of a financing round that brought $80 million in new funds to pay for more hiring and accelerated development of its open platform software development kit. Cyanogen is committed to liberating the Android OS from the financial grip of Google. Cyanogen has spurred a developing secondary app market for an alternative Android distribution based on its mods.

  • Bodacious Bodhi Broadens Linux Desktop
    Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 RC3's implementation of the Enlightenment desktop, makes an awesome desktop computing platform for office or home. Bodhi is one of only a handful of Linux distros embracing the Enlightenment environment. Its developers call Bodhi the Enlightened Linux Distribution. Beware if you try it: Bodhi Linux could easily become your favorite Linux distro.

  • Leap Motion Faceplate Lets OSVR Head Talk to the Hand
    It looks and sounds good, but virtual reality is still establishing how to get around in the digital worlds it creates. OSVR has placed the controls in the hands of Leap Motion, which may be a stellar move. Leap's novel approach embeds the VR controls in a faceplate that can be attached to an OSVR-compatible headset. The faceplate will be bundled with OSVR's Hacker Dev Kit when it ships in June.

  • Docker's No Flash in the Pan
    Docker -- the open source application container technology that has drawn broad interest from the enterprise IT industry -- recently marked its second birthday. Judging by its growth and traction thus far, and the example set by such open source projects as Linux, Hadoop, Android, OpenStack and Cloud Foundry, expect big things from this young open source software project and community.

  • Did VMware Flout Open Source License Terms?
    The Software Freedom Conservancy earlier this month announced that it was funding a lawsuit filed by Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig against VMware in the district court of Hamburg in Germany. The conservancy entered a grant agreement with Hellwig for the legal action. Its funding of the legal action is part of the program activity of its GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers.

  • Q4OS Is a Bare-Bones Business Tool
    Q4OS has the potential to become a new attention-getter among up and coming Linux distros. But this distro has a way to go before its development reaches full functionality. Right now it is working its way to a non-beta version 1.0 release. New beta versions are frequently released, often a few weeks to a month apart. The latest release was version 0.5.25 on February 4.

  • The Linux Kernel's New 'Play Nice' Patch
    Some 60 Linux kernel developers last week adopted a small "patch," called the "Code of Conflict," that attempts to set guidelines for discourse in the kernel community and outlines a path for mediation if someone feels abused or threatened. Linux creator Linus Torvalds' call for improved internal developer relations could be little more than wishful thinking, though.

  • Evolve OS Is a Clean and Light Work in Progress
    Evolve OS Beta 1 needs considerable fine-tuning to get to release candidate status, but it has two innovations that distinguish it from the crowd of Linux distro newcomers. This new arrival is built around a home-made desktop called "Budgie" and a custom package manager forked from Pardus Linux. I am always interested in new desktop approaches. That's what drew my attention to Evolve OS.

  • RHEL 7 Atomic Host Bolsters Container Security
    Red Hat last week made Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Atomic Host generally available, following a four-month live beta test. "The beta release was very successful," said Lars Herrmann, senior director of product strategy at Red Hat. Feedback from customers and partners "helped us refine several features and tools" for the GA version. Atomic Host is a lean OS designed to run Docker containers.

  • Does Lack of FM Support On Phones Increase Your Chances of Dying In a Disaster?
    theodp writes You may not know it," reports NPR's Emma Bowman, "but most of today's smartphones have FM radios inside of them. But the FM chip is not activated on two-thirds of devices. That's because mobile makers have the FM capability switched off. The National Association of Broadcasters has been asking mobile makers to change this. But the mobile industry, which profits from selling data to smartphone users, says that with the consumer's move toward mobile streaming apps, the demand for radio simply isn't there." But FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says radio-enabled smartphones could sure come in handy during times of emergency. So, is it irresponsible not to activate the FM chips? And should it's-the-app-way-or-the-highway Apple follow Microsoft's lead and make no-static-at-all FM available on iPhones?

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • US Military To Recruit Civilian Cybersecurity Experts
    An anonymous reader writes The U.S. Army is to create a new cybersecurity division, Cyber Branch 17, and is also considering launching a cyber career track for civilians, according to an announcement made this week by Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon. Cardon, who currently heads the U.S. Army's cyber command, ARCYBER, spoke to the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on Tuesday about the growing threats and capabilities used in cyber warfare. He argued that creating a cyber career management field for civilians would result in an easier recruitment process, as opposed to recruiting internally and trying to retain the talent, he said. Cardon maintains that recruiting and retaining talent in the field is often challenging, given internal employment constraints surrounding compensation and slow hiring processes.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • FBI Overstated Forensic Hair Matches In Nearly All Trials Before 2000
    schwit1 writes The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory's microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country's largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence. The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Google To Propose QUIC As IETF Standard
    As reported by TechCrunch, "Google says it plans to propose HTTP2-over-QUIC to the IETF as a new Internet standard in the future," having disclosed a few days ago that about half of the traffic from Chrome browsers is using QUIC already. From the article: The name "QUIC" stands for Quick UDP Internet Connection. UDP's (and QUIC's) counterpart in the protocol world is basically TCP (which in combination with the Internet Protocol (IP) makes up the core communication language of the Internet). UDP is significantly more lightweight than TCP, but in return, it features far fewer error correction services than TCP. ... That's why UDP is great for gaming services. For these services, you want low overhead to reduce latency and if the server didn't receive your latest mouse movement, there's no need to spend a second or two to fix that because the action has already moved on. You wouldn't want to use it to request a website, though, because you couldn't guarantee that all the data would make it.  With QUIC, Google aims to combine some of the best features of UDP and TCP with modern security tools.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Joseph Goebbels' Estate Sues Publisher Over Diary Excerpt Royalties
    wabrandsma writes with this from The Guardian: The estate of Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's minister of propaganda, is taking legal action against the publisher Random House over a new biography, claiming payment for the use of extracts from his diaries. Peter Longerich's biography of Goebbels is to be published in May (Random House/ Siedler). Longerich, who is the professor at Royal Holloway's Holocaust Research Centre, maintains this case has important censorship implications. 'If you accept that a private person controls the rights to Goebbels' diaries, then – theoretically – you give this person the right to control research,' he said.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • DOJ Could Nix Comcast-Time Warner Merger
    jriding (1076733) writes The Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger has been in the works for so long, it's starting to feel like the impending monopolistic telecom Frankenbaby was inevitable. But the Justice Department may kibosh the deal for violating antitrust laws, according to a report from Bloomberg.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Norway Will Switch Off FM Radio In 2017
    New submitter titten writes The Norwegian Ministry of Culture has announced that the transition to DAB will be completed in 2017. This means that Norway, as the first country in the world to do so, has decided to switch off the FM network. Norway began the transition to DAB in 1995. In recent years two national and several local DAB-networks has been established. 56 per cent of radio listeners use digital radio every day. 55 per cent of households have at least one DAB radio, according to Digitalradio survey by TNS Gallup, continuously measuring the Norwegian`s digital radio habits.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?
    New submitter nicolas.slusarenko writes Nowadays, there is one dominant search engine in the world among few alternatives. I have the impression that the majority of users think that it is the best possible service that could be made. I am sure that we could have a better search engine. During my spare time I been developing Trokam, an online search engine. I am building this service with the features that I would like to find in a service: respectful of user rights, ad-free, built upon open source software, and with auditable results. Well, those are mine. What features would you like in a search engine?

