By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-crazy-good-hardware department
At the ongoing Computex trade show in China, Asus unveiled the ZenBook 3 laptop. The ZenBook 3's chassis measures 11.9mm while the whole body weighs 910g. At the event, the company's executive said that ZenBook 3 is better than both MacBook Air and the 12-inch MacBook. As for the specifications, the ZenBook 3, which is crafted from aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, sports a 12.5-inch full-HD display (1920x1080 pixels), and offers up to Core i7 processor, 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, up to a 1TB PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD, a next-gen USB Type-C port (for power and data transfer), powerful quad-speaker audio by Harman Kardon, and a fingerprint scanner. Do note that there is only one USB port on the device. The entry-level variant featuring Core i5 processor, 256GB of SSD and 4GB of RAM is priced at 999, while the top-of-the-line model will set you back by $1,999. Asus also had nice things to say about the keyboard, though Engadget's reporter was not impressed. More details here.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's curious-case-of-bitcoin department
David Gilbert, reporting for IBTimes: Michell Espinoza, a 32-year-old computer programmer, was arrested for attempted money-laundering in 2014 when he sold $1,500 worth of bitcoin to undercover FBI agents who said they were going to use them to buy stolen credit cards. Now in a Florida courtroom, Espinoza and his lawyers are trying to get the charges dismissed on the grounds that bitcoin, under Florida law, should not be defined as actual money. (Editor's note: the source has annoying auto-playing videos. Alternatively you can use the link below.) This is thought to be the first case of its kind and the ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler will be watched with great interest not only in the U.S., but around the world. "This is the most fascinating thing I've heard in this courtroom in a long time," Pooler said on Friday. A ruling is not expected for several weeks yet.The report also cites the take of Charles Evans, Associate Professor of Finance and Economics at Barry University, who provided evidence on behalf of the defense and told the court that bitcoin, in his opinion, is not money. He said, "Basically, it's poker chips that people are willing to buy from you." Miami Herald has more details.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-more-powerful-devices department
An anonymous cites a story on The Verge: ARM, the company that designs the processor architectures used in virtually all mobile devices on the market, has used Computex Taipei 2016 to announce new products that it expects to see deployed in high-end phones next year. The Cortex-A73 CPU and Mali-G71 GPU are designed to increase performance and power efficiency, with a particular view to supporting mobile VR. ARM says that its Mali line of GPUs are the most widely used in the world, with over 750 million shipped in 2015. The new Mali-G71 is the first to use the company's third-generation architecture, known as Bifrost. The core allows for 50 percent higher graphics performance, 20 percent better power efficiency, and 40 percent more performance per square mm over ARM's previous Mali GPU. With scaling up to 32 shader cores, ARM says the Mali-G71 can match discrete laptop GPUs like Nvidia's GTX 940M. It's also been designed around the specific problems thrown up by VR, supporting features like 4K resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 4ms graphics pipeline latency.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's E-for-Victory department
An anonymous reader quotes an article from the Washington Post:
Jane Fawcett, a British code-breaker during World War II who deciphered a key German message that led to the sinking of the battleship Bismarck -- one of Britain's greatest naval victories during the war -- died May 21 at her home in Oxford, England. She was 95... Fluent in German and driven by curiosity, Mrs. Fawcett -- then known by her maiden name, Jane Hughes -- found work at Britain's top-secret code-breaking facility at Bletchley Park, about 50 miles northwest of London. Of the 12,000 people who worked there, about 8,000 were women. Bletchley Park later became renowned as the place where mathematician Alan Turing and others solved the puzzle of the German military's "Enigma machine," depicted in the 2014 film "The Imitation Game"...
The sinking of the Bismarck marked the first time that British code-breakers had decrypted a message that led directly to a victory in battle... Mrs. Fawcett's work was not made public for decades. Along with everyone else at Bletchley Park, she agreed to comply with Britain's Official Secrets Act, which imposed a lifetime prohibition on revealing any code-breaking activities.
Meanwhile, volunteers from The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park finally tracked down an original keyboard from the Lorenz machine used to encode top-secret messages between Hitler and his general. It was selling on eBay for 10 pounds, advertised as an old machine for sending telegrams.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's virtual-money department
Three cryptocurrency experts published a scientific paper Friday detailing seven attacks that could influence how the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) allocates its Ether funds. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes, "Coincidentally or not, they released their work with one day before funding for the DAO closed, and not surprisingly, Ether's price went down, devaluing the DAO from $150 million to $132 million."
From Softpedia: DAO is a crowdfunded project that works on the Ethereum network, a new crypto-currency network that deals with crypto-currency named Ether, which many experts say is better than Bitcoin's blockchain... Investors can submit funding proposals, on which the DAO users vote by submitting some of their tokens and a YES/NO vote. In the end, based on the tokens and YES/NO votes, the DAO's computer program decides on the outcome. Softpedia reports that the paper released Friday also suggests a series of mitigations to a design they say will "incentivize investors to behave strategically; that is, at odds with truthful voting on their preferences."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's proving-you're-not-a-robot department
Google's search engine for academic research materials is blocking many users with a malfunctioning captcha screen, according to complaints on a Google help forum. "I'm a doctoral student and a professor, which means I use this extensively. Now I'm blocked from using it at all, even after answering all of the stupid image questions (3 times)," reads a typical complaint.
Heart44 writes: A lot of researchers when using Google Scholar are being asked to prove they are not a robot. You have to find all the rivers (but not the sea or lakes) or all street numbers (but not other numbers) or all the store fronts from nine poor quality images, sometimes more than once and, surprise, you will fail more than two thirds of the time and then just get an error 400 "Malformed request, that's all we know". You are offered an audio challenge but clicking on that simply loads more pictures... Is that the best they can do distinguishing between man and machine?
