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- [$] Supporting shared TLB contexts
A processor's translation lookaside buffer (TLB) caches the mappings fromvirtual to physical addresses. Looking up virtual addresses is expensive,so good performance often depends on making the best use of the TLB. Inthe memory-management track of the 2017 Linux Storage, Filesystem, andMemory-Management Summit, Mike Kravetz described a SPARC processor featurethat can improve TLB performance and explored ways in which that featurecould be supported.
- Kubernetes 1.6 released
Version1.6 of the Kubernetes orchestration system is available. "Inthis release the community’s focus is on scale and automation, to help youdeploy multiple workloads to multiple users on a cluster. We are announcingthat 5,000 node clusters are supported. We moved dynamic storageprovisioning to stable. Role-based access control (RBAC), kubefed, kubeadm,and several scheduling features are moving to beta. We have also addedintelligent defaults throughout to enable greater automation out of thebox."
- Google's new open-source site
Google has announcedthe launch of opensource.google.com. "Today, we’re launching opensource.google.com, a new website for Google Open Source that ties together all of our initiatives with information on how we use, release, and support open source.This new site showcases the breadth and depth of our love for open source. It will contain the expected things: our programs, organizations we support, and a comprehensive list of open source projects we've released. But it also contains something unexpected: a look under the hood at how we "do" open source."
- [$] Huge pages in the ext4 filesystem
When the transparent huge page feature was added to the kernel, it onlysupported anonymous (non-file-backed) memory. In 2016, support for huge pages in the page cache wasadded, but only the tmpfs filesystem was supported. There is interest inexpanding support to other filesystems, since, for some workloads, theperformance improvement can be significant. Kirill Shutemov led the onlysession that combined just the filesystem and memory-management tracks atthe 2017 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit in adiscussion of adding huge-page support to the ext4 filesystem.
- Security updates for Tuesday
Security updates have been issued by Debian (eject, gst-plugins-bad1.0, gst-plugins-base1.0, gst-plugins-good1.0, gst-plugins-ugly1.0, gstreamer1.0, php5, and tiff), Fedora (kernel), Gentoo (curl, deluge, libtasn1, and xen-tools), Mageia (mbedtls, putty, and roundcubemail), openSUSE (dbus-1, gegl, mxml, open-vm-tools, partclone, qbittorrent, tcpreplay, and xtrabackup), and Ubuntu (eject, gst-plugins-base0.10, gst-plugins-base1.0, and gst-plugins-good0.10, gst-plugins-good1.0).
- [$] The future of DAX
DAX is the mechanism that enables direct access to files stored inpersistent memory arrays without the need to copy the data through the pagecache. At the 2017 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-ManagementSummit, Ross Zwisler led a plenary session on the future of DAX. Development inthis area offers a number of interesting trade-offs between data safety andenabling the highest performance.
- DragonFly BSD 4.8
DragonFly BSD 4.8 has been released. "DragonFlyversion 4.8 brings EFI boot support in the installer, further speedimprovements in the kernel, a new NVMe driver, a new eMMC driver, and Intelvideo driver updates." DragonFly is an independent BSD variant,perhaps best known for the HAMMER filesystem.
- SecureDrop and Alexandre Oliva are 2016 Free Software Awards winners
The Free Software Foundation has announcedthe winners of the 2016 Free Software Awards. The Award for Projectsof Social Benefit went to SecureDropand the Award for the Advancement of Free Software went to Alexandre Oliva. "SecureDrop is an anonymous whistleblowing platform used by major news organizations and maintained by Freedom of the Press Foundation. Originally written by the late Aaron Swartz with assistance from Kevin Poulsen and James Dolan, the free software platform was designed to facilitate private and anonymous conversations and secure document transfer between journalists and sensitive sources."
- Stable kernel updates
Stable kernels 4.10.6, 4.9.18, and 4.4.57 have been released. All of themcontain important fixes and users should upgrade.
- Security updates for Monday
Security updates have been issued by Debian (apt-cacher, jbig2dec, libplist, python3.2, tnef, and xrdp), Fedora (firefox, mbedtls, and sane-backends), Mageia (flash-player-plugin, freetype2, glibc, kernel, kernel-linus, kernel-tmb, libquicktime, libwmf, and tnef), and Ubuntu (thunderbird).
- Kernel prepatch 4.11-rc4
The 4.11-rc4 kernel prepatch is out fortesting. "So on the whole things look fine. There's changes allover, and in mostly the usual proportions. Some core kernel code shows upin the diffstat slightly more than it usually does - we had an audit fixand a bpf hashmap fix, but on the whole it all looks very regular."
- [$] Sharing pages between mappings
In the memory-management subsystem, the term "mapping" refers to theconnection between pages in memory and their backing store — the file thatrepresents them on disk. One of the fundamental assumptions in thekernel is that a given page in the page cache belongs to exactly one mapping.But, as Miklos Szeredi explained in a plenary session at the 2017 LinuxStorage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit, there are situationswhere it would be desirable to associate the same page with multiplemappings. Achieving this goal may not be easy, though.
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- Eudyptula Challenge Status report
The Eudyptula Challenge is aseries of programming exercises for the Linux kernel. It starts from avery basic "Hello world" kernel module, moves up in complexity to gettingpatches accepted into the main kernel. The challengewill be closed to new participants in a few months, when 20,000 people havesigned up. LWN covered the Eudyptula Challenge in May 2014,when it was fairly new. At this time over 19,000 people have signed up andonly 149 have finished.
- Security updates for Friday
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (libpurple), Debian (audiofile, cgiemail, and imagemagick), Fedora (cloud-init, empathy, and mupdf), Mageia (firefox and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (icoutils and openjpeg), Slackware (mcabber and samba), and Ubuntu (eglibc).
- Relicensing OpenSSL
Back in 2015, the OpenSSL project announced itsintent to move away from its rather quirky license. Now it has announcedthat thechange is moving forward. "After careful review, consultationwith other projects, and input from the Core Infrastructure Initiative andlegal counsel from the SFLC, the OpenSSL team decided to relicense the codeunder the widely-used ASLv2." It is worth noting that this changeand the way it is being pursued are not universally popular, in the OpenBSD camp, at least.
- smbclient Security for Windows Printing and File Transfer
Microsoft Windows is usually a presence in most computing environments, and UNIXadministrators likely will be forced to use resources in Windows networks fromtime to time. Although many are familiar with the Samba server software, the matchingsmbclient utility often escapes notice.
- What Is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is open source software for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. The project is governed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which is hosted by The Linux Foundation. And it’s quickly becoming the Linux of the cloud, says Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation.
- How to use a ramdisk on Linux
There may be instances where you need to include the fastest possible storage you can find on a server. In some cases, the best route to that is by making use of a ramdisk. Effectively, a ramdisk takes a portion of your system memory and uses it as a disk drive. This method of storage is considerably faster than standard hard disk storage, so it is a great tool for when you need blistering speed on a specific app.
- 14 ways being a runner is like working in tech
I started running more than a decade after I started working in tech, but I quickly saw similarities between the two activities that take up most my time. I know—and have run with—many people in tech who also happen to be runners, but I suspect my observations work well for other fields, too. I've rounded up a list of ways being a runner is like working in tech.read more
- Raspberry Pi based computer offers Real-Time Ethernet
Hilscher is prepping a rugged “netPI” computer that combines a Raspberry Pi 3 with its “netHAT 52-RTE” RPi add-on featuring dual Real-Time Ethernet ports. German Real-Time Ethernet experts Hilscher will soon launch a Raspberry Pi 3-based industrial computer with Real-Time Ethernet support. Hilscher has yet to formally announce the ruggedized netPI computer, but the board […]
- How to build a smog sensor with a ESP8266 microcontroller
Stuttgart, Germany has, like many other cities, a smog problem—even if it may be less severe than in other cities. The European Union has defined a threshold of on average 50 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter in a 24-hour window of air to be allowed for a maximum of 35 days a year. For the last few years, actual values have been much higher for more than 35 days. There are governmental stations that measure the air pollution, but they can’t be everywhere for obvious reasons.read more
- Linux Commands - Overview and Examples
The command line is one of the most powerful features of Linux. There exists a sea of Linux command line tools, allowing you to do almost everything you can think of doing on your Linux PC. However, this usually creates a problem: with so many commands available to use, you don't know where and how to start learning them, especially when you are beginner.
- Slaying Monoliths at Netflix with Node.js
The growing number of Netflix subscribers -- nearing 85 million at the time of this Node.js Interactive talk -- has generated a number of scaling challenges for the company. In his talk, Yunong Xiao, Principal Software Engineer at Netflix, describes these challenges and explains how the company went from delivering content to a global audience on an ever-growing number of platforms, to supporting all modern browsers, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and beyond. He also looks at how this led to radically modifying their delivery framework to make it more flexible and resilient.
- Grasp R Programming with Open-Source Books
The R language (and open-source software) is the de facto standard among statisticians for the development of statistical software, and is widely used for statistical software development and data analysis. R is a modern implementation of S, one of several statistical programming languages designed at Bell Laboratories.
- Linux Action Show ends after 10-year run
With Jupiter Broadcasting’s announcement that it is shutting down the Linux Action Show podcast, Bryan Lunduke, who co-created the show, looks back at its origin and its impact.
- FreeRTOS-based remote I/O module links to IBM Bluemix and Watson IoT
Artila’s “RIO-2010BM” remote digital I/O device runs FreeRTOS on a Cortex-M3, offers isolated inputs, and supports IBM’s Bluemix and Watson IoT platforms. Like Artila Electronics’ RIO-2015PG, the RIO-2010BM is a remote I/O module that runs FreeRTOS on an MCU, and offers isolated digital I/O. The device is designed specifically for transmitting Modbus/TCP remote data to […]
- Symfony 3 - A clear and concise set of tutorials
Symfony is a open source professional PHP framework for creating web projects and this set of tutorials will equip you with the skills you would need to create high quality, easy to maintain web apps from start to finish.It is practical taking you from zero (environment setup using a fresh install of Ubuntu 16.04 or Docker to get started quickly) to finish building a web site for a freelancer with a blog and contact form. First covering all of the core concepts that make up a project and then restructuring the code to be maintainable.
- How to Calculate Flash Storage TCO
Across a wide range of consumer devices, from cameras to smartphones to laptops, flash storage has become the de facto standard for digital data storage.
- Red Hat Pilots New Program to Ease Digital Transformation
Red Hat on Monday announced a new Application Platform Partner Initiative at its North America Partner Conference in Las Vegas. The goal is to provide a more robust ecosystem for companies engaging in digital transformation. The company has started conducting tests in a pilot program with a small number of solutions-oriented consulting partners in North America.
- OpenSuse Leap Reinforces Linux Faith
OpenSuse Leap 42.2 goes a long way toward maintaining Suse's reputation for reliability and stability. That said, new users might need a push to take the leap from their familiar distros to this latest OpenSuse release. Business users can remain confident that upgrading to the latest edition, released last fall, won't put them too close to the bleeding edge of innovation.
- Google Gives Devs First Look at Android O
Google on Tuesday unveiled a developer preview of the latest version of its mobile operating system, code named "Android O." The new OS is designed to improve on battery life and interactive performance of devices, according to Dave Burke, vice president of engineering, Android, at Google. The new release puts automatic limits on what applications do in the background in three areas.