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • The Upsides of a Surveillance Society
    theodp writes Citing the comeuppance of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry, who was suspended from her job after her filmed ad-hominem attack on a person McHenry deemed to be beneath her in terms of appearance, education, wealth, class, status went viral, The Atlantic's Megan Garber writes that one silver lining of the omnipresence of cameras it that the possibility of exposure can also encourage us to be a little kinder to each other. "Terrible behavior," Garber writes, "whether cruel or violent or something in between, has a greater possibility than it ever has before of being exposed. Just as Uber tracks ratings for both its drivers and its users, and just as Yelp can be a source of shaming for businesses and customers alike, technology at large has afforded a reciprocity between people who, in a previous era, would have occupied different places on the spectrum of power. Which can, again, be a bad thing — but which can also, in McHenry's case, be an extremely beneficial one. It's good that her behavior has been exposed. It's good that her story going viral might discourage similar behavior from other people. It's good that she has publicly promised 'to learn from this mistake.'"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Dutch Prosecutors Launch Criminal Investigation Against Uber For Flouting Ban
    An anonymous reader writes Dutch prosecutors have announced that they are prosecuting taxi-hailing giant Uber for continuing to disregard last December's ban on the company offering its unlicensed UberPOP service in the Netherlands. The statement declares 'The company Uber is now a suspect...This means a preliminary examination will be started to collect evidence that Uber is providing illegal transportation on a commercial basis,'. Dutch police presented evidence to the prosecutors of UberPOP drivers in Amsterdam ignoring the ban, and at the time of writing the UberPOP service is still available via Uber's Amsterdam website []. Though Uber inspires new litigation on a weekly basis in the territories in which it is seeking to consolidate its services, this is the first time it has been the subject of a criminal prosecution.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Resistance To Antibiotics Found In Isolated Amazonian Tribe
    sciencehabit writes When scientists first made contact with an isolated village of Yanomami hunter-gatherers in the remote mountains of the Amazon jungle of Venezuela in 2009, they marveled at the chance to study the health of people who had never been exposed to Western medicine or diets. But much to their surprise, these Yanomami's gut bacteria have already evolved a diverse array of antibiotic-resistance genes, according to a new study, even though these mountain people had never ingested antibiotics or animals raised with drugs. The find suggests that microbes have long evolved the capability to fight toxins, including antibiotics, and that preventing drug resistance may be harder than scientists thought.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Rocket Lab Unveils "Electric" Rocket Engine
    New submitter Adrian Harvey writes The New Zealand based commercial space company Rocket Lab has unveiled their new rocket engine which the media is describing as battery-powered. It still uses rocket fuel, of course, but has an entirely new propulsion cycle which uses electric motors to drive its turbopumps. To add to the interest over the design, it uses 3D printing for all its primary components. First launch is expected this year, with commercial operations commencing in 2016.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Can High Intelligence Be a Burden Rather Than a Boon? writes David Robson has an interesting article at BBC on the relationship between high intelligence and happiness. "We tend to think of geniuses as being plagued by existential angst, frustration, and loneliness," writes Robson. Think of Virginia Woolf, Alan Turing, or Lisa Simpson – lone stars, isolated even as they burn their brightest." As Ernest Hemingway wrote: "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know." The first steps to studying the question were taken in 1926 when psychologist Lewis Terman decided to identify and study a group of gifted children. Terman selected 1,500 pupils with an IQ of 140 or more – 80 of whom had IQs above 170. Together, they became known as the "Termites", and the highs and lows of their lives are still being studied to this day. "As you might expect, many of the Termites did achieve wealth and fame – most notably Jess Oppenheimer, the writer of the classic 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy. Indeed, by the time his series aired on CBS, the Termites' average salary was twice that of the average white-collar job. But not all the group met Terman's expectations – there were many who pursued more "humble" professions such as police officers, seafarers, and typists. For this reason, Terman concluded that "intellect and achievement are far from perfectly correlated". Nor did their smarts endow personal happiness. Over the course of their lives, levels of divorce, alcoholism and suicide were about the same as the national average."  According to Robson, one possibility is that knowledge of your talents becomes something of a ball and chain. During the 1990s, the surviving Termites were asked to look back at the events in their 80-year lifespan. Rather than basking in their successes, many reported that they had been plagued by the sense that they had somehow failed to live up to their youthful expectations (PDF).

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Kingston HyperX Predator SSD Takes Gumstick M.2 PCIe Drives To 1.4GB/sec
    MojoKid writes Kingston recently launched their HyperX Predator PCIe SSD that is targeted at performance-minded PC enthusiasts but is much less expensive than enterprise-class PCIe offerings that are currently in market. Kits are available in a couple of capacities and form factors at 240GB and 480GB. All of the drives adhere to the 80mm M.2 2280 "gumstick" form factor and have PCIe 2.0 x4 connections, but are sold both with and without a half-height, half-length adapter card, if you'd like to drop it into a standard PCI Express slot. At the heart of the Kingston HyperX Predator is Marvell's latest 88SS9293 controller. The Marvell 88SS9293 is paired to a gigabyte of DDR3 memory and Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND. The drives are rated for read speeds up to 1.4GB/s and writes of 1GB/s and 130 – 160K random 4K IOPS. In the benchmarks, the 480GB model put up strong numbers. At roughly $1 per GiB, the HyperX Predator is about on par with Intel's faster SSD 750, but unlike Intel's new NVMe solution, the Kingston drive will work in all legacy platforms as well, not just Z97 and X99 boards with a compatible UEFI BIOS.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Hacked Sony Emails Reveal That Sony Had Pirated Books About Hacking
    An anonymous reader writes Sony has done a lot of aggressive anti-piracy work in their time, which makes it that much funnier that pirated ebooks were found on their servers from the 2014 hacks that just went on to WikiLeaks. Better yet, the pirated books are educational books about hacking called "Inside Cyber Warfare" and "Hacking the Next Generation" from O'Reilly publishers.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • America was founded on a dislike of taxes, so how did it get the IRS?
    From Cambridge to the other Newark, via the valley of bureaucratic hell
    The eXpat files Welcome again to the eXpat files, our now-occasional visit with readers who've moved to a new land in search of adventure, sunshine and, in the case of this week's chap, bewildering and labyrinthine tax and credit regulations.…

  • Alfa Romeo MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde: Less fun than it should be
    Baby Alfa fails to live up to illustrious forebears' example
    Vulture at the wheel Harsh, uncompromising and not as much fun as it should be, this Alfa Romeo MiTo needs a special kind of driver: one for whom the Alfa brand is special but who can’t stretch to a 4C.…

  • So why exactly does almost ALL tech live in Silicon Valley?
    And how come the nerds get so much damn money?
    Worstall @ the Weekend It was Ben Bernanke who pointed out that economics isn't really all that much good at predicting the next recession (and the long-standing joke is that economists have predicted 11 out of the past three), but it is pretty good at working out why the world is the way it is.…

  • DWARF PLANET Ceres beams back SUNNY north pole FROWN
    Dawn spacecraft transmits best high-res images yet, enthuse boffins
    In the build up to NASA's first science orbit of dwarf planet Ceres later this month, the agency's spacecraft Dawn has been capturing stunning images of the extraterrestrial body.…

  • Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Tortilla de patatas
    The real Spanish omelette – accept no wobbly dining substitute
    As regular readers know, the Special Projects Bureau's headquarters is a mountaintop redoubt in a sleepy corner of rural Spain, so it was inevitable that we'd eventually turn our wobbly dining attention to the legendary "tortilla de patatas" (potato omelette).…

  • Go for a spin on Record Store Day: Lifting the lid on vinyl, CD and tape
    Tech for digitising treasured tunes – how easy is it to get into the groove?
    Feature Today, Saturday 18 April, is Record Store Day. Partly a celebration of vinyl, and partly a keen marketing drive to remind people that there are still places to buy music that don't involve massive offshore companies. No doubt there will be busy queues outside venues like Rough Trade East in London, and, alas, speculators buying every special Record Store Day release they can, to flog on eBay a few hours later.…

  • Philip Glass tells all and Lovelace and Babbage get the comic novel treatment
    Plus: Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals
    Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston chews through the latest literary treats with a fascinating autobiography from composer Philip Glass. Jesse Armstrong of Peep Show fame has a debut novel and for comic novel fans we've a curious take on the development of the first computer from Sydney Padua.

  • Let’s PULL Augmented Reality and CLIMAX with JISM
    Oh come on! It's ripe for renaming
    Something for the Weekend, Sir? “Augmented Reality is a terrible expression,” says the AR demonstrator. “It’s a pity it doesn’t have a better name. So we call it XXooming. With two Xs.”…

  • FCC hit with SEVENTH net neutrality lawsuit
    CenturyLink joins queue suing US busybody to kill new rules
    CenturyLink has become the seventh organization to sue the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dismantle its radical new net neutrality rules.…

  • Android finally shows up for work, app in hand
    The 'ultimate solution to get work done on your device', apparently
    Google has finally published its BYOD app, Android for Work, adding to the already schizophrenic work-life balance environment for the devices.…

  • Give Jay-Z's Tidal tune stream thing a chance, says indie label boss
    Income from loopy, star-owned vanity project better than no income at all
    Interview Jay-Z’s much-mocked Tidal deserves a chance, says veteran British indie boss Martin Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt says the music industry should worry more about free and freemium services and offerings than piracy, and reminded us that digital sales are highly profitable – if you can make one.…

  • Bloomberg crash embarrasment delays 3 BEELLLION debt sale
    Debt Management Office vexed by digital dosh carnage
    A Debt Management Office auction of short-term Treasury bills, forming part of a bid to raise 3bn, has been postponed, after Bloomberg trading terminals went TITSUP on Friday morning.…

  • US Navy robot war-jet refuels in air: But Mav and Iceman are going down fighting
    Aviators plan to keep carrier drones on the sidelines
    A US Navy X-47B unmanned aircraft demonstrator has successfully carried out air-to-air refuelling from a tanker, the last of the feats the X-47B project was intended to accomplish. The two robot jets will now be retired, either to museums or the Pentagon's famous desert aircraft boneyard in Arizona.…

  • Veritas fills another seat on EMEA exec jet
    Gareth Hansford flies into storage world
    Veritas has inserted industry veteran Gareth Hansford into the top boss slot for EMEA channels, as the organisation continues to disentangle itself from Symantec.…

  • UK now part of another Euro data-spaff scheme
    Don’t want Bulgarian military police taking your banknotes? Tough!
    The United Kingdom has joined the European Union's new Schengen Information System II (SIS II), a multinational database-sharing platform for member states' authorities to access each others' databases in real time.…

  • Flash dead end is deferred by TLC and 3D
    Behold, data centre bods, the magical power of three
    Comment The arrival of a flash dead-end is being delayed by two technologies, both involving the number three – three-level cell (TLC) flash and three-dimensional (3D) flash – with the combination promising much higher flash chip capacities.…

  • G Cloud 6? No, not for us, say hundreds of suppliers
    Over 400 quit when the fifth iteration ended. Here's WHY
    Government Digital Services witnessed an exodus of suppliers – both big and small – when it ushered in the sixth iteration of G Cloud, The Channel can reveal.…

  • Are YOU The One? Become a guru of your chosen sysadmin path
    Deeper than training, knowing yourself
    Systems administrators are system administrators, right? Not really. Once upon a time systems admins were jack of all trades and (perhaps) master of them all. Most of the IT-related functions were performed by an administrator and if some new technology came along they adapted and learnt the new package or system.…

