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Cutting Edge Equipment : Good Performance, or Good GUI? Both?

irving47 (73147) writes | 6 minutes ago

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irving47 (73147) writes "As more and more server-level systems are coming from overseas, the development teams can't always be expected to know perfect English spellings... Having a Mac or even Windows-like finish to their GUI's seems unreasonable... But at what point does it start to concern you and what are the key indicators that this is a quality problem bound to rear its head in performance issues, not just a few web pages that only you, the sysadmin, are going to see? One example I've seen is Security Camera DVR's I've set up for customers because of the pricing... The interfaces have misspellings on nearly every page, but they work, for the most part.
So, even in higher-end, commercial settings, GUI "mistakes" : Indication of changing times, or a warning sign of equipment that's just too cheap?"

New Li-ion Anode Achieves 70 Percent Charge in Just Two Minutes

Zothecula (1870348) writes | 16 minutes ago

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Zothecula (1870348) writes "Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a new, proof-of-concept anode for lithium-ion batteries that can charge to 70 percent of its capacity in only two minutes and has a very long lifespan of ten thousand charge/discharge cycles. The advance could lead to the production of high-rate lithium-ion batteries, with interesting implications for personal electronics and, perhaps, even electric vehicles."
Link to Original Source

Judge says EA executives committed "puffery," not securities fraud

DemonOnIce (3876631) writes | about half an hour ago

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DemonOnIce (3876631) writes "Ars Technica reported that federal judge at San Francisco has dismissed a proposed securities fraud class action lawsuit connected to Battlefield 4 bungled rollout.

EA and several top executives were sued in December and were accused of duping investors with their public statements and concealing issues with the first-person shooter game. The suit claimed executives were painting too rosy of a picture surrounding what ultimately would be Battlefield 4's disastrous debut on various gaming consoles beginning last October, including the next-generation Xbox One.

But US District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco said their comments about EA and the first-person shooter game were essentially protected corporate speak.

"The Court agrees with defendants that all of the purported misstatements are inactionable statements of opinion, corporate optimism, or puffery," Illston ruled Monday.

Battlefield 4 debut was disastrous, gamers complained that Battlefield 4 crashed, froze, or wouldn't ever start. DICE Studios need three months to fix the defect and caused EA shares down 6% in a single day."

Link to Original Source

Cisco slashing stake in VCE data center venture with EMC/VMware

alphadogg (971356) writes | 1 hour ago

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alphadogg (971356) writes "EMC confirmed on Wednesday that its VCE converged infrastructure joint venture with Cisco and VMware is heading into a new phase, with EMC taking control of the business and Cisco drastically cutting its stake in it. "Expected to be finalized this quarter, VCE will become an EMC business. Cisco and VMware will continue as strategic partners and investors, with Cisco having an approximately 10% equity interest in VCE," according to an EMC statement, http://newsroom.cisco.com/pres... which emphasizes VCE's focus on helping customers deploy hybrid clouds."
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Windows 0-Day Exploited In Ongoing Attacks

Anonymous Coward writes | 1 hour ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft is warning users about a new Windows zero-day vulnerability that is being actively exploited in the wildand is primarily a risk to users on servers and workstations that open documents with embedded OLE objects. The vulnerability is currently being exploited via PowerPoint files. These specially crafted files contain a malicious OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) object. This is not the first time that a vulnerability in OLE has been exploited by cybercriminals, however most previous OLE vulnerabilities have been limited to specific older versions of the Windows operating system. What makes this vulnerability dangerous is that it affects the latest fully patched versions of Windows."

Xerox Alto Source Code Released To Public

zonker (1158) writes | 9 hours ago

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zonker (1158) writes "In 1970 the Xerox Corporation established the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) with the goal to develop an “architecture of information” and lay the groundwork for future electronic office products. The pioneering Alto project that began in 1972 invented or refined many of the fundamental hardware and software ideas upon which our modern devices are based, including raster displays, mouse pointing devices, direct-manipulation user interfaces, windows and menus, the first WYSIWYG word processor, and Ethernet.

The first Altos were built as research prototypes. By the fall of 1976 PARC’s research was far enough along that a Xerox product group started to design products based on their prototypes. Ultimately ~1500 were built and deployed throughout the Xerox Corporation, as well as at universities and other sites. The Alto was never sold as a product but its legacy served as inspiration for the future.