- Cracking the Shell
If you've begun to tinker with your desktop Linux terminal, you may be ready to take a deeper dive. You're no longer put off by references to "terminal," "command line" or "shell," and you have a grasp of how files are organized. You can distinguish between a command, an option and an argument. You've begun navigating your system. Now what? File manipulation lies at the heart of Linux.
- IBM Launches Enterprise-Strength Blockchain as a Service
IBM has unveiled the first enterprise-ready Blockchain as a Service offering based on The Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger Fabric. IBM Blockchain, which lets developers quickly establish highly secure blockchain networks on the IBM cloud, is a transformative step in being able to deploy high-speed, secure business transactions through the network on a large scale, the company said.
- Google Unveils Guetzli, Open Source JPEG Encoder, to Speed Browsing
Google on Thursday announced Guetzli, a new contribution to its evolving set of tools for the open source community. Guetzli is an encoder that allows JPEG files to be compressed as much as 35 percent, resulting in much faster Web page loading. "Guetzli," which means "cookie" in Swiss German, allows users to create smaller JPEG images.
- Slackel Openbox Plays Hard to Get
Slackel's Openbox edition is a lightweight operating system that offers reliable performance once you get the box open. It is not an ideal OS for every user, though. Slackel 6.0.8 Openbox was released by developer Dimitris Tzemos last fall. Slackel is a Linux distro that offers several benefits for users who step away from the typical mainstream Debian-based Linux distros.
- Accenture and Docker Team on Container Services
Accenture and Docker on Wednesday announced an expanded global alliance and the availability of container services within the Accenture Cloud Factory. The new services provide a faster industrialized on-ramp solution for enterprises moving to the cloud. They focus on container enablement of applications and feature use of Docker Datacenter Enterprise Edition - Standard.
- Linux Academy Rolls Out New Cloud-Based Training Platform
Linux Academy, an online training platform for the Linux OS and cloud computing, has announced a public beta rollout of its Cloud Assessments platform, designed to let large enterprise firms train and assess their IT workers and prospective job candidates. The academy offers training on a variety of cloud-based platforms, including Amazon Web Services, Open Stack, DevOps, Azure and others.
- Malware Found Preinstalled on Dozens of Android Phones
Malware has been discovered preinstalled on 36 Android phones belonging to two companies, security software maker Check Point reported. "In all instances, the malware was not downloaded to the device as a result of the users' use -- it arrived with it," noted Oren Koriat, a member of Check Point's Mobile Research Team. The malicious apps were added somewhere along the supply chain.
- Black Lab Linux 8.0 Is a Rare Treat
Black Lab Linux 8.0, based on Ubuntu 16.04, adds a Unity desktop option. You won't find Unity offered by any other major -- or nearly any minor -- Linux distributor outside of Ubuntu. It also updates several other prominent desktop options. Black Lab Linux is a general purpose community distribution for home users and SMBs. Black Lab Enterprise Linux targets businesses that want support services.
- The Terminal Is Where Linux Begins - and Where You Should, Too
Once you have a sense of the vast potential of Linux, you may be eager to experience it for yourself. Given the complexity of modern operating systems, it can be hard to know where to start. As with many things, computers can be better understood through a breakdown of their evolution and operation. The terminal is not only where computers began, but also where their real power still resides.
- Google Invites Open Source Devs to Give E2EMail Encryption a Go
Google has released its E2EMail encryption code to open source as a way of pushing development of the technology. "Google has been criticized over the amount of time and seeming lack of progress it has made in E2EMail encryption, so open sourcing the code could help the project proceed more quickly," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. That will not stop critics, though, he added.
- Zorin Desktop Is a Crowd Pleaser
Zorin OS developers on Tuesday released Version 12.1, offering Linux users a patchwork of software and hardware updates with some performance enhancements and bug fixes. Zorin 12.1 follows the introduction three months ago of the project's 12 series. It is a minor update, but the amount of tweaking applied makes it worth upgrading to the .1 release. For instance, it has an updated hardware stack.
- Zero W Joins Raspberry Pi Family on 5th Birthday
Raspberry Pi turned 5 years old on Tuesday, and to mark the occasion, the foundation announced a new member of the family, the Raspberry Pi Zero W, and a case to go with it. Raspberry Pi Zero W adds wireless LAN and Bluetooth capabilities to tiny computer's growing list of capabilities. Priced at just $10, the device is affordable for anyone who wants to take the Pi for a test drive.
- DebianDog Is a Useful Pocket Pup
DebianDog offers a lot of functionality and customization that frees users from many of the restrictions of a Linux community tied up in developmental red tape. DebianDog is fast and focused on getting work done without a lot of distractions. However, it also is a disorganized desktop environment that can leave new users floundering. Its look and feel is eclectic, and documentation is sparse.
- What a Linux Desktop Does Better
After I resolved to adopt Linux, my confidence grew slowly but surely. Security-oriented considerations were compelling enough to convince me to switch, but I soon discovered many more advantages to the Linux desktop. For those still unsure about making the transition, or those who have done so but may not know everything their system can do, I'll showcase here some of the Linux desktop's advantages.
- Open Source IoT on Steady Enterprise March
Enterprise IT decision makers have been exploring the potential of Internet of Things technologies, but they are not rushing IoT projects into development and are showing caution in their adoption commitments, according to survey results Red Hat released Wednesday. Of the 215 participants in the company's survey, "Enterprise IoT in 2017: Steady as she goes," 55 percent indicated that IoT was important to their organization.
- Microsoft Makes VR Drone Fight Simulator Available on GitHub
Microsoft has introduced an open source virtual reality toolkit for the training of autonomous drones. The beta software became available on GitHub last week. The toolkit is designed to allow developers to "teach" drones how to navigate the real world by recreating conditions such as shadows, reflections and even objects that might confuse a device's on-board sensors.
- Munich City Government to Dump Linux Desktop
Munich city officials turned lots of heads 10 years ago, when they voted to swap out Microsoft Windows with LiMux -- a custom desktop version of the Linux operating system, based on Ubuntu Linux. The current municipal government wants to dump LiMux and replace its 15,000 computers with Windows 10. The city's general council this week voted to investigate the costs of building a Windows 10 client.
- Lumina Adds Luster to Linux Desktop
The Lumina Desktop Environment desktop is a standout in the crowded field of Linux GUIs. Lumina is a compact, lightweight, XDG-compliant graphical desktop environment developed from scratch. Its focus is on giving users a streamlined, efficient work environment with minimal system overhead. Lumina was first developed for the BSD family of operating systems, such as FreeBSD and TrueOS.
- World's Largest Dinosaur Footprints Discovered In Western Australia
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The largest known dinosaur footprints have been discovered in Western Australia, including 1.7 meter prints left by gigantic herbivores. Until now, the biggest known dinosaur footprint was a 106cm track discovered in the Mongolian desert and reported last year. At the new site, along the Kimberley shoreline in a remote region of Western Australia, paleontologists discovered a rich collection of dinosaur footprints in the sandstone rock, many of which are only visible at low tide. The prints, belonging to about 21 different types of dinosaur, are also thought to be the most diverse collection of prints in the world. Steve Salisbury, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Queensland told ABC News: "We've got several tracks up in that area that are about 1.7 meters long. So most people would be able to fit inside tracks that big, and they indicate animals that are probably around 5.3 to 5.5 meters at the hip, which is enormous." "It is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half the continent and providing the only glimpse of Australia's dinosaur fauna during the first half of the early Cretaceous period," he said. The findings were reported in the Memoir of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. The largest tracks belonged to sauropods, huge Diplodocus-like herbivores with long necks and tails. The scientists also discovered tracks from about four different types of ornithopod dinosaurs (two-legged herbivores) and six types of armored dinosaurs, including Stegosaurs, which had not previously been seen in Australia. At the time the prints were left, 130m years ago, the area was a large river delta and dinosaurs would have traversed wet sandy areas between surrounding forests.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- NASA Launches Massive Digital Library For Space Video, Photos and Audio
earlytime quotes a report from Space.com: NASA on Tuesday (March 28) unveiled a new online library that assembles the agency's amazing space photos, videos and audio files into a single searchable library. The NASA Image and Video Library, as the agency calls it, can be found at http://images.nasa.gov/ and consolidates space imagery from 60 different collections into one location. The new database allows users to embed NASA imagery in websites, includes image metadata like date, description and keywords, and offers multiple resolution sizes, NASA officials said. According to the NASA statement, other features include: Automatic scaling to suite the interface for mobile phones and tablets; EXIF/camera data that includes exposure, lens used and other information (when available from the original image); Easy public access to high resolution files; Downloadable caption files for all videos. The new NASA archive is not meant to be a complete archive of all of the space agency imagery. But it does aim to showcase what the space agency has to offer.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Scientists Turn Mammalian Cells Into Complex Biocomputers
sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: Computer hardware is getting a softer side. A research team has come up with a way of genetically engineering the DNA of mammalian cells to carry out complex computations, in effect turning the cells into biocomputers. The group hasn't put those modified cells to work in useful ways yet, but down the road researchers hope the new programming techniques will help improve everything from cancer therapy to on-demand tissues that can replace worn-out body parts. To upgrade their DNA "switches," Wong and his colleagues steered clear of transcription factors and instead switched human kidney cell genes on and off using scissor-like enzymes that selectively cut out snippets of DNA. These enzymes, known as DNA recombinases, recognize two target stretches of DNA, each between 30 to 50 or more base pairs long. When a recombinase finds its target DNA stretches, it cuts out any DNA in between, and stitches the severed ends of the double helix back together. To design genetic circuits, Wong and his colleagues use the conventional cellular machinery that reads out a cell's DNA, transcribes its genes into RNA, and then translates the RNA into proteins. This normal gene-to-protein operation is initiated by another DNA snippet, a promoter, that sits just upstream of a gene. When a promoter is activated, a molecule called RNA polymerase gets to work, marching down the DNA strand and producing an RNA until it reaches another DNA snippet -- a termination sequence -- that tells it to stop. To make one of their simplest circuits, Wong's team inserted four extra snippets of DNA after a promoter. The main one produced green fluorescent protein (GFP), which lights up cells when it is produced. But in front of it was a termination sequence, flanked by two snippets that signaled the DNA recombinase. Wong and his team then inserted another gene in the same cell that made a modified recombinase, activated only when bound to a specific drug; without it, the recombinase wouldn't cut the DNA. When the promoter upstream of the GFP gene was activated, the RNA polymerase ran headfirst into the termination sequence, stopped reading the DNA, and didn't produce the fluorescent protein. But when the drug was added, the recombinase switched on and spliced out the termination sequence that was preventing the RNA polymerase from initiating production of GFP. Voila, the cell lit up. The approach Wong and his colleagues used worked so well that they were able to build 113 different circuits, with a 96.5% success rate. The study has been published in the journal Nature.
