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Canonical Finally Lets Users Move The Unity Launcher To Bottom In Ubuntu 16.04
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '16 at 05:22 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rumors-made-official department:
prisoninmate writes from an article on Softpedia: It is official, the packages needed to move the Unity Launcher of Ubuntu Linux to the bottom of the screen have finally landed in the main repositories of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, due for release on April 21, 2016. Softpedia reported that Ubuntu users might be able to move the Unity7 Launcher at the bottom edge as a rumor in February -- but now they confirm it finally landed for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. It is not known if Canonical will implement a visual setting in the Apperance/Behaviour panel for users to easily switch between having the Unity Launcher on the left of at the bottom of the screen for the final release of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, but you can do it by running a simple command.

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Building A Global Network Of Open Source SDR Receivers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '16 at 01:22 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's from-anywhere-in-the-world department:
hamster_nz writes: A fellow Kiwi is attempting to crowdfund a world-wide network of open-source, software-defined, radio receivers. Once in place, this will allow anybody anywhere in the world to scan the 0 to 30MHz RF spectrum from the comfort of their HTML-5 web browser. Built on top of the Beaglebone, the "KiwiSDR" RF board also includes a GPS receiver front-end, which will allow timing between receivers to be correlated, giving a lot of options for projects like long baseline interferometry and lightning detection. Prototypes are already deployed, and I've been RXing in Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. [The KiwiSDR design has been detailed on JKS.com, where there is a link to the project's Kickstarter page.]

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Tiny Vermont Brings Food Industry To Its Knees On GMO Labels
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 10:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's overabundant-use-of-pesticides department:
schwit1 writes: General Mills' announcement on Friday that it will start labeling products that contain genetically modified ingredients to comply with a Vermont law shows food companies might be throwing in the towel, even as they hold out hope Congress will find a national solution. Tiny Vermont is the first state to require such labeling, effective July 1. Its fellow New England states of Maine and Connecticut have passed laws that require such labeling if other nearby states put one into effect. The U.S. Senate voted 48-49 Wednesday against a bill that would have blocked such state laws. The food industry is holding out hope that Congress will prevent states from requiring such labeling. Some companies say they plan to follow Vermont's law, while others are considering pulling their products from the small state.

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Pale Moon Devs Ponder Dropping Current Codebase And Starting From Scratch
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 06:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department:
An anonymous reader writes: The developers of the Palo Moon browser are thinking of scratching their current codebase due to the fact that it doesn't support many of today's current Web standards, and because future Firefox plans will introduce incompatibilities within its codebase. The team plans to build a new browser from scratch, which they'll use to replace Pale Moon when it reaches a stable version. As with the old Pale Moon, the browser will keep Firefox's pre-Australis interface and still support many features removed in Firefox, like Tab Groups and full themes.

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Apple Hires Corporate Security Chief Amid Legal Battle With FBI
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 03:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's protecting-thy-assets department:
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has hired a new security executive to oversee its corporate digital defenses as a result of the ongoing battle with the U.S. government over law enforcement's desire to crack into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone 5c. George Stathakopoulos, former vice president of information security at Amazon.com and before that Microsoft's general manager of product security, is the new appointee designated to be the vice president of corporate information security. Stathakopoulos will be responsible for protecting corporate assets, such as the computers used to design products and develop software, as well as data about customers. The new hire is a sign of increased focus on security issues at Apple.

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Rumor: Broadcom Phasing Out WiFi Chip Business
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 03:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's allocating-resources department:
jones_supa writes: According to sources in Taiwan at the heart of the electronics industry, Broadcom is looking to phase out its WiFi chip business in a move to streamline its workforce and product offerings following its acquisition by Avago Technologies. In general, WiFi chip business' yield relatively low gross margins compared to other product lines due to fierce price competition in the market for mass-market applications (such as notebooks, tablets, TVs and smartphones). Companies such as MediaTek, Realtek Semiconductor and RDA Microelectronics have already received a pull-in of short lead-time orders from Broadcom's customers in the WiFi sector. Following its merger with Avago, Broadcom is expected to allocate more RD resources to solutions in the fiber-optic and server sectors. In addition, Broadcom has almost halved the workforce stationed at its office in Taipei.