With the permission of the Palo Alto Research Center, the Computer History Museum is pleased to make available, for non-commercial use only, snapshots of Alto source code, executables, documentation, font files, and other files from 1975 to 1987. The files are organized by the original server on which they resided at PARC that correspond to files that were restored from archive tapes. An interesting look at retro-future."

Link to Original Source

Facebook articulates the value of open source for employees

jenwike (2888285) writes | 2 hours ago

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jenwike (2888285) writes "Facebook asked their employees: "Were you aware of the open source software program at Facebook?" 2/3 said Yes. 1/2 said that the program positively contributed to their decision to work for the company, and a large number of those people said their experience using Facebook projects in the open helped them get ramped up prior to being hired. James Pearce, Head of Open Source at Facebook, says that's a huge win."
Link to Original Source

Nokia sensing X prize finalists announced

ajc4000 (847398) writes | 3 hours ago

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ajc4000 (847398) writes "11 finalists in the latest X prize competition have been announced. The aim of this version of the well known competition is to advance the state of the art in sensing technologies, with a $2.5 million dollar prize on offer. Entrants range from Atoptix: a miniature smart phone compatible spectrometer; to GUES: a wearable sensor that monitors sounds emanating from the heart and respiratory system to monitor sleep apnoea, whooping cough, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.Crowdsourcing is now a part of a judging criteria so vote for your favourite."
Link to Original Source

The Classic Control Panel in Windows May Be Gone

jones_supa (887896) writes | 3 hours ago

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jones_supa (887896) writes "In Windows 8, there was an arrangement of two settings applications: the Control Panel for the desktop and the PC Settings app in the Modern UI side. With Windows 10, having the two different applications has started to look even more awkward, which has been voiced loud and clear in the feedback too. Thus, the work at Microsoft to unify the settings programs has begun. The traditional Control Panel is being transformed to something temporarily called "zPC Settings" (sic), which is a Modern UI app that melts together the current two settings applications."

FDA investigates 24 potentially lethal IoT medical devices

Anonymous Coward writes | 4 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "In the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent recommendations to strengthen security on net-connected medical devices, the Department of Homeland Security is launching an investigation into 24 cases of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in hospital equipment and personal medical devices.

Independent security researcher Billy Rios submiited proof-of-concept evidence to the FDA indicating that it would be possible for a hacker to force infusion pumps to fatally overdose a patient. Though the complete range of devices under investigation has not been disclosed, it is reported that one of them is an 'implantable heart device'.

William Maisel, chief scientist at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health said: “The conventional wisdom in the past was that products only had to be protected from unintentional threats. Now they also have to be protected from intentional threats too.”"

Link to Original Source

Hungary to tax internet traffic

Anonymous Coward writes | 4 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Recently the hungarian government announced its newest kind of tax, based on internet traffic, 150 HUF for every started GB of traffic. At Hungary, a monthly internet subscription costs around 4000-1000 HUF, which would really put a constraint on different service providers, especially on streaming-related data. Basically this kind of tax puts back the country's technological development by some 20 years — the pre-internet age. As a side note, the Hungarian government's support for household bills produced a 92bn HUF deficit, and interestingly inspite of the officially estimated 20bn income from the internet tax, a quick look at the BIX (Budapest Internet Exchange) and a bit of math tells the real estimate of the tax will most probably be around 100bn HUF. If you think it cannot be worse, there are always governments out there who are eager to show otherwise."
Link to Original Source

Aging and Orphan Open Source Projects

osage (3886749) writes | yesterday

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osage (3886749) writes "Several colleagues and I have worked on an open source project for over 20 years under a corporate aegis. Though nothing like Apache, we have a sizable user community and the software is considered one of the de facto standards for what it does. The problem is that we have never been able to attract new, younger programmers, and members of the original set have been forced to find jobs elsewhere or are close to retirement. The corporation has no interest in supporting the software. Thus, in the near future, the project will lose its web site host and be devoid of its developers and maintainers. Our initial attempts to find someone to adopt the software haven't worked. We are looking for suggestions as to what course to pursue. We can't be the only open source project in this position."