  • Want to go green like Apple, but don't have billions in the bank?
    Cooling data centres without landing in hot water
    Going Green: Strategy (Part 1) How much energy is required to power the ever-expanding online world? With data centres the factories of the 21st Century, this may be a conundrum high on the environmentalist’s agenda, but what about those building the new Satanic mills?…

  • Sources: Coms calls on corporate financer to flog telco biz
    Board sets two week deadline to get shot of voice unit
    Embattled London-listed corporation Coms plc has tasked Knight Corporate Finance with finding a buyer for its voice division – and sources tell us that time is of the essence.…

  • Graphic designs: Six speedy 17-inch gaming laptops
    Big ol' beasts of burden with bang aplenty
    Product Roundup Gaming laptops have a reputation for being big and heavy and providing battery life that is counted in minutes rather than hours. Slowly, though, increased power efficiency in both CPU and GPU designs has given rise to a new generation of gaming laptops that are at least semi-portable.…

  • WW2 German Enigma machine auctioned for record-breaking price
    Bletchley-baiting three-rotor code box sold for six-figure sum
    A three-rotor Engima machine was sold for a record $269,000 at a Bonhams auction earlier this week. The machine is in complete working condition and was manufactured for the German military in Berlin in July 1944.… offline for now

  • Microsoft's Open-Source Group Merges Back Into The Company
    For the past three years Microsoft Open Technologies Inc (MS Open Tech) has been Microsoft's subsidiary to interact with open-source communities, increase Linux / open standards interoperability with Windows, etc. That subsidiary is now being merged back with Microsoft itself as the company continues to embrace open-source...

  • Google's Experimental QUIC Transport Protocol Is Showing Promise
    Last year Google announced QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) as a stream multiplexing protocol running on a new flavor of TLS over UDP rather than TCP. Google's been expanding their testing of QUIC internally and the results are showing great results...

  • Red Hat Joins Khronos, The Group Behind OpenGL & Vulkan
    It's become public today that Red Hat has joined The Khronos Group, the consortium responsible for the OpenGL, WebGL, and OpenCL standards, among many other industry standards, along with the new Vulkan and SPIR-V standards...

  • NetworkManager Drops WiMAX Support
    With WiMAX not being too popular and other competing wireless standards taking over, NetworkManager is discontinuing its support for this technology...

  • Sub-$20 802.11n USB WiFi Adapter That's Linux Friendly
    As a quick Friday note, if you're looking for a 802.11n/g USB WiFi adapter that's very affordable and will work great with Linux, here's one of my recent purchases. After being pleased with one of them, I've since ordered a few more of these Wireless-N adapters for Linux usage.

  • X.Org Looks To Have Six Summer Projects
    This summer there should be six students working on new projects for X.Org/Mesa/Wayland via the foundation's annual participation in the Google Summer of Code...

  • DragonFlyBSD Pulls In GCC 5 Compiler
    While GCC 5 hasn't been officially released yet, DragonFlyBSD has pulled in a near-final revision of the open-source compiler for use by their BSD operating system...

  • Linux 4.1 Should Work With GCC 6, Future Versions Of GCC
    With the new GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) versioning where they're going to be bumping the major version number every year, Linux kernel developers are now re-working the way they handle the compiler's quirks/changes within the kernel...

  • Fedora 22 Beta To Be Released Next Week
    The release of the Fedora 22 Beta was delayed last week due to outstanding blocker bugs. Fortunately, those issues have been cleared up and F22 Beta can now be pushed out next week...

  • ZFS & Libdvdcss Should Soon Be In Debian
    For Debian GNU/Linux users wishing to have ZFS file-system support and libdvdcss (for DVD playback) without having to use third-party package archives, that should soon be a reality...

  • The Lenovo T450s Is Working Beautifully With Linux
    A couple weeks ago I bought the Lenovo T450s, this is my first laptop-upgrade in about three years and I have to say... I am so glad that I did upgrade. Over the last two weeks I've been using the T450s as my daily-driver and its been working almost perfectly under Fedora Linux.

  • LibreOffice 4.5 Bumped To Become LibreOffice 5.0
    While we've been looking forward to the new features of LibreOffice 4.5 as the leading open-source office suite, version 4.5 is no more. The next version of LO is now going to be LibreOffice 5.0...

  • Qt 5.5 Beta Is Closer With Today's Snapshot
    Qt 5.5 is a very exciting release for new features and functionality being added to this open-source toolkit, but it's continuing in the Qt5 tradition of running behind schedule...

  • The Massive Linux Benchmarking Setup Is Chugging Along
    It's going on one month now that our massive new server/benchmarking Linux and open-source benchmarking farm has been operational. So far things are going great and continuing to churn out a lot of performance data for the very latest Git code of the Linux kernel, Mesa, LLVM/Clang, and other projects on a daily basis...


  • Bad software update kills many Wink smart home hubs

    Now for the downside of a house loaded up with "smart" devices to allow remote control and monitoring: turning your home into a computer means computer-like problems. Today's example comes from the Wink Hub, a $50 device sold at Home Depot that's supposed to simplify things by working across standards and link common home appliances (lights, thermostat, garage door, etc.) to your phone. That was the plan until yesterday when Wink sent out a software update that went wrong somehow, and now a number of users have a box "so secure that it is unable to connect to the Wink servers" (Wink's words, not ours). The problem knocked all Wink hubs offline from 12:40PM to 11PM ET yesterday, and while the company says a "majority" of hubs were able to recover and reconnect, those that weren't will need to be sent back.

    [Thanks Larry, Steve & John]

    For its part, Wink has sent an email out to affected owners asking them to return their hubs and wait for a replacement, and is offering a $50 off Wink store voucher for the trouble. It initially sent out a coupon code, but disabled that one and promises individual codes for owners within 24 hours of submitting a return form (owners should call 844-WINK-APP for service). Unfortunately, as Wink user Chris Sewell posted on Google+, now affected owners are left questioning if they should stick with the company at all or switch to another (hopefully more reliable, maybe Samsung had the right idea delaying its SmartThings Hub) platform -- despite the many cool aspects of smart home setups.
    All the things many owners won't be doing with a Wink hub right now
    We've contacted the company for more information but have not heard back yet, although for now its status page has some info on what happened. By its reckoning, the problem was due to a security feature it implemented in the "the early days" and was a misconfiguration that was completely avoidable. It's pulling all Wink devices from store shelves for now, saying that local stores will not have inventory "for some time." Apparently turning into a spy and an addictisn't the worst thing that can happen with a smart home.

    Hey Wink users! We're doing a bit of work on our end so if you see any devices offline we'll get you back up and running shortly
    - Wink (@TheWinkApp) April 18, 2015You can see where things went wrong in real time via Twitter
    We are aware of a disruption in Wink service & connectivity. Team is working to resolve. Status can be monitored at
    - Wink (@TheWinkApp) April 18, 2015
    See a blue light on your hub? Do NOT unplug/restart your hub. The issues are on our end. We'll keep in loop
    - Wink (@TheWinkApp) April 18, 2015Uh-oh
    We've experienced a massive outage of Wink Hubs. We recovered most, but some will require a repair. Read more at
    - Wink (@TheWinkApp) April 19, 2015
    Filed under: Household


    Source: Wink

  • Hitchbot's poetry-writing sibling will also make its way across Canada

    While Hitchbot was bumming rides across Canada and Germany, its sibling kulturBot remained at home to keep their "parents" company. Now kulturBot is going on an adventure of its own, traveling with musicians, poets and other artistic types aboard the Great Canadian PoeTrain Tour. See, it might be made out of a pasta strainer and a vacuum, but it will fit right in with the other passengers -- after all, the little machine is a wordsmith itself. Its creators, Dr. David Harris and Dr. Frauke Zeller, designed kulturBot to write poetry using words and phrases taken from the diaries of Canadian geographer and fur trader David Thompson.

    The robot's lights flash whenever it's done composing a new poem, and a thermal printer embedded in its body spits a printed copy out. Many of its pieces reportedly make as much sense as a drunk, stuttering newbie at a Friday night poetry slam, but Harris believes they're still "strangely beautiful." Here's an example the developers gave to wrote on its website: "Though I am clearly more handsome than my sibling, my kulturBot does have a few more years of experience." Robopoet version 3.0's journey will last from April 18th to 26th, during which it'll be posting photos and snippets of its new masterpieces on Facebook and Twitter.

    [Image credit: kulturBot/Facebook]

    Filed under: Robots


    Source: The Toronto Star, Hitchbot, Frauke Zeller

  • Russians are using undiscovered exploits to hack the US government

    If you've been wondering how Russian cyberattackers could compromise the White House and other high-profile targets, the security researchers at FireEye have an answer. They've determined that APT28, a politically-motivated Russian hacking group, used unpatched exploits in Flash Player and Windows in a series of assaults against the US government on April 13th. Patches for both flaws are either ready or on the way, but the vulnerabilities reinforce beliefs that APT28 is very skilled -- less experienced groups would use off-the-shelf code.

    Whether or not APT28 is linked to the earlier White House breach isn't apparent. FireEye says it can't comment on the connections, since that's classified information. If there is a link, though, it'll be clearer than ever that the US is up against a particularly fierce digital espionage campaign.