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MIT Study Shows Stop Lights Won't Be Necessary In The Future
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 02:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's adopting-efficient-infrastructure department:
Lucas123 writes: An MIT [Senseable City Lab] study based on mathematical modeling demonstrated a likely scenario in which high-tech vehicles, using sensors to remain at a safe distance from each other as they move through a four-way intersection, can eliminate the need for traffic lights in the future. By removing the waits caused by traffic lights, these so-called Slot-based Intersections speed-up traffic flow.The study claims this kind of traffic-light-free transportation design, if it ever arrives, could allow twice as much traffic to use existing roads.

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Stealthy Drone Can Hide Underwater For Months, Then Float To Surface To Take-Off
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 02:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's from-sea-to-shining-sea department:
An anonymous reader writes from an article on DigitalTrends: After months of analysis and experimentation, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab announced the successful development of a reliable sea-to-air UAV. Dubbed the Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System -- or CRACUNS for short -- Johns Hopkins' drone has the ability to reside for months underwater without deteriorating or decaying. Once given the signal, the CRACUNS would then rise to the water's surface and begin flight, capable of undertaking a variety of missions.

In order for the drone to accomplish this, the team had to develop a body that contained no structural metal parts or machined surfaces. The composite-body had to not only be extremely lightweight, but able to be submerged in water and hold up to constant water pressure. CRACUNS project manager Jason Stipes said in a published press release, "Engineers at APL have long worked on both Navy submarine systems and autonomous UAVs. In response to evolving sponsor challenges, we were inspired to develop a vehicle that could operate both underwater and in the air."

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Could You Fall In Love With This Robot?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 01:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's voiced-by-Scarlett-Johansson department:
Hanson Robotics and Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories are working on developing the most humanlike robots on the planet. While they may appear creepy, many roboticists believe they are key for humans and super-intelligent machines to coexist. Sophia is the most intelligent and lifelike android the team is working on. She can reply to basic questions and comments and she will even tell you when she was activated if asked. The most "creepy" element about her is the fact that she has lifelike skin crafted with patented silicon that can emulate more than 62 facial expressions. Cameras in her "eyes" work with computer algorithms that allow her to "see," track faces, make eye contact and recognize individuals. Google Chrome voice-recognition technology along with some other tools enable Sophia to process speech, talk and get smarter over time. "Our goal is that she will be as conscious, creative and capable as any human," said Hanson, CEO of Hanson Robotics. "We are designing these robots to serve in health care, therapy, education and customer service applications."

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Workers In China, India, USA Believe AI and Robots Will Replace Them
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 01:02 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's robots-are-coming department:
An anonymous reader cites a Quartz article: Chinese workers have seen the future, and it involves artificial intelligence, robots, and other forms of automation replacing them, at least for repetitive tasks. That's how workers responded to interviews about the future of work conducted in 13 countries by the ADP Research Institute, part of the payroll systems company ADP. In contrast to China, a minority of workers in Germany think machines will take over repetitive tasks in the future. Workers in Chile, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and France among other countries agree. But American workers and those in India are inclined to see things the Chinese way; nearly two-thirds of those polled said they thought the machines were coming for repetitive work.

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Jury Orders Gawker To Pay $115 Million To Hulk Hogan In Sex Tape Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 11:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-zeros department:
An anonymous reader writes: [Hogan's attorneys told jurors this is the core of the case:] "Gawker took a secretly recorded sex tape and put it on the Internet." And now they are paying for it, dearly. Also notable is that there doesn't seem to be anyone interested in defending them, as even the Twitter community (if it can truly be called that) has come out strongly in favor of the ruling against Gawker. Maybe they should have at least made more friends? They did make $6.5 million in net income in 2014 and their Wikipedia article states that they were last sold in 2009 for $300 million, so while they may not be put out of business, it seems likely they will at least be [changing] hands, and soon, with the jury ruling $55 million for economic injuries and $60 million for emotional distress. I think that's jury-speak for "body slam."