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- Bay Area Tech Executives Indicted For H-1B Visa Fraud
New submitter s.petry quotes a report from The Mercury News: Two Bay Area tech executives are accused of filing false visa documents through a staffing agency in a scheme to illegally bring a pool of foreign tech workers into the United States. An indictment from a federal grand jury unsealed on Friday accuses Jayavel Murugan, Dynasoft Synergy's chief executive officer, and a 40-year-old Santa Clara man, Syed Nawaz, of fraudulently submitting H-1B applications in an effort to illegally obtain visas, according to Brian Stretch, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California. The men are charged with 26 counts of visa fraud, conspiracy to commit visa fraud, use of false documents, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to prosecutors. Each charge can carry penalties of between two and 20 years in prison. Prosecutors say the men used fraudulent documents to bring workers into the U.S. and create a pool of H-1B workers to hire out to tech companies. The indictment charges that from 2010 to 2016, Dynasoft petitioned to place workers at Stanford University, Cisco and Brocade, but the employers had no intention of receiving the foreign workers named on the applications. Nawaz submitted fake "end-client letters" to the government, falsely claiming the workers were on-site and performing jobs, according to the indictment. Slashdot reader s.petry adds: "While not the only problem with the H-1B Visa program, this is a start at investigating and hopefully correcting problems."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Ask Slashdot: What Are Some Lies Programmers Tell Themselves?
snydeq writes: "Confidence in our power over machines also makes us guilty of hoping to bend reality to our code," writes Peter Wayner, in a discussion of nine lies programmers tell themselves about their code. "Of course, many problems stem from assumptions we programmers make that simply aren't correct. They're usually sort of true some of the time, but that's not the same as being true all of the time. As Mark Twain supposedly said, 'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.'" The nine lies Wayner mentions in his discussion include: "Questions have one answer," "Null is acceptable," "Human relationships can be codified," "'Unicode' stands for universal communication," "Numbers are accurate," "Human language is consistent," "Time is consistent," "Files are consistent," and "We're in control." Can you think of any other lies programmers tell themselves?
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- The Galaxy S8 Will Be Samsung's Biggest Test Ever
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: You know what's coming tomorrow, you've known and waited for it for months now. Samsung's 2017 flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, will be officially announced, and one of the most critical periods in the company's history will begin. The phone Samsung launches on Wednesday will carry greater expectations and have to prove a lot more than usual. Even as the world's biggest smartphone maker, Samsung's mobile credibility was deeply shaken by the Galaxy Note 7 snafu, so it now needs to reassert its reliability while also rebooting its technological advantage. Vlad Savov provides a "rundown of the biggest challenges facing Samsung" in his report. While Samsung will need to nail the design and camera performance, as well as many other things, the most critical area will be the battery, given how the Note 7 was recalled due to battery issues. Even though that incident took place half a year ago, we are still faced with the consequences. Samsung is still trying to figure out what to do with the "recalled units" and people are still making bad jokes about "explosive Samsung news." If the Galaxy S8 is to have any battery issues whatsoever, the result could be catastrophic for the company. Though, Samsung is well aware of this and has likely packed "the most robust and durable batteries we've ever seen in a smartphone" inside the Galaxy S8 devices.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Google Launches New Website To Showcase Its Open Source Projects and Processes
BrianFagioli writes: Google is an essential member of the open source community. The search giant contributes some really great projects, offering code to be used many -- it claims more than 2,000 such contributions! Heck, the company even hosts the annual Summer of Code program, where it pairs students with open source projects teams. In other words, Google is helping to get young folks excited about open source. Today, Google announced that it is launching an all-new website to focus on open source. It is not a general open source site, but a destination to learn more about the search-giant's relationship with it. "Today, we're launching opensource.google.com, a new website for Google Open Source that ties together all of our initiatives with information on how we use, release, and support open source. This new site showcases the breadth and depth of our love for open source. It will contain the expected things: our programs, organizations we support, and a comprehensive list of open source projects we've released. But it also contains something unexpected: a look under the hood at how we 'do' open source," says Will Norris, Open Source Programs Office, Google.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- DJI Proposes New Electronic 'License Plate' For Drones
linuxwrangler writes: Chinese drone maker DJI proposed that drones be required to transmit a unique identifier to assist law enforcement to identify operators where necessary. Anyone with an appropriate receiver could receive the ID number, but the database linking the ID with the registered owner would only be available to government agencies. DJI likens this to a license plate on a car and offers it as a solution to a congressional mandate that the FAA develop methods to remotely identify drone operators. "The best solution is usually the simplest," DJI wrote in a white paper on the topic, which can be downloaded at this link. "The focus of the primary method for remote identification should be on a way for anyone concerned about a drone flight in close proximity to report an identifier number to the authorities, who would then have the tools to investigate the complaint without infringing on operator privacy. [...] No other technology is subject to mandatory industry-wide tracking and recording of its use, and we strongly urge against making UAS the first such technology. The case for such an Orwellian model has not been made. A networked system provides more information than needed, to people who don't require it, and exposes confidential business information in the process."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- US Congress Votes To Shred ISP Privacy Rules
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: The U.S. House of Representatives has just approved a "congressional disapproval" vote of privacy rules, which gives your ISP the right to sell your internet history to the highest bidder. The measure passed by 232 votes to 184 along party lines, with one Democrat voting in favor and 14 not voting. This follows the same vote in the Senate last week. Just prior to the vote, a White House spokesman said the president supported the bill, meaning that the decision will soon become law. This approval means that whoever you pay to provide you with internet access -- Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, etc -- will be able to sell everything they know about your use of the internet to third parties without requiring your approval and without even informing you. That information can be used to build a very detailed picture of who you are: what your political and sexual leanings are; whether you have kids; when you are at home; whether you have any medical conditions; and so on -- a thousand different data points that, if they have sufficient value to companies willing to pay for them, will soon be traded without your knowledge. With over 100 million households online in the United States, that means Congress has just given Big Cable an annual payday of between $35 billion and $70 billion.
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- BitTorrent To Refocus On What Made It Rich - uTorrent
Best known for its uTorrent client, BitTorrent Inc has been focusing more on other projects for a while. But now, with another shake-up imminent, the company has made a fresh commitment to focus on uTorrent and Mainline clients. From an article on TorrentFreak: Caught between the bad publicity generated by millions of pirates using the software for less than legal activities, a reliance on its huge revenue, plus its role in distributing content from signed-up artists, BitTorrent Inc. has at times been required to delicately maneuver around the client's very existence. Now, however, that might be about to change. According to a report from Variety, changes are underway at BitTorrent Inc that could see uTorrent and its Mainline sister client come back into the limelight. First up, the company has yet another new CEO. Rogelio Choy joins the company after spending two years at parking service Luxe Valet. However, Choy is also a former BitTorrent employee, serving as its Chief Operating Officer between 2012 and 2015. The hiring of Choy reportedly coincides with a shake-up of BitTorrent Inc.'s product line. BitTorrent Live, the patented live video streaming project developed by BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen, will be set loose as a separate, venture-funded company, Variety reports.
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- AT&T Joins The Linux Foundation as a Platinum Member
From a press release: The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration, today announced that AT&T has become a Platinum member. This follows news of the company's contribution of several million lines of ECOMP code to The Linux Foundation, as well as the new Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project based on production-ready code from AT&T and OPEN-O contributors. Chris Rice, senior vice president of AT&T Labs, joins The Linux Foundation Board of Directors and was also recently selected as the ONAP chairman. "Open source is crucial to AT&T's software transformation," said Chris Rice, chairman of ONAP and senior vice president of AT&T Labs. "So, it was a natural decision for us to join The Linux Foundation. SDN is helping us meet performance, capital spending and efficiency goals and we expect continued benefits. But more so, we recognize that the open source community accelerates innovation. We're excited to work with The Linux Foundation and its members to promote a globally accepted platform for SDN and NFV technologies."
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- Facebook Copied Snapchat a Fourth Time, and Now All Its Apps Look the Same
Facebook is copying Snapchat again. From a report on Recode: Today it launched Stories, the 24-hour photo and video montages that ultimately disappear, inside of its core Facebook app. This is the fourth time Facebook has cloned the key Snapchat feature in the past nine months; the social giant has already copied it into Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. On the surface, Facebook's move simply looks like an unabashed defense strategy against Snapchat, the company's most obvious threat since 2011, when Google tried to dive into social with a service that turned out to be much more like a bellyflop. This is getting serious. What many people don't realize is that even if Facebook manages to get half a percent of its users to use its copycat tools, Snapchat will lose a substantial number of potential customers that could have joined its service. With Facebook, which has over 1.8 billion users (+ the possibly tens of millions of people that use WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger app and don't have a Facebook account), increasingly offering all of Snapchat's features on its apps, the future of Evan Spiegel's company doesn't look all that good.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
- Tesla Deal Boosts Chinese Presence in US Auto Tech
From a Reuters report:China's Tencent has bought a 5 percent stake in U.S. electric car maker Tesla for $1.78 billion, the latest investment by a Chinese internet company in the potentially lucrative market for self-driving vehicles and related services. Tencent's investment, revealed in a U.S. regulatory filing, provides Tesla with an additional cash cushion as it prepares to launch its mass-market Model 3. Tesla's shares were up 2.9 percent at $277.03 in midday trading on Tuesday, enabling it to rival Ford as the second-most-valuable U.S. auto company behind General Motors. The deal expands Tencent's presence in an emerging investment sector that includes self-driving electric cars, which could enable such new modes of transportation as automated ride-sharing and delivery services, as well as ancillary services ranging from infotainment to e-commerce.
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- Home Office accused of blocking UK public's scrutiny of Snoopers' Charter
Open letter to Amber Rudd: more time needed to read '413 pp of dense legal text'
The UK's Home Office has been accused of making "it near to impossible to provide a meaningful response" to the public consultations which campaigners fought legal battles to have included in the Investigatory Powers Act.…
- Virgin Media suspends 4 staff over misreporting connections
Shakes up top brass after 142k misrepresented in £3bn Project Lightning
Virgin Media has admitted to overstating its £3bn Project Lightning superfast broadband rollout by 142,000 premises – a move that has led to the suspension of four staff and a reshuffle of its top brass.…
- UK's 'homebrew firmware' Chinooks set to be usable a mere 16 years late
After burning hundreds of millions into the bargain
The Ministry of Defence has started replacing the flight control software on its all-but-useless Chinook Mk.3 special forces helicopters, a mere 16 years after bungled attempts to bake its own software without involving manufacturer Boeing.…
- The evolution of ransomware: How a nuisance turned into a business menace
As ransomware rapidly evolves, defenders look for help keeping up
Promo To many Internet users it must look as if ransomware arrived out of the blue. Pioneers such as Cryzip started circulating at very low levels in the UK as early as 2006 and yet it wasn’t until 2013 that this type of malware suddenly spiked with the appearance of its first big global superstar, CryptoLocker.…
- Inside Intel's Optanical garden
What you see and what you might actually get could differ
Analysis Intel has now had its brace of Optane P4800X SSD and M.2 2280 motherboard card releases and we’ve learned there is no straightforward performance comparison with equivalent flash product – Intel is eschewing that on the grounds of Optane being a significantly different storage product.…
- Microsoft wants screaming Windows fans, not just users
And it might be winning them: Windows Insiders program has cracked the ten million mark
Microsoft's revealed it doesn't just want Windows users, it wants Windows fans. As in queue-all-night, constantly-offer-unsolicited-feedback, faint-at-the-sight-of-pop-stars fans.…
- FBI secures guilty plea from Russian bot-herder
Ebury infections for fun and profit, sentencing in August
A Russian citizen behind “tens of thousands” of Ebury trojan infections has entered a guilty plea in the US and will face sentencing in August.…
- ETSI widens scope of mobile edge standard
Mobile base stations to be treated as computers in their own right
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute has decided its Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) effort needed a bigger brief, so it's renamed it as Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC).…
- What a time to be alive: drone pooper-scoopers are a thing now
Who needs a plastic bag and civic pride when two drones can do the job?