    [Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]

    Filed under: Internet, Microsoft


    Via: Reuters

    Source: FireEye

  • ESPN objects to Verizon's flexible FiOS TV plans

    You may like Verizon's more flexible FiOS TV packages, but ESPN sure doesn't. The Disney-owned sports network claims that these offerings break contracts which prevent carriers from putting ESPN and ESPN2 into a separate sports package -- typically, they have to be included with other Disney channels. The company isn't directly accusing Verizon of going rogue, but a Recode source claims that the telecom didn't ask for permission. While Verizon tells the Wall Street Journal that it crafted the packages to avoid trouble, the insider says that the provider believed its existing deals would let it test these smaller bundles without a conflict. Clearly, ESPN would beg to differ.

    We've reached out to Verizon for its response to the allegations, and we'll let you know if it has more to add. Whatever the scoop may be, it's safe to say that Disney will fight hard to put ESPN in the base package. ESPN got its dominance in part because it's ubiquitous in TV bundles -- Verizon is treating it more as a specialty station. As much as you might want to pay solely for the channels you'll actually watch, it's doubtful that Disney will willingly sacrifice this cash cow in the name of convenience.

    [Image credit: Elsa/Getty Images]

    Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD, Verizon


    Via: The Verge

    Source: Recode, Wall Street Journal

  • Comcast's gigabit internet hits northern California in June
    twice-as-fast-as-Google-Fiber internet service to northern California. Potential customerswill need installation of professional-grade equipment to access it and, you'll have to be near its fiber network -- Fresno, Monterey, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area are among the places on the list -- to qualify. That's not all, either. Statewide, it's rolling out a 250 Mbps "Extreme 250" speed tier for cable internet customers. The telecom giant's also boosting speeds on its existing tiers as well, with lower priced-plans getting jumps from 25 to 45 Mbps depending on the package at no added cost. Perhaps the best news about all this is that you won't have to wait too much longer for it all to take effect. Comcast says it'll start the cable internet upgrades in May with continued rollouts taking place the rest of the year, while the 2Gbps fiber service starts rolling out in June. And just like that, there's another gigabit competitorin Google HQ's vicinity with Fiber nowhere in sight.

    [Image credit: Shutterstock]

    Filed under: Internet, HD


    Source: Comcast

  • Windows 10's phone maps help you find things to do

    To put it mildly, Windows Phone's official mapping options are... basic. However, Microsoft is promising a better experience with the mobile Maps app in Windows 10. Get a recent preview version of Windows 10 and you'll see a map interface that is not only decidedly more modern-looking, but ties in more closely with Bing and rolls in some Here Maps features. You'll get the usual photos, reviews and directions (including Here's in-car navigation), but you'll also have an easier time finding things to do. You can specify that you're looking for something to eat near your hotel, for instance, and book the table reservation on the spot. This upgrade probably won't get you to switch phone platforms, but it's a big deal if you're a Windows phone fan who'd like to get Microsoft's best mapping services in a single app.

    Filed under: Cellphones, Internet, Mobile, Microsoft


    Source: Blogging Windows

  • FCC vote clears the way for lower-cost mobile data

    Don't look now, but you may soon have more options for mobile internet access beyond the usual wireless carriers. The FCC has voted in favor of rules that not only make a wide 100MHz slice of 3.5GHz spectrum available for mobile data, but makes that data more accessible. Rather than simply parcel out the airwaves to the highest bidders (which are usually telecoms), the FCC has a "General Authorized Access" tier that lets any device use these frequencies, similar to WiFi's license-free scheme. The move would still let conventional carriers bolster their networks, but it also paves the way for cheap or free over-the-air broadband. Companies ranging from Google to Verizon are interested, so you should expect an eclectic mix of services once the devices are ready.

    The move should also help tackle temporary bandwidth crunches. The vote greenlights auctions for regional, short-term "priority" rights to part of the spectrum -- if a carrier expects its network to bog down for a short while, for example, it could buy some headroom. This doesn't mean that overcongested networks are a thing of the past, but your provider of choice could have a new way to mitigate those slowdowns.

    [Image credit: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images]

    Filed under: Cellphones, Wireless, Internet, Mobile


    Via: Multichannel News, Reuters

    Source: FCC

  • The world as a work of digital art

    As curious creatures, we attempt to understand the world around us in many ways and nowadays that usually boils down to big data visualization. Whether we're creating models of large-scale systems or breaking down reality into wireframes and exposing the digital bones beneath, the data-rich internet and open-source tools are helping people map and explore the world in new ways. People are leveraging technology to make their voices heard in political realms and using digital expression to bypass physical conflict. Indeed, in this digital age, the lines between life and art are becoming blurred. Don't believe us? Then explore the gallery below for just a few examples.

    Filed under: Misc, Science


  • Recommended Reading: The problem with Record Store Day
    Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.
    world record or releases from Metallica or Foo Fighters, celebrities are now just as much a part of the festivities, and distributors seem to be favoring bigger shops over smaller, local spots.



  • Tiny trackpad uses your thumbnail to navigate devices

    Several companies are working on eye-tracking tech as a way to navigate devices. A team of MIT researchers, however, have their eyes set on another body part: the thumbnail. Graduate students Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao and Artem Dementyev are developing a tiny trackpad that fits over your thumbnail. They're calling it NailO, and it was inspired by colorful nail stickers popular in Kao's native Taiwan and many other Asian countries. The duo envisions NailO to be used in situations where both your hands are occupied -- for instance, you can use it to scroll down a website page to check recipes while cooking. They also think it could be used to control other wearables, such as smart jewelry.

    Kao and Dementyev have already managed to build a prototype with swappable membranes on top, so you can change designs whenever you want. Like other inventors, though, they're working to improve the technology further. The duo recently found a supplier that makes batteries only half a millimeter thin and might incorporate those into the device. Plus, they're looking for a multi-purpose chip that works as a microcontroller, a radio and a capacitive sensor, all of which are needed for Nail-O to work properly. Since that won't happen anytime soon, make sure to watch the video below to see how the tiny thumbnail trackpad works.

    Filed under: Science


    Via: TechCrunch

    Source: MIT

  • If you want to chat on Steam, spend at least $5

    Earlier this week Valve introduced Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator as a means to keep its users safe from phishing attempts, and now it's taken another step in that direction. From here on out, until you spend a minimum $5 with your account certain features are blocked. What're you going to miss out on? Friend invites, opening group chat, the Steam discussion boards and voting on Greenlight games among other things. But, considering that most people use the service for, you know, buying and playing games, this really should only affect those who're actively using the service for nefarious purposes.
    Valve says that the easiest way to identify malicious users from folks who are genuinely using the service is comparing spending habits to account age. "Typically, the accounts being used for [phishing] have no investment in their longevity," Valve writes. So, if you're a typical Steam user you shouldn't notice a difference aside from a hopeful decrease in spam in your inbox.
    Filed under: Gaming, Home Entertainment, HD


    Source: Steam Support

  • Justice Department may try to block the Comcast / TWC merger

    It's been more than a year since Comcast announced its plan to buy fellow cable giant Time Warner Cable in a $45 billion deal, but it still hasn't received the blessings of various regulators. Now, word is leaking out from unnamed sources to consumer groups, politicians and executives from other companies have raised concerns over the last year that the combination would put too many customers, and too much of the nation's internet under one banner, despite a promise by Comcast to divest itself of some 3 million customers. Facing so much negative attention, Comcast is trying to improve customer service and reassure skeptics that it will be a friendly giant telecommunications company, but hasn't had much success convincing anyone that its plan will make cable TV better.
    The NYT report mentions that while Comcast could potentially negotiate potential conditions to place on the deal -- a key part of its NBCUniversal acquisition a few years ago -- that process hasn't started yet with the Justice Department or the FCC. Execs for both companies are still publicly confident the deal will go through, and fellow cable giant Charter has already made alternative acquisition plans. No one knows how long it may take for the various reviews to come to a conclusion, and even if the report recommends blocking the deal, it could be overruled by the division's senior officials. For now, we wait, but an update could come when TWC reports its quarterly earnings April 30th, or during Comcast's earnings report May 4th.
    Filed under: Home Entertainment, Internet, HD


    Source: New York Times, Bloomberg

  • Scientists want to blast space debris with frickin' lasers

    To combat the increasingly dense layer of dead satellites and miscellaneous space debris that are enshrouding our planet, no idea -- nets, lassos, even ballistic gas clouds -- seems too far-fetched to avoid. Now, an international team of researchers led by Japan's Riken research institute has put forward what may be the most ambitious plan to date. They propose blasting an estimated 3,000 tons of space junk out of orbit with a fiber optic laser mounted on the International Space Station.

    The plan is simple. The team first wants to adapt the EUSO's (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) existing infrared telescope to track chunks of space trash moving at very high speeds. Then they propose employing a fiber optic CAN laser, formerly used in powering particle accelerators, to fire upon the object until its orbit degrades and the junk burns up during reentry. The researchers estimate that the combined system could effectively hunt particles as small as a centimeter in diameter.

    The Riken team recently published its initial plan in the journal Science


    Via: Science Daily, Gizmag

    Source: Science Direct

  • Adaptalux is a modular lighting system for macro photography

    Every now and then, there are projects on Kickstarter designed for a niche group of people. Adaptalux is one of those: it's a modular, flexible and nearly pocket-sized lighting studio for macro photography and videography. The team behind Adaptalux claims that the system is capable of creating an infinite amount of illumination environments, thanks to an interchangeable design that users can customize based on their needs. For example, the Control Pod lets you choose the amount of light sources (up to five) and the color of them, as well as control the beam angle for each. And, much like the familiar gooseneck desk lamps, Adaptalux's lighting arms can be bent and twisted almost any way you want.