According to Ars Technica, Gawker Media was one of the first successful, large, digital-only news companies. "The stunning sum, which may have punitive damages added to it, is a life-threatening event for the New York-based network of news and gossip sites."

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Netflix CEO Says Blocking Proxy Services Is Maturation of Internet TV
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 11:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's pushing-some-to-piracy department:
An anonymous reader writes: During a recent round table discussion, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings commented on the company's controversial move to begin blocking the use of proxy VPN/DNS services. "We have the obligation to respect the content rights that we buy; it's just a simple fairness thing. Someone else has paid for the rights in Germany, so we should respect that, just as we would expect the same in return," he said. "The basic thing is if we license a movie here [the U.S.], and then another network licenses it in Germany, then we don't have the rights to display it in Germany. That's why we have to enforce those VPN rules, just like Amazon Prime Instant Video and others do as well. Think of it as the maturation of Internet TV."

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Self-Driving Cars Should Be Legal Because They Pass Safety Tests, Argues Google
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 10:23 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's self-driving-future department:
An anonymous reader quotes an article on The Verge: Chris Urmson, director of Google's self-driving car project, has sent a letter to US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today with a plan for selling autonomous vehicles that have no steering wheels or pedals. The plan appears to be pretty straightforward: Urmson argues that if a self-driving car can pass standardized federal safety tests, they should be road-legal. Urmson adds that regulators could 'set conditions that limit use based on safety concerns.'

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Once Thought Safe, DDR4 Memory Shown To Be Vulnerable To 'Rowhammer'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 10:23 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's leaking-memory department:
An anonymous reader writes from an Ars Technica article: Physical weaknesses in memory chips that make computers and servers susceptible to hack attacks dubbed "Rowhammer" are more exploitable than previously thought and extend to DDR4 modules, not just DDR3, according to a recently published research paper. The paper, titled How Rowhammer Could Be Used to Exploit Weaknesses in Computer Hardware (PDF), arrived at that conclusion by testing the integrity of dual in-line memory modules, or DIMMs, using diagnostic techniques that hadn't previously been applied to finding the vulnerability. The tests showed many of the DIMMs were vulnerable to a phenomenon known as "bitflipping," in which 0s were converted to 1s and vice versa.

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How Many Digits of Pi Does NASA Use?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 09:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's piece-of-pi department:
An anonymous reader quotes an article on Kottke.org: Mathematicians have calculated pi out to more than 13 trillion decimal places, a calculation that took 208 days. NASA's Marc Rayman explains that in order to send out probes and slingshot them accurately throughout the solar system, NASA needs to use only 15 decimal places. Rayman explains, "The most distant spacecraft from Earth is Voyager 1. It is about 12.5 billion miles away. Let's say we have a circle with a radius of exactly that size (or 25 billion miles in diameter) and we want to calculate the circumference, which is pi times the radius times 2. Using pi rounded to the 15th decimal, as I gave above, that comes out to a little more than 78 billion miles. We don't need to be concerned here with exactly what the value is (you can multiply it out if you like) but rather what the error in the value is by not using more digits of pi. In other words, by cutting pi off at the 15th decimal point, we would calculate a circumference for that circle that is very slightly off. It turns out that our calculated circumference of the 25 billion mile diameter circle would be wrong by 1.5 inches. Think about that. We have a circle more than 78 billion miles around, and our calculation of that distance would be off by perhaps less than the length of your little finger."