Finding dog poo in public places and picking it up before it can besmirch a sole probably isn't high on the list of things humanity needs to get better at, but that hasn't stopped Dutch folk throwing two drones at the problem.…
- Boffins give 'D.TRUMP' an AI injection
A statistical model for cluelessness named after the president. Because why not?
Let's give this points in the Academic Sense of Humour stakes for 2017: the wryly-named Data-mining Textual Responses to Uncover Misconception Patterns, or D.TRUMP, looks to automate the process of working out just how confused someone might be, from how they answer open-response questions.…
- Court smacks Telstra over wholesale pricing
No NBN revenue top up for you, says regulator
Australia's Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is crowing today after the nation's Federal Court agreed with its ruling on how much dominant telco Telstra can charge for wholesale services on its fixed line networks.…
- Federal Police toss nbn™ under a bus over leaks to Senator
Who leaked the leak? Not us', claim feds, 'talk to them
The Australian Senate's Committee of Privileges decided yesterday that documents seized from former Senator Stephen Conroy and a staffer last year are covered by parliamentary privilege, and can't be used in any police investigation into who leaked them.…
- RIP: Antivirus veteran Raimund Genes, 54
Trend Micro CTO suffered fatal heart attack
Colleagues and friends are mourning the sudden death of distinguished antivirus industry veteran Raimund Genes last Friday.…
- Ex-broadband biz 186k hit by major outage
You mean they still have some customers left?
Long-suffering customers of troubled hosting provider 186k are unable to access the firm's hosting and email services in what appears to be a major outage.…
- Super Micro rack-wrangles a fix for a few data centre PITAs
Server, storage and networking wrap
Orchestrating, deploying and managing thousands of servers, storage shelves and switches can provide a persistent PITA*. Server white box supremo Super Micro has a Rack Scale Design (RSD) fix for service providers, telecoms, and Fortune 500 companies dealing with this.…
- DevOps hype? Sometimes a pizza really is just a pizza
Differentiating between commercial partners, coevolution and clutter
Opinion Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Four friends are sitting on a sofa, and one says to the others, “I’m hungry, I want to learn how to make pizza.”…
- Nuns left in limbo after phone line transfer hell
Judge Brennan fines Eircom after litany of screwups
A judge has hit Irish telco Eircom with a €16,500 fine, after the former incumbent left a nursing home for retired nuns without phone service for weeks, then overcharged the sisters for the privilege.…
- Miss Misery on hacking Mr Robot and the Missing Sense of Fun
He's both the sharpest tool AND two spanners short
Stob Are you lolling dolefully? Then I'll continue. The TV show Mr. Robot deals with the life and adventures of Elliot Alderson, a twenty-something New York devop and cyber-vigilante. He and his circle of chums, seeking to inflict revenge on a mega-corporation for a hushed-up industrial accident, stumble towards bringing e-civilisation to a sticky end.…
- Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern
What Mozilla's browser rewrite means to... Mozilla
Open source insider Mozilla has been rolling out a major change to Firefox during the last year, the results of what the company calls its Electrolysis project. Electrolysis gives Firefox something Chrome has had for years now – multiple processes (in the best case scenario that's per tab). The change is a boon for speed – somewhere Firefox has been lagging lately – and it improves stability and security.…
- As of today, iThings are even harder for police to probe
iOS 10.3 lands, complete with heavily encrypted Apple File System
Apple today released iOS 10.3, watchOS 3.2 and tvOS 10.2 (14W265), the first two of all of which bring some pleasing extra functionality to iThings, But the main attraction in the new release is Apple File System, because it adds comprehensive encryption to the iPhone and Apple Watch.…
Linux.com offline for now
- Keith Packard On Needed DRM Changes For VR HMDs
Earlier this month it was revealed that Keith Packard had begun working with Valve to address DRM changes for Linux VR. He's now commented a bit on the technical approach he's pursuing for better dealing with virtual reality head-mounted displays (HMDs) with the open-source Linux drivers...
- Intel OpenGL/Vulkan Linux Graphics With Serious Sam 2017
Last week I published a number of Radeon and NVIDIA Vulkan/OpenGL Serious Sam 2017 benchmarks while those curious about Intel graphics performance for the updated Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter have some data to look at today.
- Benchmarks & Trying Out DragonFlyBSD 4.8
With DragonFlyBSD 4.8 making its debut yesterday, I was excited to give this updated BSD operating system a try now that it has UEFI support and some performance improvements. Here are some early benchmark results of DragonFlyBSD 4.8 compared to 4.6 and Intel's Clear Linux for some additional reference points.
- Intel P-State Gets More Cleanups & Optimizations
Last week I wrote about Intel's Rafael Wysocki working on P-State improvements for Linux 4.12 and today he has published yet more clean-up and optimization patches for this Intel CPU frequency scaling driver alternative to ACPI CPUfreq...
- LLVM 4.0.1 Planning, Aiming For Better Stable Releases
Tom Stellard, who recently left AMD for Red Hat, is stepping up once again to maintain LLVM point releases. Tom has laid out plans for LLVM 4.0.1 and he's also looking to enhance the overall stable release process...
- Solus Integrates Clear Linux's clr-boot-manager
The desktop-focused, performance-oriented Solus Linux distribution has pulled in another component from Clear Linux: clr-boot-manager. The clr-boot-manager is responsible for solid kernel and boot-loader management...
- 2017: Should Linux Benchmarking Still Be Mostly Done With Ubuntu?
Every year or so it comes up how some users believe that at Phoronix we should be benchmarking with Antergos/Arch, Debian, or [insert here any other distribution] instead of mostly using Ubuntu for our Linux benchmarking. That discussion has come back up in recent days...
- AMD Ryzen, Valve, Linux 4.10~4.11 & Kabylake Dominated Q1
With the first quarter of 2017 drawing to a close next week, here's a look back at the most popular news stories and articles so far this year on Phoronix. Year to date on Phoronix there have already been 842 original news articles and 91 featured articles and Linux hardware reviews...
- Chromium/Chrome Browser Adds A glTF Parser
Google's Chrome / Chromium web-browser has added a native glTF 1.0 parser. The GL Transmission Format, of course, being Khronos' "3D asset delivery format" for dealing with compressed scenes and assets by WebGL, OpenGL ES, and other APIs...
- The Morning After: Wednesday, March 29th 2017
Welcome to mid-week. We've got sub-$1,000 4K TVs in decent sizes, the US government voted on whether ISPs can sell your browser history, and IKEA is getting into the smart lighting game. You might have heard -- the device has been leaked enough -- that Samsung's Galaxy S8 will get its official unveiling later today. We'll be live from the event, which kicks off at 11AM ET in New York.
Vizio's latest 4K TVs are dirt cheap
Vizio continues to push TV prices down to the point where it would be crazy not to go 4K on your next TV. With its latest D-Series, a 65-inch 4K (Ultra HD) model costs $900, while the 55-inch Ultra HD model is just $570. These are not fancy HDR-equipped OLED or quantum dot models, but they do have full-array LED backlighting, built-in WiFi and Vizio's own smart TV system for apps like Netflix. Comparing the price against premium sets from established TV players like LG, Samsung and Sony, and you can see how Vizio might expect to sell plenty of 'em.
Nothing to see here.US House votes to roll back FCC privacy rules
The FCC just tried to implement privacy rules that would prevent ISPs from selling personal info like your browsing history without asking, but Congress is putting a stop to that. In a 215 to 205 vote, the House of Representatives approved S J Res 34, following a vote by the Senate last week. Now, if the president signs it into law -- as he says he will -- ISPs won't have to deal with these extra privacy and vulnerability disclosure rules nationwide. Customers will still have to opt-out of any sales of their data, assuming they can figure out how to do it.
No colors, yet.
IKEA launches its own low-cost smart lighting range
Philips is perhaps the most well known smart bulb maker, but that could soon change thanks to a new entrant: IKEA. That's right, the world's biggest furniture chain is today debuting its own smart lighting range in the UK. As you might expect, the prices are a lot easier on the wallet. Its Smart Lighting collection consists of TRÅDFRI LED bulbs and remote control, a gateway kit, a motion sensor kit, dimming lights and a selection of LED light panels and doors that can be built into kitchen and bedroom cabinets -- enough to light up most homes, but only in differing shades of white.
Colorful mascots are ready for a comeback.
'Yooka-Laylee' is at the heart of a 3D platformer revival
Crafted by small team made up of former Rare employees, Yooka-Laylee appears to be at the center of a 3D platformer revival. A few years ago, barring a certain red-capped plumber, the 3D platform genre was on hiatus, replaced by grittier adventure titles. More recently, we saw a remaster collection and Nintendo's Super Mario Odyssey is due on the Switch this holiday. How is this crowdfunded competitor faring?
Google and Symantec go to war over our internet security
As a result, Chrome may distrust Symantec's security certificates.
Google and Symantec are engaged in a war about each other's security practices, with all of us caught in the crossfire. As TechCrunch reports, Google believes that Symantec has been improperly issuing security certificates for tens of thousands of websites. If the search engine follows through with its threat, then Chrome will soon no longer place the same level of trust in Symantec's certificates.
Cable TV is internet TV.Comcast will be the next cable company to chase cord cutters
A report from Reuters indicates that Comcast is about to unleash Xfinity Internet TV, an expanded version of the Stream service it is already testing in Chicago and Boston. At first, it will only be available to Comcast internet customers, so the company doesn't compete with any other cable providers. Otherwise, it's similar to DirecTV Now and Sling TV, with a cloud DVR and value-priced "skinny bundles" of channels put together to chase customers who don't want a cable box or contract.
Welcome to the internet ageNBC will finally kill tape delay for the 2018 Winter Olympics
Every couple of years, people on the western half of the US tune in to watch the Olympics and find out that a lot of the events are being held up on tape delay. The situation becomes more ridiculous every time, as the internet puts real-time spoilers up everywhere. Now, NBC is finally ready to bend, and says that unlike Rio, its prime time TV broadcasts for the 2018 Winter Olympics will be live in all time zones.
Trump rolls back Obama-era climate change policies
The latest executive order from president number 45 takes aim at number 44's Clean Power Plan. Its claimed intent is to create more jobs in the US energy market. What it will do is remove a rule mandating that the government consider how its actions will impact climate change when reviewing new legislation. It also allows energy companies to once again buy the rights to mine coal on federal lands.
But wait, there's more... The Roadie 2 gives you no excuse for an out-of-tune guitar Democrats demand the FCC tackle cybersecurity Google conquers more of your smart home with Logitech and Wink 'Rain World' is a strange, ever-evolving take on survival games
- HTC targets the classroom with 10-headset Vive bundle
The folks over at HTC Vive have been talking up the potential of VR in education since day one, and this year, they're hoping to make a bigger push into this space by focusing on multi-user scenarios. At this week's Vive Ecosystem Conference in Shenzhen, the company announced the Vive Group Edition bundle for China, which includes ten Business Edition headsets plus two Business Edition base stations for 49,999 yuan or about $7,260, and it's due to ship in May. This offers a much lower entry barrier for commercial users, as it's almost a 40-percent saving when compared to buying ten full Business Edition kits, meaning schools and small businesses are more likely to afford the system.