    Pledges that include an actual set start at 100 (roughly $150), with shipping expected to be in November -- but this is Kickstarter, after all, so we wouldn't bet on that date being 100 percent accurate. Still, let us know in the comments if you think this could be a useful addition to your photo/video gear.

    Filed under: Cameras, Misc, Peripherals


    Source: Adaptalux (Kickstarter)

  • MakerBot lays off one-fifth of its workforce
    MakerBot is perhaps the most well-known consumer 3D printer company on the market, having sold tens of thousands of Replicators since its start in 2009. It's a large part of why Stratasys, an industrial 3D printer and manufacturer, decided to acquire MakerBot in 2013. Two years after that merger, however, things don't seem quite so rosy. published a blog post confirming its recent round of layoffs and announced that it's also closed down three retail stores. The company states:

    "Today, we at MakerBot are re-organizing our business in order to focus on what matters most to our customers. As part of this, we have implemented expense reductions, downsized our staff and closed our three MakerBot retail locations. With these changes, we will focus our efforts on improving and iterating our products, growing our 3D ecosystem, shifting our retail focus to our national partners and expanding our efforts in the professional and education markets."

    [Image credit: Getty Images]

    Filed under: Misc


    Source: Motherboard

  • The slow, unsettling burn of Owl Cave's indie horror

    Owl Cave popped onto the indie scene in 2013 with a macabre, witty point-and-click adventure called Richard & Alice, which received a slew of rave reviews. Studio co-founder Nina White specializes in crafting vaguely horrific stories packed with tension, and her latest creation, now on Steam for PC, is a 2D side-scroller with a fixed camera. The train and its passengers are drawn mostly in muted sepia tones, a style pulled from a game that Owl Cave launched in September 2013, Sepulchre (it's one of the stories in the trilogy, in fact). The design of Charnel House feeds into White's writing, allowing her and artist Ivan Ulyanov to create living photographs punctuated with bits of discomfort.

    "Everything's normal, but then not quite normal.... One of the great things about the low-resolution pixel art style is that it further reinforces the abstraction and plays on the concept of the unknown, where some of our favorite horror resides," White says. "Then the portraits, far more detailed and realistic, portray these snapshots of each character in differing states of emotions."
    No matter who you are, you can get on board with us and be a part of something we're creating
    White enjoys toying with definitions, stretching them to their limits and bending them to new situations. Owl Cave, for example, consists of her and Ulyanov, but she doesn't have a solidified idea of what exactly their studio is. They work with a rotating stream of freelance game developers and a community of passionate, dedicated fans. Owl Cave is more than a strictly regulated studio, but less than a free-flowing hippie commune. It's more like a collective.

    "That's always something I've been really keen to do; work with a bunch of different people on an affordable, versatile level spanning multiple projects, but without any of us getting tied down or locked into one thing," White says. "So there's that, this sense of community, a fluid and hopefully welcoming atmosphere that says, 'Hey you, no matter who you are, you can get on board with us and be a part of something we're creating.'"

    Plus, White says, it's more affordable to run a studio this way. "But that's a boring answer. Just pretend like we're a mysterious secret society."

    Filed under: Gaming, HD


  • Japanese maglev train breaks its own world speed record
    world record set back in 2003. The train reportedly carried 29 engineers during its run. Unfortunately, the record is only expected to last until next Tuesday when JR Central hopes to spur the magnetically-propelled commuter train past 372 mph (600 kph).
    Also unfortunate is the fact that normal passengers will likely never be able to experience these exhilarating speeds -- unless something goes horribly wrong. The rail company plans to limit the trains to a pokey 313 mph for regular service when they come online in 2027. But even at these speeds, commuters could make it from Tokyo to Nagoya in about 40 minutes (less than half the time today's fastest bullet trains require). The company even has aspirations to export this technology to America -- specifically as a high-speed rail line running between New York City and Washington DC.
    Filed under: Transportation


    Via: Wall Street Journal

    Source: JR Central (Japanese)

  • Disney Research has a 3D printer that can sew bunnies for you

    3D printing has resulted in solid solutions like cartilages, organ replicas and even tortoise shells. But Disney Research now has a printer that can create soft, bendable objects - think 3D printing stuffed toys. The mechanics of the printer are similar to conventional machines that use plastics or metals, except this one works with fabric to create flexible and functional objects. Most additive 3D printers are designed to deposit materials in a specific spot, but fabric requires an alternative technique that imitates sewing or layering.

    The researchers came up with a two-step printing process suited to fabric. First, a laser beam cuts through a sheet to create 2D shapes. The process retains the fabric surrounding the designated shape so it's easier for the sheets to sit on top of each other in the next step. Every laser-cut sheet is then layered and fused together with a heat sensitive adhesive that's commonly used in sewing. When printing is complete, the excess fabric is peeled off to reveal the object. For now, the researchers printed a bright red bunny prototype that demonstrates the cuddly possibilities and also a touch sensor with conductive materials that could join the next generation of interactive devices.

    [Image credit: Disney Research]


    Source: Disney Research

  • Frederick's of Hollywood closes stores in shift to web-only sales
    Frederick's of Hollywood announced this week that it plans to close all of its physical shops and transition to an online-only business. The name might be synonymous with lingerie and other intimates shopping for some, having been around for decades, but Frederick's fell way behind the competition -- like Victoria's Secret and others. Moving from brick-and-mortar locations to just selling goods on the web is a move we've seen before, and it's becoming increasingly more common. However, not being able to benefit from curious foot traffic means a massive shift in marketing, which some experts believe was Frederick's problem in recent years.

    [Image credit: Steve Rhodes/Flickr]

    Filed under: Internet


    Source: Los Angeles Times

  • Cooking with Watson: Turkish Bruschetta with carrot pearls

    'Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson' is a collaboration between IBM and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Once a week, as part of an ongoing series, we'll be preparing one recipe from the book until we've made all of them. Wish us luck.

    Let's get a couple of things straight: Watson, the IBM supercomputer famous for spanking Ken Jennings on Jeopardy, did not really write these recipes in the purest sense of the word. Rather, IBM trained it by feeding it a giant database of recipes, studies on what flavors and smells people find pleasant and information on the chemical compounds found inside ingredients. Using this, Watson is able to suggest dishes with surprising flavor combinations. From there the computer passes the baton to a human being, in this case James Briscione and Michael Laiskonis from the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), who use the ingredient lists and style suggestions as inspiration for new dishes.

    Which brings me to the second point, some of the recipes in this book are complicated, require uncommon kitchen tools and call for hard-to-find ingredients. Cognitive Cooking is as much a showcase for Briscione's and Laiskonis' creativity as it is for the power of Watson. The book is meant to highlight how IBM's machine can enhance human creativity through the power of cognitive computing in general. It's a pitch to trained chefs and professionals across a number of fields, like medicine. It is not necessarily a reference guide for the casual home cook.

    But I won't let that stop me.

    The first recipe up is Turkish Bruschetta -- a pretty traditional antipasto preparation, but featuring flavors from the crossroads of Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East. It's definitely one of the less intimidating dishes in the book. Most of the ingredients aren't particularly hard to find. Cumin, oregano, basil, scallions... those are all pretty standard. And you can find Japanese eggplants in most Asian food stores or a high-end supermarket like Whole Foods.

    The two ingredients you probably won't find in your local mega mart: sumac and agar. Sumac is a spice popular in Middle Eastern cuisines that has a slightly tart flavor, while agar is a gelatin-like substance derived from algae. If you have a gourmet food or kitchen supply store nearby, you may find these ingredients. If not, there's always a wonderful thing called the internet.

    If Watson's goal is to "surprise" you with flavor combinations, then the Turkish Bruschetta might disappoint a little bit (don't worry, the book gets much weirder). There are three major components to the recipe: toasted bread, an eggplant puree and -- the one alarming bit -- "carrot pearls." The puree isn't too far from a baba ganoush. The Parmesan and oregano are slightly unexpected nods to the bruschetta's Italian roots and serve as stand-ins for the tahini and parsley you'd find in a traditional baba ganoush preparation. Basically you roast the eggplant; scoop out the flesh; season it with sumac, paprika and oregano; combine with the cheese, scallion and basil (oh, and of course salt); and process into a delicious paste. It was pretty quick and easy to make, even in the confines of my tiny NYC kitchen. It was the next part that introduced the trouble.

    So, let's talk about carrot pearls. Apparently the original version of this recipe called for shredded marinated carrot. And I would suggest that any home cooks attempting this recipe seriously consider going that route. But Briscione, known for his modernist techniques, added an extra element of surprise by using agar and carrot juice to create spiced "pearls" that sit on top of the eggplant puree.

    To create them you simmer the juice with cumin, sumac and salt. Then once the flavors are combined, you whisk in the agar, which acts like gelatin. The instructions then ask you to put this mixture in a squeeze bottle and slowly drip the spiced carrot juice into a bowl of vegetable oil over ice. I'd suggest actually putting the bowl of oil in the freezer for at least an hour beforehand, since what you're trying to do is quickly shock cool the carrot juice to form a thin skin around the bead and a bowl of ice might not be enough. The technique needed is kind of tricky to master, too. I created some nice-looking pearls, but I also ended up with an amorphous blob of orange jelly at the bottom of the bowl. If you happen to have a kitchen syringe, that might actually make a better tool for dispensing the drops of juice.