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Scientists Are Developing the World's Biggest Wind Turbine With 656-Ft. Long Blades
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 09:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's mind-blowing department:
An anonymous reader writes from an LATimes article: Efforts to increase wind power mean that turbine blades are getting bigger and bigger. But a new design in the works takes the idea to levels most people can barely imagine: Blades up to 656.2 feet long -- more than two football fields. Today's longest blades are 262.5 feet. The blades at Imperial County's Ocotillo wind farm, which sends electricity to San Diego, are 173.9 feet long. "We call it the extreme scale," Eric Loth, a University of Virginia professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, said of the planned mega-blades. "There's nothing like it." The blades would look much different look from today's wind turbines. They wouldn't face the wind but would go downwind, aligning the blades to flow with the wind instead of fighting it. And instead of a single stiff blade, each blade would be broken into segments, allowing it to be more easily fabricated. In addition, the concept would allow the blades to "morph" -- spread out when the wind is blowing lightly to capture as much power as possible.

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Microsoft Working on Tool to Port Chrome Extensions to Edge
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 07:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's browsers-getting-better department:
Earlier this week, Microsoft released a new Windows 10 build for Insiders that, among other things, brings support for extensions to Microsoft Edge. There aren't many extensions to play with currently, but a Microsoft engineer says the company is working on a tool to allow developers to bring their Chrome extensions to its store. "Lots of questions on this," tweeted Jacob Rossi. "Yes we're working on a porting tool to run Chrome extensions in Edge. Not yet finished and not all APIs supported."

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Is $699 Too Much For a 13.3-inch Android E-ink Reader?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 06:11 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's to-each-according-to-his-needs department:
Robotech_Master writes: GoodEReader editor Michael Kozlowski is running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to sell a $699 13.3" Android e-ink tablet. The campaign seeks $42,000--enough to fund the 60-device minimum order set by the OEM. But is it really a good deal for that much money? As an early-adopter or business-class device, it very well might be.

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Cinema-Quality Unity Engine 'Adam' Demo Claims To Run Real-Time On GeForce GTX 980
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 04:53 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's leadering-to-better-graphics department:
MojoKid writes: This week at GDC 2016 the team at Unity revealed their stable release of the Unity 5.3.4 game engine along with a beta of Unity 5.4. There are a number of upgrades included with Unity 5.4 including in-editor artist workflow improvements, VR rendering pipeline optimizations, improved multithreaded rendering, customizable particles which can use Light Probe Proxy Volumes (LPPV) to add more realistic lighting models and the ability to drop in textures from tools like Quixel DDo Painter. But for a jaw-dropping look at what's possible with the Unity 5.4 engine, check out the short film "Adam" that Unity has developed to demo it. The film showcases all of Unity Engine 5.4's effects and gives a great look at what to expect from Unity-based games coming in 2016. Unity will showcase the full film at Unite Europe 2016 in Amsterdam. But what's most impressive about Adam perhaps is that Unity says that this is all being run in real-time at 1440p resolution on just an upper-midrange GeForce GTX 980 card.

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Laid-Off Abbott IT Workers Won't Have To Train Their Replacements
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '16 at 02:11 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's overlords-vary-in-their-demands department:
dcblogs writes: An angry letter from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) protesting Abbott Labs' IT employee layoff may be having an impact, but not the way the senator wanted. The layoffs are part of plan by Abbott to shift some IT work to India-based Wipro, a major user H-1B visas, and Abbott is proceeding with the cuts despite Durbin's plea "to reconsider this plan and retain these U.S. workers." Abbott put the number of impacted IT employees at "fewer than 150." Durbin's letter has it at 180. But Abbott may be making changes in how the layoffs are conducted. IT employees, who only spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they were initially told they would be training replacements. But Abbott said Friday that the "affected Abbott IT employees are not being asked to train their replacements." The firm's statement appears to confirm the latest employee accounts of what's going on. One worker said the replacement training may be limited to employees who aren't losing their jobs. The training of replacements was a major issue for Durbin. In his letter to the firm, Durbin wrote: "To add insult to injury, the Abbott Labs IT staff who will be laid off will first be forced to train their replacements."

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