For those who are wondering, yes, the Group Edition package is missing the controllers plus extra base stations, and for a good reason. According to the company, the idea here stemmed from a growing number of customer requests for high-end multi-user VR solutions, but that quickly becomes costly as each headset needs to be hooked up to a relatively powerful PC. As such, the only way to lower the cost without too much compromise is by sticking to the bare necessities on the VR side: a number of headsets and just two base stations per room.
While the lack of controllers here may sound worrying, HTC Vive's China President Alvin Wang Graylin assured me that the lean kit is perfectly suitable for light interaction use cases. These can be as simple as watching a video together (so cinemas can also take advantage of this package) to something more fun like going on virtual tours -- be it a seated experience or a room-scale experience. I can imagine students enjoying geography, biology and history lessons more by being virtually transported to different places, and they'll also get a better sense of scale by walking around an animated solar system; these can all get by without controllers, and Graylin added that there are plenty more of such education VR apps in the works.
But of course, customers can always add controllers to their Group Edition orders should their budget allow. This then opens up more opportunities in the classroom. During the conference earlier today, HTC showed off a chemistry lesson app which let teachers and students do virtual experiments together using controllers. It may take the fun out of seeing real chemicals fizzing or burning away, but this way the class gets to simulate the more dangerous experiments with no actual risks.
Another somewhat educational app that caught my attention during the conference -- and I know I'm late to this one -- was Night Cafe: A VR Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh (available on Steam), which lets you explore a tranquil world rendered in the style of Van Gogh's painting, and you even get to meet the man himself. Had this technology been available earlier, I might have paid more attention in my art lessons back then.
Graylin also addressed some concerns regarding whether VR is bad for children's eyes. Earlier this year, his company partnered with the Beijing Institute of Technology to study a group of young subjects aged 9 to 12. First, the children each wore a VR headset (presumably a Vive) for 20 minutes, and the result was that 8 percent of them reportedly had worse vision afterwards. But in a second test involving the use of tablets instead of VR headsets, the percentage of subjects with worsened vision went up to 11.5 percent.
What's more interesting is that in the VR test, 20 percent of the subjects actually had improved vision, which was notably higher than the mere 7.7 percent in the tablet test. So in short, VR usage appears to be more beneficial -- or at least less harmful -- to children's eyes than using tablets, but we should take this claim with a grain of salt until more studies come to the same conclusion. Having said that, there are already existing apps that use VR to help restore vision, namely Vivid Vision (formerly Diplopia).
It's obviously a bit early to tell whether the Vive Group Edition bundle has the right formula, but Graylin has already set an aggressive target for the education sector in China. Currently, there are "dozens" of local schools that have partnered with HTC Vive, and the exec hopes to turn this figure "into hundreds or even thousands" by the end of this year. If all goes well, here's hoping other markets will also be offered a similar package to increase VR adoption.
Source: HTC Vive China
- 'Serial' team's seven-episode podcast is ready for binging
When the Serial team announced their new spinoff podcast called S-Town, they promised a murder investigation in rural Alabama. While that's what host Brian Reed went there to cover, somewhere along the way it turned into a treasure hunt for buried gold. Reed also ended up unraveling the mysteries of the person who called the team to his neck of the woods to investigate a wealthy man who was reportedly bragging about getting away with murder. The good news is that you won't have to wait weeks to find out how the story ends. Reed and the team have given S-Town (or Shittown as the podcast revealed) the Netflix treatment -- all seven episodes are now online and ready for binging.
We say "Netflix treatment," but S-Town executive producer Julie Snyder told S-Town
- NASA made it easy for everyone to trawl its media archives
You won't have to go through dozens of mission websites anymore just to find space photos to print or to use as desktop or mobile wallpapers. NASA has launched a new library to host its best high-res images, videos and audio files from across 60 collections. Best thing about it? It's searchable and available to anyone who has an internet connection.
You won't find all the photos and videos the agency's probes and telescopes have ever taken. It hosts only the best of what NASA has ever released to the public, including historic ones like the Apollo 11 moon landing. Even then, the library still boasts over 140,000 searchable files, which you can sort by update date or popularity if you don't even know where to begin.
Some images come with their EXIF/camera data, including the exposure, lens used and other information, while all video downloads come with a caption file. One huge plus is that its interface automatically scales for phones and tablets, so you can mine for NASA gold anywhere you are.
Source: NASA Image and Video Library
- Samsung takes aim at movie projectors with a 34-foot 4K screen
The newest generation of Samsung's 4K televisions stretch its bright, vibrant QLED tech into bigger and bigger screens, topping out at the 88-inch Q9 the company introduced at CES in January. Clearly, these giant TVs are aimed at the home theater market. But the tech giant isn't content with domestic domination. This week, Samsung debuted its 34-foot Samsung Cinema Screen during Cinemacon 2017, which the company claims is the world's first HDR LED theater display.
Obviously, this isn't something for the casual consumer, and even the hypothetical resolution aficionado willing to spend around $30,000 US on Samsung's upcoming 88-inch Q9 would never afford the Cinema Screen's as-yet unannounced pricetag. Rather, the company is positioning the mega-LED as the next technology movie theaters should choose now that viewers are used to the sharp quality of home TVs. Hence, the ridiculous feat of a 34-foot 4K screen.
To that end, their press release boasts that the Cinema Screen is ten times brighter than traditional theater screens while exceeding DCI specifications, though it's yet to officially earn that certification. Whether theater chains glom to the product, it's still impressive. It's also a potential solution for smaller venues where resolution is far more noticeable, as well as art spaces that prioritize fidelity in their digital productions.
- Google's Duo chat app expands beyond video calls
Google loves to put out messaging apps, and until now, Duo was the one for making video calls. That changes today, according to a tweet from Google exec Amit Fulay. Duo users can also use the app to make voice calls. The feature, which debuted in Brazil earlier this month, is now available worldwide, although Google hopes it'll be especially popular in areas where high-bandwidth internet access isn't always available.
Duo was introduced last year as a bare-bones competitor to more full-featured calling apps like FaceTime. It's designed to work for anyone with a smartphone across a variety of network connections. Duo, along with chat platform Allo, are part of Google's new messaging strategy, and they will be the main consumer-focused apps going forward. Duo is now the mandatory video-calling app on Android devices, pushing out Google's previous app, Hangouts. But, if you're a Hangouts fan, Google insists it's not going anywhere. As an optional download on the Play Store, it will now focus more on business and enterprise users.
- 'Planescape: Torment' remaster arrives on April 11th
For many veteran gamers, Planescape: Torment was a definitive role-playing title -- it combined an unusual setting with a deep story, memorable dialogue and gameplay mechanics that still hold up. If you're one of those fans, you won't have long to wait to relieve that experience on modern hardware. Beamdog, Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast have revealed that they're launching Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition on April 11th. As with most better remastering efforts, this involves more than a little spit and polish to make the game run on newer hardware.
The rework polishes the game with a 4K-friendly interface on Macs and Windows PCs, a remastered soundtrack and interface tweaks (such as area zooming and quick looting) that reflect 18 years of progress. It even has the help of lead Torment designer Chris Avellone, who's curating various fixes and upgrades to create his ideal vision of the game. This is also the first version of the RPG built for mobile, with both Android and iOS versions arriving the same day. Suffice it to say that you'll want a tablet if you go that route, since there's a lot of info to juggle at the same time.
Beamdog is releasing the computer versions of Planescape through its own store, GOG, the Mac App Store and Steam for $20. On mobile, you'll be paying $10 through either the App Store or Google Play. We'd say the price is reasonable in either case. Beamdog estimates that a typical playthrough will last for 50 or more hours, and there's a distinct chance you'll be happy whether you're nostalgic for Torment or just want to sink your teeth into a classic Dungeons & Dragons experience.
Via: PC Gamer
- 'Minecraft' Realms multiplayer finally heads to Apple TV
If you've been looking to play Minecraft with your other Apple TV-owning gamer buddies, it's time to get excited. The latest update to the Apple TV version of this hit game enables "Realms," Minecraft's subscription-based multiplayer system. This upgraded version also includes Xbox Live authentication support, which will let players access their linked avatars and character skins.
When you purchase a Realms account, it's like getting a Minecraft server, only it's maintained by Microsoft so you don't have to mess with things like hosting or IP addresses. You get to control who can visit your private Minecraft Realm, too. That way, you don't have to worry about anyone trashing your world as you race around fighting exploding Creepers or building insane recreations of King's Landing from Game of Thrones. You can get a two- or 10-player Realm of your own for $3.99 and $7.99, respectively.
Unfortunately, owners of existing Realms subscriptions on Mac, Linux or PC won't be able play alongside their iOS or Apple TV brethren; there are two separate Realms systems, one for PCs and one that includes iOS, Android and Windows 10 users. We've reached out to find out if there are plans to connect the two systems.
The procedurally-generated worlds of Minecraft deserve to be explored with others; now Apple TV and iOS fans have a chance to do just that... as long as they stick to their own platform.
Via: 9 to 5 Mac
- US House votes to let ISPs sell your browser history
With a slim majority of 215 to 205, the US House of Representatives just passed a resolution rolling back FCC privacy regulations. Approved last year, the rules required that ISPs get your explicit permission before selling "sensitive data" like your browsing history. The resolution already passed the Senate last week, and now will go before the President, who has said he plans to sign it.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation responded to today's vote with a statement that "If the bill is signed into law, companies like Cox, Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, and Verizon will have free rein to hijack your searches, sell your data, and hammer you with unwanted advertisements. Worst yet, consumers will now have to pay a privacy tax by relying on VPNs to safeguard their information."
New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is in support of rolling back the rules, claiming that "the FCC will work with the FTC to ensure that consumers' online privacy is protected through a consistent and comprehensive framework." Once this is signed by the president, it will be up to them just how creepy internet service providers can get.
On the industry side, service providers also make that argument, claiming the privacy rules would've overreached and singled out internet service providers while allowing others like Google and Facebook to sell information. That doesn't, however, take into account how much data our ISP has access to, with the ability to know where you are, who you communicate with and what you say online potentially all up for sale. Also, many customers don't have more than one or two choices for broadband, reducing the possibility for privacy-friendly competition.
Source: US House results for S J Res 34
- Google's iOS app comes with its GIF-friendly keyboard on the side
It's no secret that Google is hoping to make its own lineup of search, navigation and email apps the go-to services for Apple users. The folks in Mountain View have even gone so far as to introduce new features in iOS apps months before rolling them out to their Android counterparts. Today, Google is trying to strengthen that hold on iPhone users with even deeper integrations of its flagship, search-focused app into Apple's operating system.
After streamlining the app's news feed late last year, the main Google app now brings the Gboard iOS keyboard under its wing. In other words, you no longer need the standalone app to get Gboard's in-keyboard access to search, GIFs and emoji across all your iOS apps. It now comes installed with the Google app and users can set it up inside the Google app settings.
Today's other big iOS update today is a live-updating "Trending on Google" widget that can be accessed through the app or pinned to your notification center for easy access to current search trends. The big search topics of the moment are displayed in blocks of Google primary colors, and tapping a topic will open a search tab with that subject. Finally, Google has also added or expanded the 3D touch functions throughout the app, so users can preview search results, bring up that trending widget or jump right into an incognito or voice search right from the home screen.
The updated version is live now in the App Store.