    I'll say this, the combination of cumin, sumac and carrots is not something you come across very often. It's plenty surprising on its own. There's no need to drive yourself nuts with "pearls."

    A few of my taste testers were a little taken aback by the texture of the carrot pearls, but the eggplant puree was an unmitigated success. After scraping the carrot pearls off, a few of my testers went back for seconds and thirds. (And I may have gone back in for fifths...) The final product was tasty, if a little odd. The vegetal sweetness of the carrot and eggplant, the earthiness of the cumin and the slightly sour punch of the sumac combine into something fairly unique. And for that, Watson deserves credit. The most surprising element of the recipe may come from the mind of a human being, but the pleasant and uncommon mix of flavors was generated completely by a computer.

    If you want to try the recipe yourself, you'll find it below. And we'll be back next week with a new installment.
    Turkish Bruschetta
    Eggplant Puree
    2.2 pounds Japanese eggplants
    1 bunch scallion, roots and green tops trimmed
    1 tablespoon sumac
    ½ teaspoon dry oregano
    2 teaspoons paprika
    1.5 ounces Parmesan cheese
    2 teaspoons sunflower oil
    1 tablespoon chiffonade basil
    2 teaspoons salt

    Char the eggplants on a flame until black on all sides, then roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until tender.
    Cook the scallions on a grill until charred on all sides.
    Split the eggplants, and scoop the flesh out of the eggplant with a spoon, keeping only a little bit of charred skin. You should have about one pound of flesh. Add the sumac, dry oregano, paprika and Parmesan.
    Saut in oil over very high heat for one minute, stirring constantly, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil and salt. Blend until smooth.

    Carrot Pearls
    2 cups carrot juice
    2 teaspoons cumin
    1 tablespoon sumac
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 ½ teaspoons agar
    Bowl of vegetable oil, set over ice

    Combine the carrot juice, cumin, sumac and salt in a pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook two to three minutes to develop the flavors. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Strain the carrot juice into a clean pot.
    Whisk in the agar until dissolved and return the pot to heat. Cook, stirring gently with a spatula, until the mixture comes to a simmer.
    Remove the pot from heat and continue stirring until cooled slightly. Transfer the mixture to a squeeze bottle and slowly drip the carrot juice into the ice-cold oil to form pearls. When they are all formed, drain the pearls from the oil and rinse in cold water.

    To Serve
    24 thin slices of baguette
    Sunflower oil, as needed
    Drizzle sunflower oil over the bread and toast until crispy.
    Spread the eggplant puree on the bread slices, then finish with the carrot pearls.

    Recipe from Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson reprinted courtesy of IBM, the Institute for Culinary Education and Sourcebooks

    Filed under: Household


  • Chrome OS gets a new launcher and more Material Design

    Early adopters have had access to a redesigned Chrome OS launcher since last month. Now, Google is making that feature available to all users of its web-based operating system. Today's fresh, stable update to Chrome OS also comes packed with a number of Material Design elements, bringing a new look to the Files app and the default typeface. Just as well, there's an updated calculator app, support for password-protected zip files -- plus, of course, the customary bug fixes and security revisions. So expect to see changes the next time you boot up your Chrome OS machine, some visible, others not so much. Either way, rest assured they are for the better, especially the Google Now-equipped Chrome Launcher 2.0.

    Filed under: Desktops, Laptops, Software, Google


    Source: Google

  • Jay Z is calling Tidal users to personally thank them for signing up
    Tidal's music streaming service to personally thank them. It sounds odd, but the company confirmed to us "that's 1000% true." He's not the only one, though, as Tidal executive Vania Schloge Jack White and others are calling subscribers, too. Using one of the services' features, artists can log in and see exactly who is listening to their music alongside contact info for those people. It's certainly a personal approach, but one can wonder if that star-packed relaunch didn't provide the boost in new subscriptions the company hoped. The company also announced today that it replaced CEO Andy Chen with Peter Tonstad, who was in charge before Mr. Carter & Co. took ownership. Of course, being a part owner of the project is certainly motivation to get more involved. I just wonder if Jay Z used a video phone.

    [Image credit: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images]

    Filed under: Internet, Software


    Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg

  • OptiShot2 is a fun golf sim that also improves your game

    If you have creeping doubts about your golf game, there's a $500 sim that lets you swing real clubs in your house. Yep, your pets and furniture will need to make way for the OptiShot2, which gives you online play, simulated championship courses and instant practice feedback. You hook it up to a Mac or PC, download the software and swing away. The infrared sensors accurately track your swing while the simulated courses and online competition add a gaming-like fun factor. But $500 is a lot of money for a video game and sensor, so I want more than just fun; I also want to get better. Luckily, the OptiShot delivers both of those things.

    If you can't golf, you're going to suck at OptiShot's sim. That's because you take full-blooded hacks at a ball with a real driver, iron or putter, and not a gamepad or mouse as with, say, high-end PC, with all the realism settings cranked. The graphics aren't quite as good as World Golf Tour or other top-notch golf games, but they're definitely good enough, and anyway, it's not meant to be a video game per se. Rather, it makes boring practice more entertaining by making you care about each swing -- if you fluff a shot, you'll get beat by an online rival or shoot a bad score.

    To kick things off, you install the OptiShot2 software on your PC or Mac, download the courses and plug in the hardware. The company recommends a minimum 8.5-foot-high ceiling, though you may need more than that -- if you're tall and want to swing a driver, a 10-foot or higher ceiling might be required. You can optionally calibrate your clubs and tell the system's auto-caddy which one to hand you for a given distance. To pretend you're Bubba Watson, you can cheat the settings so that the ball flies much farther than it would in real life.

    Once you take a hack with or without a ball, its digital counterpart will accurately slice into the rough or power down the fairway. You can fine-tune the settings for more wind, higher rough difficulty or faster greens, to name a few options. From there, just play the course as you would in real life, hitting drivers, irons, chips and putts.

    The system does a good job of measuring your swing, with a few exceptions. I compared it against a Zepp swing analyzer, and it matched the swing speed and clubface angle closely. As with the Zepp, I was hitting drives about 250-260 yards, and deserved any slices or hooks it gave me. That feedback forced me to make the necessary adjustments to avoid spraying the ball all over the digital links. When I did go to play on a real course, I found that extra concentration helpful -- on a driving range, it's too easy to just turn your brain off, since there's nothing to play for.

    The OptiShot2 picks up center, toe or heel contact, but not "fat" or thin shots. That's because it can't measure the height of your club above the sensor, so a real-life "topped" shot might look just fine on the sim. It also means chipping isn't very realistic, as face contact is critical on such shots. The simulated putting was reasonably accurate, however, according to a comparison I made with the 3Bays GSA Putt. In any case, the OptiShot2 can't help your putting or chipping much -- those two disciplines have to be practiced on a real green. Having them work consistently makes the game more fun, though, especially with head-to-head play.

    If you want a more realistic playing experience, it's doable -- for a price. A sum of $300 will get you an octagonal mat, raising your feet slightly and giving them more grip than, say, your hardwood floor. There's also a $110 hitting net that you can bang real golf balls into for extra feel (and danger), along with plastic tees and foam balls.

    You can set up online games and invite up to four friends for stroke or match play (offline games are also possible). This is just as amusing as it sounds, although you're trusting your pals not to fudge the settings. You can play on 15 included courses, or buy extra "Platinum" tracks at $30 bucks a pop. Amusingly, the company added a course called "Sweet Magnolia," a course strikingly similar to The Masters' Augusta National layout. In fact, many of the courses are facsimiles of real-life championship layouts with the names changed, possibly for copyright reasons.

    On my first simulated OptiShot2 game I failed to break 100 and I'm a 14-handicap, so that was embarrassing. But that's just the point: By accurately tracking your swing, the system forces you to bear down and play better. After shaking off a bit of rust and grooving a better motion, things started looking up and after about 15 games, I shot a 75 at "Sweet Magnolia."

    Then came the acid test: a real golf course. I played my first real round of the year and lo, I actually scored decently. So, the OptiShot succeeds on two counts for me -- it's super fun, and it helped my full swing by forcing me to practice better. It can't help your short game much, but the chipping and putting simulations are good enough to keep it fun. My only reservation is the price: a full setup, including the octagonal mat, net and a few courses runs nearly $1,000, the same price as a membership at my local club. But if you're a golf nut with means, it'll give you a fun way to practice so that when you hit the links for real, you'll be ready.

    Filed under: Gaming, Peripherals


  • The first look at 'Star Wars Battlefront,' a familiar multiplayer feast

    With a new film on the horizon, there's a wave of excitement attached to the Star Wars franchise that hasn't been felt since the months leading up to the release of Episode I. Part of Disney's new plan for the $4 billion series includes a slate of new video game experiences over the course of a 10-year partnership with Electronic Arts.

    At Star Wars Celebration, the 10th official convention focused on the iconic property, EA's DICE studio showcased the first game in its decade-long plan: Xbox One and PS4.

    Powered by EA's Frostbite engine, Star Wars: Battlefront brings large-scale, multiplayer-focused battles back to gamers for the first time since the series disappeared after Star Wars: Battlefront 2 launched in 2005.

