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Turning the Arduino Uno Into an Apple ][
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what's-new-is-old department:
An anonymous reader writes: To demonstrate how powerful modern computers are compared to their forebears, engineer Damian Peckett decided to approximate an Apple ][ with an Arduino Uno. In this post, he explains how he did it, from emulating the 6502 processor to reinventing how characters were displayed on the screen. "The Apple II used a novel approach for video generation, at the time most microcomputers used an interlaced frame buffer where adjacent rows were not stored sequentially in memory. This made it easier to generate interlaced video. The Apple II took this approach one step further, using an 8:1 interlacing scheme. This had the first line followed by the ninth line. This approach allowed Steve Wozniak to avoid read/write collisions with the video memory without additional circuitry. A very smart hack!" Peckett includes code implementations and circuit diagrams.

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Google Rolls Out VP9 Encoding For YouTube
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 08:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's prettier-pictures-per-megabit department:
An anonymous reader writes: The YouTube engineering blog announced that they've begun encoding videos with Google's open VP9 codec. Their goal is to use the efficiency of VP9 to bring better quality video to people in low-bandwidth areas, and to spur uptake of 4K video in more developed areas. "[I]f your Internet connection used to only play up to 480p without buffering on YouTube, it can now play silky smooth 720p with VP9."

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GCC 5.0 To Support OpenMP 4.0, Intel Cilk Plus, C++14
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
An anonymous reader writes: GCC 5 is coming up for release in the next few weeks and is presenting an extraordinary number of new features: C11 support by default, experimental C++14 support, full C++11 support in libstdc++, OpenMP 4.0 with Xeon Phi / GPU offloading, Intel Cilk Plus multi-threading, new ARM processor support, Intel AVX-512 handling, and much more. This is a big release, so those wishing to test it ahead of time can obtain the preliminary GCC 5 source code from GCC's snapshots mirror.

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Stanford Develops Fast-Charging, Stable Aluminum Battery
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 06:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's current-events department:
An anonymous reader writes: Stanford researchers have announced the creation of an aluminum-ion battery that they say will charge quicker, last longer, and be generally safer than common lithium-ion batteries. "Aluminum has long been an attractive material for batteries, mainly because of its low cost, low flammability and high-charge storage capacity. For decades, researchers have tried unsuccessfully to develop a commercially viable aluminum-ion battery. A key challenge has been finding materials capable of producing sufficient voltage after repeated cycles of charging and discharging. ... For the experimental battery, the Stanford team placed the aluminum anode and graphite cathode, along with an ionic liquid electrolyte, inside a flexible, polymer-coated pouch." The researchers' main challenges now are getting the battery to produce a higher voltage and store energy at a higher densities.

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How Comcast Bankrolls Organizations That Support TWC Merger
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's money-talks-when-nobody-else-will department:
An anonymous reader writes: When Comcast announced it was pursuing a takeover of Time Warner Cable, many activists and internet users immediately submitted objections to the deal. Support came more slowly, but steadily, from organizations like the International Center for Law and Economics, and from politicians like Governor Phil Bryant (R-MS). Now, a NY Times report reveals that much of this support for the merger came in exchange for money from Comcast. Fortunately, even after spreading money around so liberally, Comcast is still struggling to find a coherent, believable message for regulators, and the deal is far from assured.

From the article: "Letters detailing the benefits of the Comcast deal were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission by staff members from Americans for Tax Reform, the American Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Policy Innovation, Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Free State Foundation and the Center for Individual Freedom, as well as by a professor at a technology program at the University of Pennsylvania, all of which received support from Comcast or its trade association, tax documents and other disclosures reviewed by The New York Times show. A similar pattern is evident with charities like the Urban League and more than 80 other community groups that supported the media company and that also accepted collectively millions of dollars in donations from the Comcast Foundation over the last five years, documents reviewed by The Times show."


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The Problem With Using End-to-End Web Crypto as a Cure-All
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nobody-reads-the-not-so-fine-print department:
fsterman writes: Since the Snowden revelations, end-to-end web encryption has become trendy. There are browser add-ons that bolt a PGP client onto webmail and both Yahoo and Google are planning to support PGP directly. They attempt to prevent UI spoofing with icons similar to the site-authentication banks use to combat phishing.