Source: Google Blog
- Immigration chat bot can help you with the H1-B visa
When Visabot went live last November, the Facebook Messenger-based artificial intelligence attempted to simplify the US visa application process and help many people skip the fees associated with a visit to an immigration lawyer. At the time, however, Visabot's conversational approach only supported two types of visas for travel or "exceptional individuals." Now, as promised, Visabot support is adding support for the H-1B visa transfers and applications that many Silicon Valley companies rely on for attracting talent.
- PGA will test shot distance trackers on three tours
Not surprisingly, the PGA has been hesitant to let golfers use distance trackers on the course. In theory, they take all the challenge out of picking the right club. The association isn't stuck in its ways, however. Officials have announced that they'll let players test distance measuring devices at certain tournaments on the Web.com Tour, the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica. Competitors won't be allowed to gauge elevation, slope or wind, but this could still help them take more informed swings.
The first tourney to allow trackers is the Essential Costa Rica Classic, which kicks off April 20th. It's important to note that the PGA isn't nearly so cautious about tracking for the sake of fans, by the way -- the PGA has served distance info to viewers for a while.
It will take a while before you know whether or not these gadgets become mainstays. Once the relevant tours wrap up in July, the PGA's Player Advisory Council will examine the data to see how the trackers influence play. And it could be a complicated decision. The PGA may not mind helping players out and speeding things up, but it also doesn't want to risk removing so much of the challenge that tournaments become boring.
Source: PGA Tour
- NBC will finally air all of the Olympics live, across time zones
Today NBC announced that for the 2018 Winter Olympics, it will finally back off of its hated policy of tape delaying significant portions of the games. In 2016, it streamed much of the competition live, but segments like the Opening Ceremony and each day's prime time programming got the tape delay treatment on TV. In a world connected in real time by phones, Facebook and Twitter, splitting up viewers makes less sense than ever, and NBC is finally acknowledging that instead of just pointing to the ratings or encouraging that viewers "move back east."
Ratings for the 2016 Olympics dropped 18 percent from the 2012 London games, and going live everywhere could help turn that around. With the 2018 event occurring in PyeongChang, South Korea, big events that are scheduled to take place in the morning there will happen during the prime time window on the East Coast of the US. Rather than forcing viewers to jump on the internet to watch events live, going all live on TV could boost those ratings back up in the place where advertisers are paying the most money.
NBC will kick off its evening lineup simultaneously at 8PM ET, 7PM CT, 6PM MT, and 5PM PT, with a break for local news and then the "Primetime Plus" package in all areas. The network has already signed up for Olympics broadcasts rights through 2032, however, exec Jim Bell would only tell the LA Times that it is "likely" to continue the all-live broadcasts for Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022.
- Robot Nathan Fillion is here to make you think 'Destiny 2' is charming
You'd think with its shooter MMO Destiny receiving its final content addition today, its creator Bungie would give it a moment gracefully riding into the sunset before championing its replacement. But an image leaked earlier this week sparked rumors of a September 8th release date for its sequel, which is seriously called Destiny 2, might have forced the studio's hand to release...a teaser for the game's official trailer, coming out this Thursday at 10 AM ET. Yeah.
That said, who doesn't want more Nathan Fillion? The short has the voice actor's character, the wisecracking quest-giver Cayde-6 from the first Destiny, jawing on about this one time he shot up some dudes. Everything is pretty, including the rubble. If you take anything from this teaser, enjoy the spiffed-up graphics.
Otherwise, they've nothing to announce -- but Sony does. Apparently, the sequel won't follow the first game's lead in keeping its console-exclusive content permanently, well, exclusive. If Destiny 2 really launches on all platforms in September, PS4 owners will get a year of bragging rights before it also comes to Xbox One in Fall 2018, as confirmed in the last few seconds of the PlayStation YouTube channel's version of the teaser. Not that we know what that content is yet, but boy, those Sony kids will have it.
Source: Bungie (YouTube)
- Scientists recreate the female menstrual cycle on a chip
Scientists don't understand as much as they'd like about the female reproductive system, both due to their historical exclusion from studies and the challenge in replicating the complexities of that anatomy. At last, however, there's progress. Researchers have developed an organ on a chip that models a woman's entire reproductive system, including menstruation and hormone-induced responses. It clearly doesn't look like the real thing (see above), but numerous key behaviors are present.
The design revolves around human and mouse organ cells (mice sometimes produce similar results) grown in a network of cubes, each of which has tubes that feed the cells with blood and hormones. There are even pumps and valves to simulate pressure. If you want to replicate a particular condition, it's as simple as injecting the right hormones to produce a reaction from the relevant cells.
To be clear, the current chip model can't account for everything. It doesn't include a placenta (rather important for measuring pregnancy-related effects), for a start. However, it's accurate enough that it could shed new light on how the reproductive cycle works and lead to better solutions. It could test the effectiveness of new birth control methods, model the behavior of cervical diseases or explain why some miscarriages occur. In short: a once nebulous part of human biology is about to become much clearer.
Via: Scientific American
- Uber plans to ditch Denmark over new taxi laws
Uber likes to think of itself as an enabler of small business, a connector of independent contractors with people who need a ride. Unfortunately for the San Francisco-based company, many places around the world disagree. The company's latest setback is in Denmark, where a new set of laws will require taxi cabs to have seat occupancy sensors and fare meters. Uber confirmed with uncommon response from the ride-sharing company, and it's one that they must repeat. If Uber complies with laws that apply to taxis, then it is admitting that it's both a cab-like service as well as an employer. That could seriously restrict its free-wheeling approach to disrupting the transportation industry.
Danish taxi driver unions and cab operators have argued in European courts that Uber doesn't comply with legal standards set for taxi firms and that the service it enables is unfair competition. Uber doesn't just face legal challenges, either, as it deals with several public relations issues related to shady executive behavior and evasion of authority.
Uber promises to "continue to work with the government" in Denmark to keep its services running as the regulations go into effect next month.
Source: The Guardian
- Democrats demand the FCC tackle cybersecurity
Two Democrats in Congress are imploring FCC head Ajit Pai to address cybersecurity issues in the United States, arguing vulnerabilities in cellular networks infringe on citizens' liberties and pose a "serious threat" to national security. Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Ted Lieu penned a letter to Pai laying out known issues in modern communications systems and asking the FCC to step in. However, that's unlikely to happen.
Pai and Republican commissioner Michael O'Rielly have repeatedly asserted that cybersecurity is not the FCC's problem. Considering cybersecurity is a relatively new field for regulation, there are no rules mandating the FCC address flaws in the country's communications systems. So, Pai has said the FCC simply won't do anything.
Wyden and Lieu argue this line of thinking is misguided.
"The continued existence of these vulnerabilities -- and the industry's lax approach to cybersecurity -- does not just impact the liberty of Americans, it also poses a serious threat to our national and economic security," the letter reads. "As such, the FCC must take swift action to address fundamental security threats to our mobile phones, which are no less dangerous than those cybersecurity threats that receive far more attention from other government agencies."
Our phones are vulnerable to being tapped, tracked & hacked. @tedlieu & I ask @FCC to address this major weakness pic.twitter.com/n2jgjSSpDw
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) March 28, 2017
Wyden and Lieu specifically call out the Signaling System 7 flaw that received a fair bit of media attention last year. Former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler ordered the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council to investigate SS7 vulnerabilities, and just this month, the CSRIC working group filed its final report on the matter. The investigation noted security holes in critical US infrastructure, as well as cellular, wireline and 5G networks, and recommended widespread firewall and encryption updates.
The CSRIC working group's charter ended on March 18th, but Wyden and Lieu urge the FCC to establish a new body to continue and expand the SS7 investigation.
Overall, the letter asks the FCC to do three main things, partially informed by the CSRIC investigation:
Force cellular companies to address vulnerabilities in their systems. Warn the American people about ways their mobile data can be tracked hacked by foreign governments or other agents. Promote the use of end-to-end encryption apps.
So far, the FCC under Pai has been largely concerned with deregulation, suspending the agency's consumer data privacy rules, chipping away at net neutrality and stopping an order that would have addressed serious flaws in the Emergency Alert System. Pai and O'Rielly argue that regulation stifles innovation at communications companies, and many of their moves favor these large businesses.
Meanwhile, Wyden and Lieu want the FCC to focus on security issues affecting everyday Americans and the nation as a whole. As they put it: "It is clear that industry self-regulation isn't working when it comes to telecommunications cybersecurity."
Source: Sen. Ron Wyden
- Playing 'Splatoon 2' over LTE won't kill your data plan
When Nintendo first revealed its new game console back in October, it chose to end the device's teaser trailer with a shot of a packed arena cheering an esports team. Its game of choice was Splatoon 2 for Nintendo Switch. The scene represented two things: Nintendo staking a claim in the competitive gaming space and a promise that the new console's portability would allow gamers to take that competitive online experience on the road. I put the latter half of that pledge to the test during last week's Global Testfire preview, and it held up better than I ever imagined.
I didn't recreate the trailer's Splatoon 2 segment shot for shot. The game's Testfire preview didn't have local multiplayer that I could use to strategize with teammates, and I certainly didn't take my console to an arena to compete in a spectator match. But I was caught outside of my house during one of the preview weekend's blocks of playable time. As an avid fan of the series, I was eager to sneak in a quick round of Turf War, but there was no reliable WiFi in the area. Desperate, I tethered my Switch to my phone's hotspot and braced myself for the inevitable notification telling me I'd gone over my data allowance for the month. The overage notification never came. It turns out that a single round of Splatoon 2 multiplayer barely eats up any data.
When my first round of LTE-powered multiplayer ended, I pulled up Project Fi's usage statistics. My three-minute game burned through a mere 0.011 gigabytes of data -- a little over 10 megabytes. That rate stayed more or less consistent through my second, third and fourth rounds, taking just 45.6 megabytes from my data budget for 20 minutes of online play (including time spent in matchmaking). While that's not a completely negligible amount of data, it's small enough to make a few mobile rounds manageable.
The entire experience felt like something that shouldn't work. Splatoon 2 was not only light on my data plan but also didn't play with any noticeable lag. Despite the higher latency of the LTE connection (compared to my cable home internet), my game ran smoothly, with no rubber banding, missed hits or sync issues. This is partially because LTE in my area is particularly strong, but Splatoon is also well suited to tolerating higher latency connections, as game modes task players with painting the game's environment more than attacking other players.
As neat as it was to play a multiplayer "home console" shooter on the go, Splatoon 2's data usage isn't technically out of the ordinary. According to mobile hotspot manufacturer Kita Enterprises, the average multiplayer game eats up about 17.5kb/s, or a little over one megabyte per minute. The rate varies from game to game. Battlefield 4 might hit that target, but MMO-like games like Destiny will demand a little more data. Any game on the lower end of the spectrum, like Splatoon 2, can theoretically be played over LTE without doing too much damage to your cellular bill -- but until now, there hasn't been much of a reason to use a mobile hotspot with a game console. Before the Nintendo Switch, console multiplayer games simply weren't portable.
Nintendo's successes are often tied to novelty. The novelty of motion controls. The novelty of a touchscreen. The novelty of 3D. For the Nintendo Switch, that novel experience is the ability to take your home console with you and play it anywhere. I fully expected Splatoon 2's online multiplayer to spoil the magic of the console's portability, but I was wrong. I doubt it was intentional, but the game's low data requirement lets it be just as portable as the console itself -- and that is incredibly novel indeed.