NPR (Thinks It) Has Solved the Mystery of Declining Female Enrollment in CS

theodp (442580) writes | 6 hours ago

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theodp (442580) writes ""Last Friday," writes UC Davis CS Prof Norm Matloff, "NPR ran a piece titled 'When Women Stopped Coding' [podcast summary]. It was quite engaging, but was long on Political Correctness, blaming things ranging from boy-oriented toys to sexist institutions, and short on real evidence. Mind you, I don’t disagree that a sexist element runs through parts of the field, but NPR’s explanations are just wrong." So, what does Matloff see as the major cause of declining percentages of women in undergraduate CS curricula since 1984? Economics. "I share the concern about the gender lopsidedness in the profession," explains Matloff. "Actually, I started voicing this concern to my department chair a bit before the issue became a nationwide topic around 2008. My theory at the time was that women are more practical than men, and that the well-publicized drastic swings in the CS labor market are offputting to women more than men. This was confirmed by a 2008 survey in the Communications of the ACM, a professional magazine of the Association for Computing Machinery, which found that in choosing to enter the IT field, women placed significantly more emphasis on job security." In addition to the causes cited by NPR, Matloff, and others, a number of other changes have occurred since 1984 that had some effect on the composition of the CS undergrad pipeline. 1984 was the year that high school CS education was changed by the introduction of the AP Computer Science exam, whose choice of languages (Pascal, C++, Java) has ironically been blamed by some for actually driving kids away from CS study. 1984 was also a watershed year in that it marked the introduction of the Mac, a computer "designed as an information appliance" for which a hobbyist programming language was deemed unnecessary. That, coupled with the killing of MacBasic by Bill Gates, no doubt reduced the number of students who would catch the programming bug and later major in CS. IEEE Today's Engineer noted that a decrease in Federal R&D spending in the '80s affected STEM student production. College demographics in general also began to change dramatically in the 80's as schools embraced a huge influx of international students (stats show foreign STEM students skew male) and public universities increasingly sought out-of-state tuition windfalls, leaving fewer seats for even higher-qualified in-state students. Check out a comparison of 1984 vs. 2014 enrollment demographics for CS majors at the Univ. of Illinois, which is certainly at odds with NPR's US-white-boys-with-PCs-rose-to-dominate-CS-programs hypothesis. Also, it should be mentioned that evolving CS/IT/MIS/STAT programs of study make it impossible to do apples-to-apples comparisons of "CS programs" over the years. Finally, legislation passed or shaped in the '80s also helped make programming a less attractive career to U.S. students. Section 1706 of the 1986 tax act, noted the NY Times, helped insure a scarcity of programmers, since Congress decreed that most individual programmers cannot be entrepreneurs. And the ever-evolving H-1B visa program (and associated rise of outsourcing/offshoring), which had roots in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, has also undoubtedly affected U.S. students' decision to major in CS. So, what made women "stop coding"? It's hard to say exactly, but there was certainly more to it than gender-skewed '80s PC advertising!"

First Evidence of Extrasolar Planets Discovered In 1917

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes | yesterday

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KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Earth's closest white dwarf is called van Maanen 2 and sits 14 light years from here. It was discovered by the Dutch astronomer Adriaan van Maanen in 1917, but it was initially hard to classify. That's because its spectra contains lots of heavy elements alongside hydrogen and helium, the usual components of a white dwarf photosphere. In recent years, astronomers have discovered many white dwarfs with similar spectra and shown that the heavy elements come from asteroids raining down onto the surface of the stars. It turns out that all these white dwarfs are orbited by a large planet and an asteroid belt. As the planet orbits, it perturbs the rocky belt causing asteroids to collide and spiral in towards their parent star. This process is so common that astronomers now use the heavy element spectra as a marker for the presence of extrasolar planets. And a re-analysis of van Maanen's work shows that, in hindsight, he was the first to discover the tell-tale signature of extrasolar planets almost a century ago."