The problem is that a decade of research shows that users habituate to these icons and come to ignore them. An attacker can pull off UI spoofing with a 90%+ success rate.


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The Arrival of Man-Made Earthquakes
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what's-shakin' department:
An anonymous reader writes: The New Yorker has a long investigative report on a recent geological phenomenon: man-made earthquakes. The article describes how scientists painstakingly gathered data on the quakes, and then tried to find ways to communicate the results — which are quite definitive — to politicians who often have financial reasons to disbelieve them. Quoting: "Until 2008, Oklahoma experienced an average of one to two earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater each year. (Magnitude-3.0 earthquakes tend to be felt, while smaller earthquakes may be noticed only by scientific equipment or by people close to the epicenter.) In 2009, there were twenty. The next year, there were forty-two. In 2014, there were five hundred and eighty-five, nearly triple the rate of California.

In state government, oil money is both invisible and pervasive. In 2013, Mary Fallin, the governor, combined the positions of Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Environment. Michael Teague, whom she appointed to the position, when asked by the local NPR reporter Joe Wertz whether he believed in climate change, responded that he believed that the climate changed every day. Of the earthquakes, Teague has said that we need to learn more. Fallin's first substantive response came in 2014, when she encouraged Oklahomans to buy earthquake insurance. (However, many earthquake-insurance policies in the state exclude coverage for induced earthquakes.)"


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Uber's Hiring Plans Show Outlines of Self-Driving Car Project
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's joining-the-club department:
itwbennett writes The most interesting people that Uber is now hiring aren't drivers: they're engineers. The mobile ride-hailing app has listed a slew of jobs at its new Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. In particular, Uber is looking for engineers in the areas of robotics, machine learning, communications, traffic simulation, vehicle testing, and software and hardware development.

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Court Mulls Revealing Secret Government Plan To Cut Cell Phone Service
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 02:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-don't-want-to-talk-about-it department:
An anonymous reader writes with the latest in the ongoing legal battle over revealing details of Standing Operating Procedure 303, the government's plan to cut mobile phone service during an emergency. "A federal appeals court is asking the Obama administration to explain why the government should be allowed to keep secret its plan to shutter mobile phone service during 'critical emergencies.' The Department of Homeland Security came up with the plan—known as Standing Operating Procedure 303—after cellular phones were used to detonate explosives targeting a London public transportation system. SOP 303 is a powerful tool in the digital age, and it spells out a 'unified voluntary process for the orderly shut-down and restoration of wireless services during critical emergencies such as the threat of radio-activated improvised explosive devices.'"

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Build Your Own Satellite For Less Than $30K
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's on-the-cheap department:
schwit1 writes An industry of new cubesat builders can now build satellites for anyone for any reason for very little money. From the article: "The miniaturization of technology allows people to do more with less hardware, said Chad Anderson, the managing director of Space Angels Network, an investment house specializing in the space industry. That industry, he said, was worth $300bn (£200bn) last year. Constellations of smaller satellites, like those suggested as tracking devices for planes over oceans, are now a possibility. 'The launch costs are coming down and people leveraging today's technology are able to do more with less and launch less mass to orbit. The price point has come down to where start-ups and entrepreneurs can really make an impact on the scene for the first time,' he said." When the first tiny satellite launch companies arrive, expect this industry to blossom at an astonishing rate.

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Thousands Visit Trinity Test Site For 70th Anniversary of First Atomic Blast
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 12:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's big-boom-and-fun department:
HughPickens.com writes The NYT reports that thousands of visitors converged Saturday on the Trinity Test Site in New Mexico where the first nuclear bomb was detonated nearly 70 years ago. Many posed for pictures near an obelisk marking the exact location where the bomb went off and were also able to see a steel shell that was created as a backup plan to keep plutonium from spreading during the explosion. "It brought a quick end to World War II, and it ushered in the atomic age," Erin Dorrance said. "So out here in the middle of nowhere New Mexico changed the world 70 years ago." Pete Rosada, a Marine Corps veteran, drove with another military veteran from San Diego to make the tour. Rosada said he previously visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese targets of atomic bombs during World War II after the test at the Trinity Site. "This completes the loop," said Rosado.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Judge Allows Divorce Papers To Be Served Via Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-unfriend-you department:
An anonymous reader writes Want to divorce your husband or wife but can't give them the papers in person? Just use Facebook. No, apparently this isn't a late April Fools' joke. The New York Daily News reports Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper has allowed 26-year-old Ellanora Baidoo to serve her husband Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku divorce papers via a Facebook message. In fact, Baidoo won't even be the one sending the message. Her lawyer has been granted permission to message Blood-Dzraku using her account. "This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff's attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged," the ruling states.