- Trump rolls back Obama-era climate change policies
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that rolls back policies designed to combat climate change implemented by former President Barack Obama. The order is a broad stroke, touching everything from federal policy-making to Energy Star regulations on home appliances. However, today's move specifically targets the Clean Power Plan, allowing the Trump administration to rewrite carbon emission rules for new and existing power plants. It also restarts the federal coal leasing program, enabling energy companies to once again buy the rights to mine on federal lands.
The government no longer has to consider how federal actions might impact climate change when conducting reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act -- this includes construction like the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Obama administration introduced the "social cost of carbon" metric, which gauged how global warming affected everyday life for American citizens, but today's executive order repeals this measurement.
Trump says the order is meant to foster job growth in the US energy market. During his campaign, he repeatedly promised to revitalize the coal industry specifically. As he signed the executive order at the headquarters of the EPA today, Trump again said he would "end the war on coal and have clean coal, really clean coal."
In 2016, 1.1 million people worked to generate power in the traditional oil, coal and gas industries, while 800,000 people worked in low carbon emission fields, including renewable and nuclear power, according to an annual report from the Department of Energy.
However, the market for clean energy is growing: As of May 2015, solar employed 260,000 people in the US, compared with 70,000 coal industry jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, the US solar energy workforce increased by 25 percent and wind employment rose by 32 percent last year, the DOE reports.
Environmental groups, activists and scientists have opposed Trump's plans to ignore climate change as federal policy, and today the World Wildlife Fund issued a statement urging the president to reconsider his executive order.
"This decision ignores the sweeping actions already being taken by companies, states, cities and communities across America, who are creating a future powered by clean energy, and who must now pick up the mantle of US climate leadership without the support of our federal government," the WWF writes.
Trump has historically called global warming a hoax and his pick to lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt, this month suggested carbon emissions weren't a primary contributor to climate change, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. Trump additionally wants to gut the EPA.
Source: Associated Press
- Uber is just as white and male as every other tech company
Uber is aware that its culture needs to change, and that means understanding what its culture is. To that end, the ridesharing giant has posted its first-ever diversity report... and it's clear that the company suffers from the same homogeneity problems as its tech industry peers. Women represent 36.1 percent of its global workforce, and that number plunges to 15.4 percent when you look at technical roles. And not surprisingly, there's not a lot of cultural variety. In the US, just under half (49.8 percent) of Uber employees are white, while 30.9 percent are Asian. And those figures are exaggerated at the top -- 22 percent of executives are women, and 76.7 percent of them are white.
Our TechCrunch colleagues note that the figures put Uber squarely in the middle of the pack. It has a higher ratio of women than Apple and Facebook (both 32 percent), but it's well behind Airbnb and Pinterest (43 and 44 percent). There's a similar issue with race: although Uber easily trounces Airbnb, Facebook and Pinterest in terms of cultural representation (roughly 10 percent of their workers are non-white/non-Asian), Apple can point to its 21 percent figure.
Uber is also continuing to jab the White House by pointing out that 15 percent of its American employees are relying on work visas. As a whole, Uber's US team represents 71 countries.
There aren't any concrete plans to improve ratios at Uber, but CEO Travis Kalanick is quick to characterize this as a "first step." You need data to take action, after all. And the company is definitely doing something. It's pledging $3 million over the next 3 years toward groups that support women and minorities in tech, and it'll cooperate with external diversity experts to help effect change. The question is whether or not this is enough. There's already skepticism that Uber will properly address reports of rampant sexism in its ranks, let alone shift its hiring practices.
Source: Uber (1), (2)
- Waze's 'Order Ahead' is a quicker way to grab food on the go
Waze is a valuable travel buddy because of the many ways it can assist you on the road. The navigation app helps drivers avoid traffic, it integrates with Spotify, and it has a growing ride-sharing platform. In an effort to aid users in all commute-related endeavors, drivers can now place a Dunkin' Donuts order right from the Waze app.
Dunkin' is the first eatery included in Waze's new "Order Ahead" feature, which made its debut as part of a software update made available today. The ordering process seems clunky initially, but easy enough to use once it's set up. First, users pick their favorite items via the Dunkin' Donuts app, using the existing on-the-go ordering feature. Then, the Waze app will locate the nearest Dunkin' and allow users to place their preset order with one tap.
Google, which owns Waze, says that more companies will be added to Order Ahead soon. McDonald's, Taco Bell and Starbucks have mobile ordering capabilities in their apps, so it seems likely Waze will integrate with them at some point. Order Ahead is meant to be used before you hit the road for obvious safety reasons, but as The Verge points out, the feature could be particularly valuable in self-driving cars. Autonomous vehicle technology is quickly evolving, so adding features like these could make Waze more versatile in situations when operating a car doesn't require as much of our attention.
Order Ahead is a promising addition to Waze, but it could also be a storage nightmare if apps for each supported restaurant need to be installed on your phone. If Waze eventually manages true integration with all of your favorite dining destinations, though, it could become a killer all-in-one driving app.
Images: Mike Mozart via Flickr (Dunkin' Donuts sign, lead); Waze via Dunkin Donuts (App screenshot)
Via: The Verge
Source: Dunkin' Donuts
- 'Rain World' is a strange, ever-evolving take on survival games
In many survival-themed games, the ecosystem doesn't change much. Predators are always out to kill you, while prey just wants to mind its own business. However, you'll have to be much more thoughtful with the just-released Rain World. Videocult's long-in-the-making PS4 and Windows action adventure (its crowdfunding campaign started in 2014) has you fighting for life in a wilderness where animals learn from their interactions with you. Seemingly docile critters may start treating you as a threat if you play too aggressively, while hostile beasts might back off if you figure out what they need. Some enemies have their own predators to worry about, so you're not the only threat.
You might also want to give this a look for its beautiful yet strange setting. The game has you playing as a "slugcat" (yes, just what it sounds like) in an overgrown, ruined landscape where you fend off neon lizards and gnaw on bats for food. And as the name suggests, there's a lot of rain -- you have to find shelter from periodic floods. Combine that with extremely fluid animations, the 16-bit retro visuals and a mysterious plot and it promises to be memorable, if more than a little unforgiving.
Source: PlayStation Blog, Steam
- V-Moda's Crossfade 2 wireless headphones sound better, last longer
Nearly two years after V-Moda introduced a wireless version of its popular Crossfade headphones, the company's back with a set that promises to be much better all around. Looks-wise, the new Crossfade 2 Wireless model is almost identical to its predecessor, though the cushions and headband have been redesigned to be more comfortable and keep bad noise out of your ears. The new cans also have upgraded dual-diaphragm 50mm drivers, which V-Moda claims make for its best sound yet, and an improved battery life that can get you over 14 hours of music playback. For those keeping track, that's a couple hours longer than the original version.
V-Moda's pricing the Crossfade 2 Wireless at $330 if you want them in matte black or matte white, and they're shipping starting today. There's a rose gold model too, but that's priced at $350 because it features support for Qualcomm's aptX audio codec, which it says will give you "near CD-quality sound" even as you're listening to tunes over Bluetooth.
- Scientists turn human kidney cells into tiny biocomputers
A team of scientists from Boston University have found a way to hack into mammalian cells -- human cells, even -- and make them follow logical instructions like computers can. While they're not the first researchers to program cells to do their bidding, previous successful studies mostly used one sample of how it works: The researchers programmed cells to light up when they did NOT contain the DNA recombinase they used. In the future, they could use proteins associated with specific diseases to use technique as a diagnostic tool, since the samples would light up if the patient has the illness.
Wong says their current sets of instructions are just proofs of concept. Other potential applications include manipulating T cells into killing tumors by using proteins that can detect two to three cancer cell biomarkers. The technique could also be used to turn stem cells into any cells they want by using different signals, as well as to generate tissues on command. Wong and his team are only exploring those possibilities at the moment, though, and it'll take time before we see them happen.
Source: Wired, Science, Nature Biotechnology
- US passes bill to allow ISPs to sell users' browser history
The United States, a country in North-America bogged down by extensive corruption, just passed a bill allowing ISPs to share and sell users' browsing history without their consent. Internet providers now just need a signature from President Trump before theyâÂ€Â™re free to take, share, and even sell your web browsing history without your permission. The House of Representatives passed a resolution today overturning an Obama-era FCC rule that required internet providers to get customers' permission before sharing their browsing history with other companies. The rules also required internet providers to protect that data from hackers and inform customers of any breaches. The corrupt US senator who sponsored this clearly atrocious bill, Marsha Blackburn, from an area in the southern part of the country called Tennessee, received 693,000 US dollar in bribes from AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and other related companies who operate in the country's dysfunctional telecommunications sector. In the United States, officially a representative democracy, it is entirely normal for high-level figures - up to and including the president of the troubled nation, a man named Donald Trump - to receive vast sums of money to enact laws written by corporations, regardless of their effects on civil liberties or the poor and needy people of the country. Americans, as citizens of the nation are called, often lack access to basic necessities such as healthcare, parental leave, clean drinking water, high-quality infrastructure, and so on. This is in spite of the country's vast natural resources and wealth, to which only a few percent of the country's population of 320 million have access to.
- Making music on the Amiga today
The Amiga has what is with no doubt in my mind, the absolute finest sound chip inside of any computer or console throughout the 1980's as well as most, if not all of the 1990's. Full disclosure; I have an MT-32... And the Amiga can actually do a piano. Yes, in a time when the vast majority of IBM and compatible PC owners were using a small speaker stuck deep inside of a metal tomb, Amiga users had a quality of sound nobody else could touch for that price. [...] To combat the story that has long been shaped that the Amiga was not popular to musicians because it did not have built in MIDI connectors I give you this quote given directly to me from the creator of the sequencing program Music-X, Talin: "The story with MIDI is actually much more complex than most people realize. You see, the early Amiga models had a hardware bug which made the serial port unreliable at high data rates. Basically the problem was that the serial port hardware had only a one-byte buffer, and if you didn't grab that byte before the next byte came in then data would be lost. Unfortunately, the Amiga's four timer chips would generate a software interrupt at regular intervals, during which time the serial port could not be serviced. And while MIDI speed wasn't super-high, it was high enough that you'd get a dropped byte every 10 minutes or so depending on how many notes you were sending over. Note that this did not affect the higher-end MIDI adapters which had their own dedicated serial point, but those were considerably more expensive." Interesting article about past MIDI challenges with the Amiga and how to hook up a modern synth to an Amiga to make music.
- SeqBox: reconstructable file containers/archives
An SBX container is composed of a collections of blocks with size submultiple/equal to that of a sector, so they can survive any level of fragmentation. Each block has a minimal header that includes a unique file identifier, block sequence number, checksum, version. Additionally, non-critical info/metadata are contained in block 0 (like name, file size, crypto-hash, other attributes, etc.). If disaster strikes, recovery can be performed simply by scanning a volume/image, reading sector-sized slices and checking block signatures and then CRCs to detect valid SBX blocks. Then the blocks can be grouped by UIDs, sorted by sequence number and reassembled to form the original SeqBox containers. This was submitted to us by the author of the project, so hopefully she or he can answer possibly questions in the comments.