    The Star Wars Celebration-exclusive sneak peek of in-game Battlefront action begins on familiar land. The war-torn forests of Endor appear peaceful before a trio of speeders rips through the landscape. More stormtroopers emerge and the Rebel soldier we're following begins to fire. A ripple of familiarity shoots through my spine: The combination of the game's look and sound, even in its pre-alpha state with footage captured from a gameplay session on PlayStation 4, is authentically Star Wars.

    To create a consistent look, Star Wars: Battlefront models have been developed with the use of a technique called Photogrammetry, recreating the actual models from the film franchise. With unprecedented access to the Lucasfilm archive, DICE was able to assemble digital facsimiles of original props for in-game models, rather than render replicas.

    "When you pick up a lightsaber, or hop into a vehicle, you are picking up the lightsaber. It's the actual X-Wing you're [flying]," Battlefront Design Director Niklas Fegraeus says.

    "We've seen attempts at this before, but they have never felt really like the movies," DICE Stockholm GM, Patrick Bach, tells Engadget. "That's the challenge we had and the relationship with Lucasfilm on actually re-creating the events that you saw in the movies -- scanning the elements of the movie and getting that into your virtual world."

    "Who doesn't want to get onto Hoth and experience that fight?" Bach asks.

    The soldiers on Endor continue their defense, thinning the lines of Imperial troopers, but an All Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST) appears through the trees and cuts celebrations short. The AT-ST tears up the Rebel Alliance until a soldier boosts into the air with a jetpack and fires a missile at its head, destroying it.

    Though authenticity is key for DICE, as both developers and fans of the film franchise, the team says there's one crucial ingredient required: fun.

    "[Fun] is the very essence of Star Wars," Fegraeus says; a world of epic battles, good versus evil, heroes and imagination. Fun also means lighthearted, which Bach says helps drive the direction of a battle's effect on the environment. While DICE games are better known for colossal destruction, Star Wars requires a softer touch.

    "Star Wars, as an [intellectual property], is shaping what we're doing. So we won't do excessive destruction just because we can. It's more about 'what do you need and what you want' in a Battlefield game versus a Battlefront game," Bach says, adding that environmental anarchy in Battlefront wouldn't be authentic to the franchise's sensibility.

    There still exists a sense of dread in Battlefront, however. The crunching sound of an All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT) Walker approaching sends our Rebel soldier and allies rushing toward cover. The thunderous sound of its four powerful, metal legs entering combat is immediately recognizable. There's a reason for that, Fegraeus admits, the sounds featured in Battlefront come directly from the archives at Lucasfilm. There's a sense of strategy with all that you hear. Closing my eyes, I can identify the weapons and enemies that litter the battlefield. That immediate familiarity with what is on the horizon is unique to a series like Star Wars. A blaster is unique from a saber; an AT-ST and AT-AT sound different; a speeder in the distance is immediately identified thanks to its audible signature.

    DICE takes things further with Battlefront being the first game to feature Dolby ATMOS support, technology that simulates audio within a 3D space for a more detailed aural experience. (ATMOS support was only announced for PC.)

    Making the experience unique is important, Fegraeus says, and players will be able to customize gear, weapons and abilities. They can customize their gameplay style, playing in franchise-classic third-person mode or in first-person and switching on the fly. In addition to a progression system DICE isn't revealing yet, players can uncover special power-ups by exploring the world, giving teams access to special vehicles, such as X-Wings and Walkers; or abilities, like shields or massive explosives and more.

    While DICE says Star Wars: Battlefront is a multiplayer experience "first and foremost," the game will feature content for offline fans. Star Wars: Battlefront Missions is a series of crafted challenges inspired by the films and available for solo play, or in local and online co-op.

    DICE wants players to focus on creating an experience that is fun to share with friends. Battlefront's Partner feature is core to this idea: Once a friend is invited to be a partner, you become a tag team that plays together, spawns together and can even share unlocks with each other. Have a friend lagging behind in progression? This feature helps bring you closer.

    Back on Endor, our Rebel escapes into an underground bunker with a friend. The halls are quiet as the pair explores the structure until our Rebel's ally is captured within the clutches of a Force Choke and thrown against a wall. Our Rebel Soldier swings his blaster around the corner and opens fire. The menacing Darth Vader swipes away blaster fire with ease, his imposing figure inching toward the Rebel before taking a fierce swipe of his saber at our tour guide, ending the demo.

    Iconic franchise characters like Vader will make an appearance throughout battle, available for players to uncover as special power-ups. While Bach wasn't prepared to disclose exactly how character power-ups work, he was willing to share what DICE wants to avoid.

    "The goal is, of course, to avoid exactly those situations where you race to a point and do bad things because you're greedy," Bach says, referring to the rush often seen in games of Battlefield as every soldier races toward vehicles or waits for them to spawn within the world. "We're trying to design around behavior like that."

    Disney's investment may well be tested prior to the film's December 18th, 2015, release, with Star Wars: Battlefront launching for PC, Xbox One and PS4 on November 17th. Linking the upcoming game to what could arguably be the most anticipated movie of the year is free downloadable content. The Battle of Jakku, a key location from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will premiere in Star Wars: Battlefront on December 8th. Pre-ordering the game will give players early access to the content, on December 1.

    EA's partnership with Lucasfilm is "not a normal licensing relationship," Lucasfilm VP of Digital Business Ada Duan promises. The hope, according to Fegraeus, is it will lead to "the best Star Wars games ever." At the very least, it's another element to one of the most exciting years in recent franchise history.

    Filed under: Gaming, HD


  • Ex-microsoft designer explains the move away from Metro design
    Windows Phone fans pining for the days of Metro panoramas and integrated experiences have had a tough couple of years, with Microsoft steadily removing many of the platform's user experience differentiators. But as I've argued, there's reason behind this madness. And now an ex-Microsoft design lead who actually worked on Windows Phone has gone public and agreed with this assessment. You may have loved Windows Phone and Metro, but it had to change.  A different theory for Microsoft moving Windows Phone closer to Android's UI design, from former Windows Phone executive Charlie Kindel (who now works at Amazon).

  • GNU Hurd 0.6 released
    It has been roughly a year and a half since the last release of the GNU Hurd operating system, so it may be of interest to some readers that GNU Hurd 0.6 has been released, along with GNU Mach 1.5 (the microkernel that Hurd runs on), and GNU MIG 1.5 (the Mach Interface Generator, which generates code to handle remote procedure calls). New features include procfs and random translators, cleanups and stylistic fixes, some of which came from static analysis, message dispatching improvements; integer hashing performance improvements, a split of the init server into a startup server and an init program based on System V init, and more.

  • Sailfish OS 1.1.4 released for early access
    The next Sailfish OS version has been released for early access users. It's got a few very welcome changes - first and foremost, IMAP idle/push support, meaning emails will now arrive as the arrive, instead of on a schedule. There's also a new split landscape keyboard, and some gesture feedback has been added. In addition, there's a bunch of security updates, improvements to Android application support, and more.  Assuming no big issues arise from the early access release, it'll be pushed to regular users.

  • Cyanogen will bundle Microsoft apps
    Rumors of a Microsoft and Cyanogen partnership have been making the rounds recently, and the Android mod maker is confirming them today. In an email to The Verge, Cyanogen says it's partnering with Microsoft to integrate the software giant€™s consumer apps and services into the Cyanogen OS. Bing, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office will all be bundled later this year. As part of the partnership, Microsoft has committed to creating "native integrations" on Cyanogen OS.  "Taking Android away from Google" to give it to Microsoft. Will these people never learn?  Cyanogen just signed its own death warrant with this. I knew Cyanogen would be going down the drain the moment they started courting venture capitalists.

  • OS X reviewed
    Nearly 15 years ago, I wrote my first review of Mac OS X for a nascent €œPC enthusiast's" website called Ars Technica. Nearly 15 years later, I wrote my last. Though Apple will presumably announce the next major version of OS X at WWDC this coming June, I won't be reviewing it for Ars Technica or any other publication, including the website you're reading now.  The best software reviewer in the business calls it quits.

  • Europe opens antitrust investigation into Android
    Aside from the investigation into Google's search business, the EU is also investigating Android.  The European Commission has been examining Google€™s Android operating system for nearly three years, and it is now ready to launch a formal investigation into claims of unfair app bundling. Google services and apps like Maps, Chrome, and YouTube are often bundled with Android devices, and competitors have complained that it€™s giving Google an unfair advantage. Regulators previously questioned telecom companies and phone manufacturers, to see whether Google forces them to bundle apps or services at the expense of competitors.  I'm glad they're investigating this, if only to finally get all these secret agreements between Google and OEMs (and carriers!) out in the open. In fact, with mobile communications having become such a crucial utility in our society, I think all agreements related to the interplay between carrier, OEM, and software maker should be out in the open, ready to face public scrutiny. As consumers of this vitally important utility, we have a right to know what kind of shady stuff is going on between the T-Mobiles, Vodafones, Googles, Apples, and Samsungs of this world.

  • Nokia to acquire Alcatel-Lucent
    Nokia - the actual Nokia back in Finland, not the failing smartphone part Microsoft was forced to buy to save Windows Phone - has decided to acquire Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion. Combined, that's a lot of mobile IP in one place.  The combined company will have unparalleled innovation capabilities, with Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs and Nokia's FutureWorks, as well as Nokia Technologies, which will stay as a separate entity with a clear focus on licensing and the incubation of new technologies.  Another interesting tidbit: Nokia is not allowed to make smartphones for a while, but Alcatel-Lucent does make smartphones. On top of that - Alcatel-Lucent... Owns Palm.