High-altitude drones are the future of Internet broadband

mwagner (413143) writes | yesterday

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mwagner (413143) writes "Skynet is coming. But not like in the movie: The future of communications is high-altitude solar-powered drones, flying 13 miles above the ground, running microwave wireless equipment, delivering broadband to the whole planet. This technology will replace satellites, fiber, and copper, and fundamentally change the broadband industry. Call it Skynet, after the antagonist in the Terminator movies. It's coming in about 20 years — the same amount of time between Arthur C. Clarke's predicting the geosynchronous satellite and their reality as a commercial business. "Several important technology milestones need to be reached along the way. The drones that will make up Skynet have a lot more in common with satellites than the flippy-flappy helicopter drone thingies that the popular press is fixated on right now. They’re really effing BIG, for one thing. And, like satellites, they go up, and stay up, pretty much indefinitely. For that to happen, we need two things: lighter, higher-capacity wireless gear; and reliable, hyper-efficient solar tech.""
Link to Original Source

Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage for 11 Million People

HughPickens.com (3830033) writes | 10 hours ago

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HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Brian Fung reports at the Washington Post that earlier this year emergency services went dark for over six hours for more than 11 million people across seven states. "The outage may have gone unnoticed by some, but for the more than 6,000 people trying to reach help, April 9 may well have been the scariest time of their lives." In a 40-page report, the FCC found that an entirely preventable software error was responsible for causing 911 service to drop. "It could have been prevented. But it was not (PDF)," the FCC's report reads. "The causes of this outage highlight vulnerabilities of networks as they transition from the long-familiar methods of reaching 911 to [Internet Protocol]-supported technologies." On April 9, the software responsible for assigning the identifying code to each incoming 911 call maxed out at a pre-set limit; the counter literally stopped counting at 40 million calls. As a result, the routing system stopped accepting new calls, leading to a bottleneck and a series of cascading failures elsewhere in the 911 infrastructure. Adm. David Simpson, the FCC's chief of public safety and homeland security, says that having a single backup does not provide the kind of reliability that is ideal for 911. “Miami is kind of prone to hurricanes. Had a hurricane come at the same time [as the multi-state outage], we would not have had that failover, perhaps. So I think there needs to be more [distribution of 911 capabilities].”"

Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas?

HughPickens.com (3830033) writes | yesterday

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HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Arthur Obermayer, a friend of the Isaac Asimov, writes that he recently rediscovered an unpublished essay by Asimov written in 1959 while cleaning out some old files that is "as broadly relevant today as when he wrote it. It describes not only the creative process and the nature of creative people but also the kind of environment that promotes creativity." Some excerpts from Asimov's essay which is well worth reading in its entirety:

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. What is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others. Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display."

Steve Wozniak accepts adjunct professorship at UTS

Anonymous Coward writes | yesterday

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An anonymous reader writes "Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak has accepted an adjunct professorship at the University of Technology Sydney. "He beams in on our telepresence device to chat with students, share his latest ideas and entertain with jokes and the occasional prank,” said lab director Professor Mary-Anne Williams. In 2012, Wozniak announced plans to become an Australian citizen — expressing interest in the country's National Broadband Network (NBN) and the concept of government regulated broadband — although that ambition has not yet been fulfilled."
Link to Original Source

Fiber optics in Antarctica will monitor ice sheet melting

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | yesterday

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Earth is rapidly being wired with fiber-optic cables—inexpensive, flexible strands of silicon dioxide that have revolutionized telecommunications. They’ve already crisscrossed the planet’s oceans, linking every continent but one: Antarctica. Now, fiber optics has arrived at the continent, but to measure ice sheet temperatures rather than carry telecommunication signals. A team of scientists using an innovative fiber-optic cable–based technology has measured temperature changes within and below the ice over 14 months. This technology, they say, offers a powerful new tool to observe and quantify melting at the base of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the collapse of which may help drive a worldwide increase in sea levels of more than 3 meters."
Link to Original Source

Microsoft Introduces Build Cadence Selection With Windows 10

jones_supa (887896) writes | yesterday

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jones_supa (887896) writes "Microsoft has just released Windows 10 TP build 9860, and if you do not have the update yet, here is how you can get it via Windows Update. Along with the new release, Microsoft is introducing an interesting cadence option for how quickly you will receive new builds. The ring model goes from development, to testing, to release. By being in the slow cadence, you will get more stable builds but they will arrive less often. By choosing the fast option, it allows you to receive the build on the same day that it is released. As a quick stats update, to date Microsoft has received over 250,000 pieces of feedback through the Windows Feedback tool, 25,381 community forum posts, and 641 suggestions in the Windows Suggestion Box."

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