By msmash from Slashdot's not-the-onion department
An anonymous reader writes from a BBC article: "I'm just a farmer's wife," says Christine Conder, modestly. But for 2,300 members of the rural communities of Lancashire she is also a revolutionary internet pioneer. Her DIY solution to a neighbour's internet connectivity problems in 2009 has evolved into B4RN, an internet service provider offering fast one gigabit per second broadband speeds to the parishes which nestle in the picturesque Lune Valley. That is 35 times faster than the 28.9 Mbps average UK speed internet connection according to Ofcom. It all began when the trees which separated Chris's neighbouring farm from its nearest wireless mast -- their only connection to the internet, provided by Lancaster University -- grew too tall. Something more robust was required, and no alternatives were available in the area, so Chris decided to take matters into her own hands. She purchased a kilometre of fibre-optic cable and commandeered her farm tractor to dig a trench. After lighting the cable, the two farms were connected, with hers feeding the one behind the trees. "We dug it ourselves and we lit [the cable] ourselves and we proved that ordinary people could do it," she says. "It wasn't rocket science. It was three days of hard work."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's projections department
Microsoft's $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn could help the Redmond company become the first technology giant to reach a market value of $1 trillion, or so thinks a notable analyst. Analyst Michael Markowski believes that Microsoft will be able to leverage LinkedIn to become a leader in social media space and the emerging crowdfunding platform. So much so that it will beat Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook in becoming the first company to hit $1 trillion market value. From a report on GeekWire: Here are the market caps of these big tech companies as of Monday morning: Apple: $622.6B, Alphabet: $549.7B, Microsoft: $489.3B, Amazon: $358.7B, and Facebook: $337.6B. "The public has an insatiable appetite for making small bets and purchasing lottery tickets, etc., that provide the chance to make a big profit," Markowski wrote. "The millennials will be a good example. Many will want to routinely invest $100 or even less into high-risk ventures that could produce returns of 10X to 100X." Microsoft, through LinkedIn, will be able to take advantage of this trend because it has a monopoly on the business social media sphere. Markowski predicts that all the big tech companies will eventually build services to facilitate crowdfunding investments.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's no-more department
For years, an "entrepreneurial spirit" kept several of abandoned articles on Wikipedia afloat. The WikiProject called Abandoned Articles, which sought to bring abandoned articles back to life, or "if appropriate, merging information or recommending deletion"
is no more...for a long time. From an article on the Outline: A few editors are still listed as active, but most don't actively edit articles anymore. The few I tried to contact didn't get back to me. One email address I found bounced back. Many seem to have moved on with their lives. The concept of "abandoned" Wikipedia articles, one finds, when one peruses the Abandoned project for a few minutes, is sort of outmoded. Back in 2007, when the project was really last active, Wikipedia was a much different place. One user who occasionally edited "stub" articles -- those with little to no content, often the first on the chopping block for deletion because of their lack of "relevance" -- told me that "back then Wikipedia was a lot emptier. It was occasionally possible to find, like, sort of significant people or whatever -- a photographer -- whose entire Wikipedia entry amounted to the work of two people." Now that Wikipedia averages, according to its own statistics, 10 edits per second and 800 new articles a day, a group dedicated to articles that are dormant -- not deleted, simply left to grow over with weeds -- seems almost quaint. In fact, of the many articles still listed as needing to be adopted, almost none are currently abandoned: Straight Face was deleted in December 2007; Pavane got further disambiguated; "From a View to a Kill" was inhaled into the greater entry for For Your Eyes Only, a short story collection by Ian Fleming; likewise, Forward Link was added to the larger entry for "Telecommunications link."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's about-time department
HandBrake, popular open source video transcoder, has finally hit version 1.0.0 affter spending roughly more than 13 years in development. HandBrake 1.0.0 brings tons of new presets and support for more devices and file types. From a report: HandBrake 1.0.0 comes with new web and MKV presets. The official presets from HandBrake 0.10.x can be found under 'Legacy.' New Jason-based preset system, including command line support, has been added. The additional features of HandBrake are title/chapter selection, queuing up multiple encodes, chapter markers, subtitles, different video filters, and video preview. Just in case you have a compatible Skylake or later CPU, Intel QuickSync Video H.265/HEVC encoder support brings performance improvements. HandBrake 1.0.0 also brings along new online documentation beta. It's written in a simple and easy-to-understand language.You can download it here.Read Replies (0)
Some Pixels Have Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on December 26 '16 at 05:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Android-issues department
An anonymous reader quotes Tech Times:
Pixel owners have so far reported on camera issues, audio issues, LTE band 4 connectivity problems and others, but the random freezing remains among the most persistent ones. While most previous issues have already received a fix, users have been complaining about the Google Pixel or Pixel XL randomly freezing since November and it seems Google has yet to get to the bottom of this. The official Pixel User Community forum has a long thread on the matter and the discussion started a good while back [in early November]...