  • Linux kernel 4.0 released
    Feature-wise, 4.0 doesn't have all that much special. Much have been made of the new kernel patching infrastructure, but realistically, that not only wasn't the reason for the version number change, we've had much bigger changes in other versions. So this is very much a "solid code progress" release.  Despite the version number, not a big deal.

  • Europe to accuse Google of illegally abusing its dominance
    Google will on Wednesday be accused by Brussels of illegally abusing its dominance of the internet search market in Europe, a step that ultimately could force it to change its business model fundamentally and pay hefty fines.  Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, is to say that the US group will soon be served with a formal charge sheet alleging that it breached antitrust rules by diverting traffic from rivals to favour its own services, according to two people familiar with the case.  Could be a huge blow to Google - but at the pace the EU moves, this will take forever.

  • The wireless and cable industries sue to kill US net neutrality
    The FCC officially published its new net neutrality rules to the Federal Register yesterday, opening the door to legal challenges. Opponents wasted no time. CTIA, the trade association that has represented the wireless industry since 1984, filed a lawsuit with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals today. In a blog post, the group wrote that it intends to push back against "the FCC€™s decision to impose sweeping new net neutrality rules and reclassifying mobile broadband as a common carrier utility." The National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the American Cable Association also filed suits along similar grounds.  The blatant and rampant corruption in the US cable/internet/etc. market has been going on long enough. The US' internet is barely better than that of a 3rd world country, and these despicable companies are to blame.

  • Hyperion was never bankrupt: clarification of current situation
    Contrary to some news items posted on certain websites, Hyperion Entertainment CVBA is not in a state of bankruptcy. Due to an unfortunate set of cirucmstances, the company was temporally listed as "bankrupt" despite the fact that the conditions for bankruptcy were never met and that in the eyes of the law, the company was never bankrupt.  Development of AmigaOS 4 (which recently culminated in the release of AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition) is and has been ongoing albeit that some resources had to be directed away to support the upcoming hardware of A-EON Technology.  Good to have this mishap cleared up.

  • Apple releases ResearchKit
    Apple today announced ResearchKit, a software framework designed for medical and health research that helps doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using mobile devices, is now available to researchers and developers. The first research apps developed using ResearchKit study asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson€™s disease, and have enrolled over 60,000 iPhone users in just the first few weeks of being available on the App Store. Starting today, medical researchers all over the world will be able to use ResearchKit to develop their own apps and developers can also contribute new research modules to the open source framework.  It's on github.

  • Windows 10 build 10056: everything you need to know
    Microsoft has been keeping its promise on releasing more frequent builds of Windows 10, but this is not stopping private versions to leak onto the web. Windows 10 build 10056 was just spotted outside the walls of Redmond, and it shows significant cosmetic changes and various improvements coming to the operating system.  Whether you like the changes or not - I personally do - it's interesting to see Windows 10 evolve this openly.

  • Introduction to the Android graphics pipeline
    To fully understand the Android rendering optimizations and pipeline a low-level understanding of GPUs graphics pipeline is necessary. Because no vendor is very specific about the internals of their GPU architecture, one has to sift through marketing presentations, blog posts and white papers to find the relevant pieces of information. Therefore, most of the information presented here is to be considered a simplification of what the hardware actually does.  A very detailed look at Android's graphics pipeline.

  • Inconvenient truths about the Apple Watch
    When Apple first showed off the Apple Watch, I was stunned. It looked glorious and larger than life. Shiny and precision-machined. Like an object from the future that time-traveled back to the present just to blow everyone away.  This past Friday, the first day that the public was allowed to handle and play with the Apple Watch, everyone who had been obsessing over videos and photographs finally got the chance to use one firsthand. I made it to the Apple Store on Friday and was one of those people.  I came away underwhelmed and a little disheartened.  It's almost as if carefully orchestrated press events attended by nothing but employees and hand-picked, pre-approved press outlets, as well as fake renders on a company website, are not a good way to gauge a new product.

  • Play for Me, Jarvis
    Elon Musk is known to be particularly apprehensive about artificial intelligence. Although many of us are both excited and worried about the potential future of AI, most don't need to fear computers taking over in the creative realms of society.

    Or do we? 

  • Non-Linux FOSS: .NET?
    No, really! While on a normal day, the word "Microsoft" can be used as an antonym for "Open", the world of .NET seems to be going legitimately open source.

  • JavaScript All the Way Down
    There is a well known story about a scientist who gave a talk about the Earth and its place in the solar system.

  • Designing Foils with XFLR5
    For any object moving through a fluid, forces are applied to the object as the fluid moves around it. A fluid can be something like water, or even something like the air around us. When the object is specifically designed to maximize the forces that the fluid can apply, you can designate these designs as airfoils. A more common name that most people would use is a wing.

  • diff -u: What's New in Kernel Development
    Recently there was some discussion about ways to ease the tired backs of kernel maintainers. Apparently the merge windows are times of great labor, and some folks wanted to alert contributors to some preferable code submission habits. 

  • Here, Have Some Money...
    I love Bitcoin. It's not a secret; I've written about Bitcoin mining and cryptocurrency in the past. I'm the first to admit, however, that we're at the very beginning of the cryptocurrency age.

  • Consent That Goes Both Ways
    Whatever your opinions about Do Not Track, set them aside for a minute and just look at what the words say and who says them.  Individuals—the people we call "users" (you know, like with drugs)—are the ones saying it. In grammatical terms, "do not track" is spoken in the first person.

  • New GeekGuide: Beyond Cron
        How to Know When You've Outgrown Cron Scheduling--and What to Do Next
    If you've spent any time around UNIX, you've no doubt learned to use and appreciate cron, the ubiquitous job scheduler that comes with almost every version of UNIX that exists. Cron is simple and easy to use, and most important, it just works.

  • Not So Dynamic Updates
    Typically when a network is under my control, I like my servers to have static IPs. Whether the IPs are truly static (hard-coded into network configuration files on the host) or whether I configure a DHCP server to make static assignments, it's far more convenient when you know a server always will have the same IP.

  • New Products
    Please send information about releases of Linux-related products to or New Products c/o Linux Journal, PO Box 980985, Houston, TX 77098. Submissions are edited for length and content.   

  • Flexible Access Control with Squid Proxy
    Large enterprises and nuclear laboratories aren't the only organizations that need an Internet access policy and a means of enforcing it. My household has an Internet access policy, and the technique I've used to enforce it is applicable to almost any organization. In our case, I'm not too concerned about outside security threats.

  • Extended File Attributes Rock!
    Worldwide, data is growing at a tremendous rate. However, one recent study has pointed out that the size of files is not necessarily growing at the same rate; meaning the number of files is growing rapidly. How do we manage all of this data and files? While the answer to that question is complex, one place we can start is with Extended File Attributes. Continue reading

  • Checksumming Files to Find Bit-Rot
    In a previous article extended file attributes were presented. These are additional bits of metadata that are tied to the file and can be used in a variety of ways. One of these ways is to add checksums to the file so that corrupted data can be detected. Let's take a look at how we can do this including some simple Python examples. Continue reading

  • What’s an inode?
    As you might have noticed, we love talking about file systems. In these discussions the term "inode" is often thrown about. But what is an inode and how does it relate to a file system? Glad you asked. Continue reading

  • Emailing HPC
    Email is not unlike MPI. The similarities may help non-geeks understand parallel computers a little better. Continue reading

  • iotop: Per Process I/O Usage
    Based on a reader comment, we take iotop for a spin to see if it can be used for monitoring the IO usage of individual processes on a system. The result? It has some interesting capability that we haven't found in other tools. Continue reading

  • SandForce 1222 SSD Testing, Part 3: Detailed Throughput Analysis
    Our last two articles have presented an initial performance examination of a consumer SandForce based SSD from a throughput and IOPS perspective. In this article we dive deeper into the throughput performance of the drive, along with a comparison to an Intel X-25E SSD. I think you will be surprised at what is discovered. Continue reading

  • Putting Drupal to Work
    Drupal is a simple but powerful CMS. However, you'll probably want to configure it. Learn how to tweak Drupal's settings to your liking. Continue reading

  • SandForce 1222 SSD Testing – Part 2: Initial IOPS Results
    SandForce has developed a very interesting and unique SSD controller that uses real-time data compression. This affects data throughput and SSD longevity. In this article, we perform an initial examination of the IOPS performance of a SandForce 1222-based SSD. The results can be pretty amazing. Continue reading

  • Drupal at Warp Speed
    Need to setup Drupal CMS but don't have the time to learn how? Try this 30 minute quick start guide. Continue reading

  • Chasing The Number
    The Top500 list is a valuable measure of HPC progress, but the race it has spawned maybe over for many organizations Continue reading

  • Stick a Fork in Flock: Why it Failed
    This probably won't come as a surprise to many, but the "social Web browser" has thrown in the towel. Don't cry for the Flock team - they're flying the coop for Zynga to go make Facebook games or something. But Flock's loyal fans are out in the cold. Why'd Flock fail? There's a few lessons to be learned. Continue reading

Page last modified on October 08, 2013, at 02:08 PM