- Evidence robots are winning the race for American jobs
Who is winning the race for jobs between robots and humans? Last year, two leading economists described a future in which humans come out ahead. But now theyâÂ€Â™ve declared a different winner: the robots. The industry most affected by automation is manufacturing. For every robot per thousand workers, up to six workers lost their jobs and wages fell by as much as three-fourths of a percent, according to a new paper by the economists, Daron Acemoglu of M.I.T. and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University. It appears to be the first study to quantify large, direct, negative effects of robots. These effects are only "negative" effects because of the way our society currently works. Nobody is going to stop automation, but automation is going to make our capitalist systems wholly and deeply untenable. Those countries who recognise and adapt to this fact the earliest, will be the ones coming out on top once the dust settles. Countries that look backwards and thereby artificially stunt their economic growth by investing in wholly outdated and destructive industries... Well. Good luck.
- DragonFly BSD 4.8 released
DragonFly version 4.8 brings EFI boot support in the installer, further speed improvements in the kernel, a new NVMe driver, a new eMMC driver, and Intel video driver updates. A ton of changes in this release.
- Apple releases iOS 10.3, macOS Sierra 10.12.4
Apple has released iOS 10.3, which brings with it a major change you should really, really be aware of before you install this update. iOS 10.3 introduces a new Apple File System (APFS), which is installed when an iOS device is updated. APFS is optimized for flash/SSD storage and includes improved support for encryption. Other features include snapshots for freezing the state of a file system (better for backups), space sharing, and better space efficiency, all of which should result in a more stable platform. Customers updating to iOS 10.3 should first make a backup given that the update installs a new file system. While everything should work out just fine with this update, I'd take additional precautions to make sure all your important data is properly backed up. In addition, Apple also released macOS Sierra 10.12.4, which introduces Night Shift to the Mac.
- When women stopped coding
Modern computer science is dominated by men. But it hasn't always been this way. A lot of computing pioneers - the people who programmed the first digital computers - were women. And for decades, the number of women studying computer science was growing faster than the number of men. But in 1984, something changed. The percentage of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged, even as the share of women in other technical and professional fields kept rising. What happened? An older article from 2014 that - sadly - just refuses to become irrelevant.
- Fashion companies embrace Android Wear
March has been a particularly fecund time for new Android Wear watch announcements, though unlike previous years, the brands behind these devices are almost all from the fashion and luxury spheres of business. Tag Heuer, Montblanc, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Diesel, Emporio Armani, Michael Kors, and Movado are just some of the well known names announcing Wear 2.0 smartwatches. This wave of new products is symptomatic of a broader trend in the tech industry: one where a high degree of component and software integration has made it almost trivial to launch a new tech product, whether or not you're actually a tech company. Maybe this is the right strategy for Android Wear. I've definitely seen some nice Wear 2.0 devices for later this year, and we wouldn't have this much variety if Google had kept Wear 2.0 close to its chest, much like what Apple does with the Apple Watch. If you don't like a square watch - and which sane person does? - you're out of luck on Apple's side of things. That being said, none of these have actually come out yet, so I'm not holding my breath on any of them being any good. All I want is an understated, simple smartwatch that doesn't have all this useless garbage like NFC, Wi-Fi, or LTE sucking up battery. I have my eyes on the LG Watch Style for exactly that reason, but they don't sell it in The Netherlands.
- Remember Zip disks? These election departments do
You may recall that a couple of years ago we ran a piece talking about how Ada County, the most populous county in Idaho, was desperately looking for Zip disks and drives to help keep its aging voting machines running. As it turns out, Ada County isn't alone. Apparently a lot of counties are in the same boat. Once, while buying a PowerMac G4 from someone (factory-equipped with an internal Zip drive), I stumbled upon his huge collection of external Zip drives and disks, which he promptly handed over as a gift. Other than playing with them out of idle curiosity, I never used them for anything. Instead of disposing of them years later, I guess I should've sent those 15 or so external Zip drives and 30-odd disks as emergency foreign aid to America. Underfunding democracy seems like a terrible idea.
- Secret colours of the Commodore 64
This was freaky. When you owned any 8-bit computer, you became intimately familiar with its colour scheme. This simple photograph blew my mind. That blue colour just wasn't possible. According to the caption, by presenting two colours to the eye and alternating them quickly enough, a whole new colour emerged. What would this new, secret colour look like on your crappy early-90s CRT television? The screenshot was only a hint. Would it glow? Would it flicker? Twenty-six years later, I found out the answer. This article is all about colour switching on the Commodore 64. There are interactive examples to play with below. I haven't found anything else on the topic, so it's possible this is the only resource on the subject. It's amazing what talented programmers can eke out of old 8bit machines.
- Maybe Android tablet apps will be better this year
There's a new Android tablet you can go and buy, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. Here's our review of it, where Jake notes that apps freeze if they're not in the foreground. Which is a good reminder: Android apps on tablets have never really been very good. They usually end up feeling like stretched-out phone apps. Things have gotten better in the past couple years, but it's still a problem. In fact, it has always been a problem. I wonder if anybody ever told Google that it was a problem and it should try to do a better job incentivizing developers to make apps that work better on tablets. Oh, wait, somebody has. Brutal, but true. Devil's advocate take: since tablets don't matter, do tablet apps really matter?
- Update on HTML5 video for Netflix
About four years ago, we shared our plans for playing premium video in HTML5, replacing Silverlight and eliminating the extra step of installing and updating browser plug-ins. Since then, we have launched HTML5 video on Chrome OS, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Edge on all supported operating systems. And though we do not officially support Linux, Chrome playback has worked on that platform since late 2014. Starting today, users of Firefox can also enjoy Netflix on Linux. This marks a huge milestone for us and our partners, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Mozilla that helped make it possible. It wasn't that long ago we barely dared to imagine HTML5 video taking over from Flash and Silverlight.
- Google releases Android O Developer Preview
Google has released the first Developer Preview for Android O, which is probably going to be released somewhere in the Fall. There's a lot changes in this one, but the biggest one is probably the limits Android O is going to place on applications running in the background. Building on the work we began in Nougat, Android O puts a big priority on improving a user's battery life and the device's interactive performance. To make this possible, we've put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user's device and battery. Background limits represent a significant change in Android, so we want every developer to get familiar with them. Check out the documentation on background execution limits and background location limits for details. There's more - improvements in keyboard navigation, Navigation Channels for managing notifications, picture-in-picture on smartphones, wide-gamut colour support for applications, several new Java 8 features, and more. A big one for audio people: Sony has contributed a lot of work to audio in Android O, adding the LDAC wireless audio codec. It's available on the usual Nexus devices.
- Nintendo approached Cyanogen for the Switch's OS
In the early life of the Nintendo Switch, when it was still codenamed Nintendo NX, there were a lot of rumors floating around about the device. We saw a console with an oval shape and a screen that seemed built into the buttons and rumors that the new device would run Android as its operating system. While the product we have today resembles nothing of those early prototypes, it looks like the Android rumor may not have been far off. Cyanogen's Kirt McMaster tweeted early this morning to say that Nintendo had approached him about designing a custom Android-based operating system for their new console, but he had some choice words for the company. Add this to the list of terrible business decisions by Cyanogen and its CEO.
- MiniDisc: an appreciation
In this video you'll see the first machine and the last machine as well as some in-between. There's talk about MD-LP, Net-MD and HiMD. It's a personal retrospective of a format that was loved by many people around the world but one that is all too often is judged purely on its lack of performance in the US market. Great video by a great channel. I'm one of those MiniDisc people. MiniDisc was fairly successful in The Netherlands, and quite a few people around me were MiniDisc users as well. I've had countless machines over the years, and I was still using HiMD well into the smartphone era - and carried both a smartphone and my HiMD player for quite a while. Even though the world had long ago moved on to MP3 players and then smartphones, I was still using MD. I've long wondered why, and this video finally made it dawn on me: rituals. Since prerecorded MiniDiscs were rare and incredibly expensive, you copied CDs onto MiniDiscs instead. Especially before the advent of NetMD and later HiMD, you did this without the help of a computer. You'd get a new album, listen to it, enjoy it - and then, to make sure you could listen to it on the go, you plugged one end of an optical cable into your CD player, the other end into your portable MD recorder, and copy the CD in real time. Once it was done, neat freaks like me would even enter all the track information using the little dial on the recorder, track by track, letter by letter. Painstaking doesn't even begin to describe it. Even listening to your MiniDiscs - they were satisfying to hold, the loading and unloading was deeply mechanical, the spring-loading trays were a delight. It was just an endless array of rituals that, while pointless and cumbersome to others, were deeply enriching and soothing to me. I guess it must be similar to people still using vinyl today. To me, MiniDisc was one of the greatest formats - not because it was better or more advanced (even though during the 90s and early 2000s, it actually was), but because it was full of little delights and rituals. Just one of those irrational things that only few of us will ever fully understand.
- smbclient Security for Windows Printing and File Transfer
Microsoft Windows is usually a presence in most computing environments, and UNIX administrators likely will be forced to use resources in Windows networks from time to time. Although many are familiar with the Samba server software, the matching smbclient utility often escapes notice.
- Non-Linux FOSS: Don't Drink the Apple Kool-Aid; Brew Your Own!
Some tools that I use on the command line are so basic and so ingrained in my day-to-day actions that it's weird when they're not available. This often happens to me on OS X. I love that OS X has UNIX underpinnings. I love that the terminal window is a real terminal window and works like a terminal window should work.
- Three EU Industries That Need HPC Now
The success of High Performance Computing (HPC) relies in no small part on the OpenPOWER Foundation, which was founded in 2013. The reason this open ecosystem is so important is that it provided members open access to the IBM POWER8 technology, which resulted in huge advances in innovation.
- HOSTING Monitoring Insights
An important need for today's CIOs is gaining greater granular visibility into hybrid cloud and on-premises environments to maximize the business value of their IT assets.
- FinTech and SAP HANA
During the past few years, FinTech has emerged as a startup realm that is growing astronomically. In 2015, the EU alone experienced a growth of investment in FinTech of more than 215%, according to a report by Accenture.
- Chemistry on the Desktop
For this article, I thought I'd introduce another chemistry application—specifically, BKChem, a free chemical drawing program. As opposed to many other chemistry applications, BKChem provides both a nice GUI for constructing molecules and a set of chemical analysis tools to look at the properties of the newly constructed molecule.
- Two Ways GDPR Will Change Your Data Storage Solution
Article Sponsor: IBM By now, most companies who do any business in the EU are aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect in 2018 and applies to any entity doing business within any of the 28 EU member states.
- Android Candy: That App Is for the Birds!
Usually bird-related apps involve pigs and anger, but if you're a bird watcher like myself, there's another bird app you must download. Cornell Labs has released a free app called Merlin Bird ID that helps identify birds you see in the wild.
- Hodge Podge
For every article, I try to write something that is interesting, entertaining, educational and fun. Sometimes I even succeed. Many other times I have some things I'd like to talk about, but there's not enough of it to fill the space. This time, I decided a disjointed hodge podge would be the theme. So let's just have a virtual nerdy talk about stuff, shall we?
- Preseeding Full Disk Encryption
Usually I try to write articles that are not aimed at a particular distribution. Although I may give examples assuming a Debian-based distribution, whenever possible, I try to make my instructions applicable to everyone. This is not going to be one of those articles.
- GRUB Boot from ISO
Last year I worked on a project to add an OEM-style rescue partition to a computer. Where most OEM installs have a custom program that just rewrites an install image over the top of the partition, in this case, everything was based on open-source software.
- 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 ’