[U]sers reporting on the Pixel Community Forum run different apps and they haven't found a common denominator just yet, and some don't have any third-party apps at all, further suggesting that the issue might not be caused by a third-party app. On the other hand, some Pixel owners got rid of this issue by uninstalling a third-party app called Live360 Family Locator, but others didn't even have the app installed and still experienced the issues.
Despite the problems, "most Pixel owners thus far have been quite pleased with their device," notes BGR -- though Softpedia also reports on some users complaining about "static and distorted sounds when at the three highest volume levels."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's feeling-like-a-kid department
"The human brain reaches its adult volume by age 10, but the neurons that make it up continue to change for years after that," reports the New York Times, citing a new paper by neuroscience researchers that questions when "adulthood" really begins. An anonymous reader writes:
One of the paper's authors -- an associate psychology professor at Harvard -- tells CNN that "There is no agreed-on benchmark that, when reached, would allow a neuroscientist to say 'Aha! This brain is fully developed'. However, it is safe to say that by almost any metric, the brain is continuing to develop actively well past the age of 18..."
"Some children, researchers have found, have neural networks that look as if they belong to an adult..." adds the Times, noting that adolescents also "do about as well as adults on cognition tests, for instance. But if they're feeling strong emotions, those scores can plummet. The problem seems to be that teenagers have not yet developed a strong brain system that keeps emotions under control."
And this cuts both ways, according to a psychologist at Temple University who wants the voting age lowered to 16. ("Sixteen-year-olds are just as good at logical reasoning as older people are," he tells the Times) But he also believes judges should consider the lack of emotional control when sentencing defendants -- even if they're in their early 20s. "Most crime situations that young people are involved in are emotionally arousing situations -- they're scared, or they're angry, intoxicated or whatever."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Bob-Cratchit-vs-Scrooge department
In early December, Carnival Corp. told about 200 IT employees that the company was transferring their work to Capgemini, a large IT outsourcing firm. The employees had a choice: Either agree to take a job with the contractor or leave without severance. The employees had until the week before Christmas to make a decision about their future with the cruise line. By agreeing to a job with Paris-based Capgemini, employees are guaranteed employment for six months, said Roger Frizzell, a Carnival spokesman. "Our expectation is that many will continue to work on our account or placed into other open positions within Capgemini" that go well beyond the six-month period, he said in an email.
Senior IT engineer Matthew Culver told CBS that the requested "knowledge transfer activities" just meant training their own replacements, and "he isn't buying any of it," writes Slashdot reader dcblogs.
"After receiving his offer letter from Capgemini, he sent a counteroffer. It asked for $500,000...and apology letters to all the affected families," signed by the company's CEO. In addition, the letter also demanded a $100,000 donation to any charity that provides services to unemployed American workers. "I appreciate your time and attention to this matter, and I sincerely hope that you can fulfill these terms." And he's also working directly with a lawyer for an advocacy group that aims to "stop the abuse of H-1B and other foreign worker programs."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's long-term-projects department
Long-time Slashdot reader Jim Hall -- part of GNOME's board of directors -- has a Christmas gift. Since 1994 he's been overseeing an open source project that maintains a replacement for the MS-DOS operating system, and has just announced the release of the "updated, more modern" FreeDOS 1.2!
[Y]ou'll find a few nice surprises. FreeDOS 1.2 now makes it easier to connect to a network. And you can find more tools and games, and a few graphical desktop options including OpenGEM. But the first thing you'll probably notice is the all-new new installer that makes it much easier to install FreeDOS. And after you install FreeDOS, try the FDIMPLES program to install new programs or to remove any you don't want. Official announcement also available at the FreeDOS Project blog.
FreeDOS also lets you play classic DOS games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem, and Jill of the Jungle -- and today marks a very special occasion, since it's been almost five years since the release of FreeDos 1.1. "If you've followed FreeDOS, you know that we don't have a very fast release cycle," Jim writes on his blog. "We just don't need to; DOS isn't exactly a moving target anymore..."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's rays-of-hope department
Slashdot reader rpavlicek writes, "Research done by MIT late this year has shown that light signals can improve the brain's neuron gamma frequency which can reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease (by removing brain plaque). Beneficial effects were found in both intercranial and optical stimuli." The Los Angeles Times reports:
New research demonstrates that, in mice whose brains are under attack by Alzheimer's dementia, exposure to lights that flicker at a precise frequency can right the brain's faulty signaling and energize its immune cells to fight off the disease... In mice, these effects were limited to the visual cortex. In humans with Alzheimer's, that's not one of the brain regions that gets gummed up early or significantly by amyloid plaques. But the authors of the new research held out hope that the light therapy might induce gamma oscillations, or their immune-boosting effect, more broadly in human brains, or that some change in delivery of the light might extend its effects to brain regions, such as the hippocampus, that are profoundly affected by Alzheimer's.
A startup has already approached the FDA seeking clinical trials, and the L.A. Times adds that "Even if the new research does not yield a treatment for Alzheimer's, it is expected to deepen understanding of a key player in the disease -- the brain's dedicated immune system -- and point to ways it can be used to fight the disease."Read Replies (0)