One post ended by stating succinctly "I'm not a robot, I'm an academic professional, and this process is wasting nontrivial amounts of my time. How do I stop it?"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's critical-updates department
Some Windows users are now disabling critical updates on their systems rather than face the prospect of mistakenly upgrading to Windows 10. An anonymous reader writes:
"By pushing it on users in such a heavy-handed way, Microsoft is encouraging users who have very valid reasons to stick with Windows 7/8 to perform actions that leave their machines open to attack," writes PC World's senior editor. He adds that "Over the past week, I've received more contact from readers about this issue than I have about everything else I've written over the rest of my career combined."
Now even China's official news agency is reporting that users are angry about stealthy Windows 10 upgrades, saying over 1.2 million complaints appeared on one microblogging site. It quotes a legal advisor with the Internet Society of China, who says Microsoft "has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play," saying that lawsuits would be justified over Microsoft's action. "Yang Shuo, a worker at a Beijing-based public relations company, told Xinhua that the sudden update interrupted his drafting of a business plan and led to a meeting cancellation for a deal worth 3 million yuan ($457,735). 'Just because I didn't see the pop-up reminder does not mean I agreed.'"
In a possibly-unrelated development, the Chinese military plans to send nuclear submarines into the Pacific Ocean.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's transitioning-transitors department
"Get ready for some big changes in the 'silicon' of Silicon Valley," writes tech CEO Narbeh Derhacobian who argues that the need to build tens of billions of connected sensor devices will change the way computers get built. "Just like smartphone owners like to pick and choose which apps they want, IoT manufacturers may want to shop for components individually without being locked into a single fab." An anonymous reader summarizes his article on TechCrunch:
Thousands of different hardware devices, each selling around one million units, "would suggest the need for a much greater diversity of chip configurations than we've seen to date." Currently smartphones are engineered using a "System on a Chip" design where all the components are "locked into a single manufacturing process," but Derhacobian predicts chip manufacturers will continue a trend of moving towards a "System in a Package" approach -- "packing components closely together, without the complete, end-to-end integration... In a smart, connected world, sensor requirements could vary greatly from factory to factory, not to mention between industries as varied as agriculture, urban planning and automotive."
"In some ways, the great trends of the PC and smartphone eras were toward standardization of devices. Apple's great vision was understanding that people prefer a beautiful, integrated package, and don't need many choices in hardware. But in software it's generally the opposite. People have different needs, and want to select the apps and programs that work best for them."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's cyberpunked department
68-year-old science fiction author William Gibson just released a complicated new science fiction comic book, and this weekend Ars Technica proclaimed that "the results are grand". An anonymous reader shares their report:
A father and son occupy the new White House as President and Vice President. We never meet dad, but his son -- an evil jerk by the name of Junior Henderson -- has been surgically altered to resemble his grandfather, because Junior is about travel to an alternate Earth in 1945 to take grandpa's place, with the intent of remaking that world more to his liking (and, presumably, to prevent whatever it was that laid waste to the one we start off in)...The world is in ruins. The White House relocated to the ominous-sounding National Emergency Federal District in Montana. They have technology that far outstrips our own...
"It's an alternate-history/cross-worlds story," Gibson writes... "And I wouldn't want to spoil too much of the frame, because that's an inherent part of our narrative. But I will say that one of the first verbal tags we had for the material was 'Band Of Brothers vs. Blackwater.'"
On his Twitter feed, Gibson is also applauding the news that Marvel and DC comics abandoned a two and a half year legal battle to enforce their trademark on the word "superhero" against a publisher in the U.K.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Is-Denver-The-Next-High-Tech-Center? department
An anonymous reader write: "The spread of the tech industry outside Silicon Valley has helped make Denver the fastest-growing large city in the U.S.," reports the New Yorker, saying it's now growing faster than Austin and Seattle, becoming one of America's 20 most populous cities. Cost-conscious investors and tech executives now are opening offices in cheaper "secondary cities" outside of Silicon Valley, like Salt Lake City, and the good universities near Denver mean a well-educated workforce, coupled with a low cost of living.
"Though the city isn't the headquarters for any big tech companies -- like Dell in the Austin area or Microsoft and Amazon in Seattle -- several of them, including IBM and Oracle, have offices here. The presence of those offices, and of the universities, has also helped create a vibrant startup scene: people get educated here or come here for jobs, and then they graduate or leave those jobs and become entrepreneurs." Last year venture capitalists invested $800 million in Demver's tech, energy, food, and marijuana companies, and in 2014 Oracle paid over a billion dollars to acquire Denver-based Datalogix.
Anyone else live in a burgeoning "secondary" tech city? Scott McNealy said he co-founded his data-analysis startup in Denver because in California "The prices of everything have skyrocketed. The regulations. The pension deficit. The traffic. It's just not a fun place to go start."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I'm-feeling-lucky department
An anonymous reader quotes an article from The Verge.
Inventor Ray Kurzweil made his name as a pioneer in technology that helped machines understand human language, both written and spoken. In a video from a recent Singularity conference Kurzweil says he and his team at Google are building a chatbot, and that it will be released sometime later this year... "My team, among other things, is working on chatbots. We expect to release some chatbots you can talk to later this year."
One of the bots will be named Danielle, and according to Kurzweil, it will draw on dialog from a character named Danielle, who appears in a novel he wrote -- a book titled, what else, Danielle... He said that anyone will be able to create their own unique chatbot by feeding it a large sample of your writing, for example by letting it ingest your blog. This would allow the bot to adopt your "style, personality, and ideas."
Kurzweil also predicted that we won't see AIs with full "human-level" language abilities until 2029, "But you'll be able to have interesting conversations before that."Read Replies (0)