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LG Accidentally Leaks Apple iMac 8K Is Coming Later This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 11:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's going-big department:
An anonymous reader writes LG accidentally revealed in blog post that Apple is planning to release a 8K iMac later this year. This news comes as a surprise as the leak came from a different company rather than Apple. LG is one of Apple's biggest display partners and has already demonstrated 8K monitors at CES in Las Vegas. They note that the panel boasts 16 times the number of pixels as a standard Full HD screen.

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The New Struggles Facing Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-not-easy department:
An anonymous reader writes in with this story about the open source movement's contentious beginnings and the points of trouble it faces today. "The early days of open source were fraught with religious animosities we feared would tear apart the movement: free software fundamentalists haggling with open source pragmatists over how many Apache licenses would fit on the head of a pin. But once commercial interests moved in to plunder for profit, the challenges faced by open source pivoted toward issues of control. While those fractious battles are largely over, giving way to an era of relative peace, this seeming tranquility may prove more dangerous to the open source movement than squabbling ever did. Indeed, underneath this superficial calm, plenty of tensions simmer. Some are the legacy of the past decade of open source warfare. Others, however, break new ground and arguably threaten open source far more than the GPL-vs.-Apache battle ever did."

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Hyundai To Release "Semi-Autonomous" Car This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's joinging-the-club department:
jfruh writes While self-driving cars from Google and others remain in the prototype stage, Korean carmaker Hyundai intends to release a premium sedan called the Equus this year that includes self-driving features. While a car's ability to navigate complex urban environments on its own is still a ways off, the Equus will allow the driver to take their hands off the wheel and feet off the brakes during highway driving.

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10 Years of Git: An Interview With Linus Torvalds
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 09:31 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's straight-from-the-horses-mouth department:
LibbyMC writes Git will celebrate its 10-year anniversary tomorrow. To celebrate this milestone, Linus shares the behind-the-scenes story of Git and tells us what he thinks of the project and its impact on software development. From the article: "Ten years ago this week, the Linux kernel community faced a daunting challenge: They could no longer use their revision control system BitKeeper and no other Software Configuration Management (SCMs) met their needs for a distributed system. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, took the challenge into his own hands and disappeared over the weekend to emerge the following week with Git. Today Git is used for thousands of projects and has ushered in a new level of social coding among programmers."

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Why Is the Internet Association Rewarding a Pro-NSA Net-Neutrality Opponent?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keep-your-enemies-closer department:
First time accepted submitter erier2003 writes The decision to give a major award to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is curious given McCarthy's many questionable stances on Internet-freedom issues. For one thing, the California congressman is an avowed opponent of net neutrality. In May 2014, as the Federal Communications Commission debated new net neutrality rules, McCarthy—then the House Majority Whip, the chamber's third-highest-ranking member—signed a House GOP letter to the FCC warning that Title II regulation represented "a counterproductive effort to even further regulate the Internet."

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Watching a "Swatting" Slowly Unfold
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's in-gory-detail department:
netbuzz writes That online gamers have been victimized has unfortunately allowed us to see what "swatting" looks like from the perspective of the target: terrifying and potentially deadly. A similar type of criminally unnecessary SWAT scene played out Saturday night when a caller to police in Hopkinton, Mass., claimed to be holed up in the town's closed public library with two hostages and a bomb. The library stands within eyesight of the starting line for the Boston Marathon. An editor for Network World, there by happenstance, watched for two hours, and, while it was a hoax and no one was hurt, his account highlights the disruption and wastefulness these crimes inflict.

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New Smartphone Camera Could Tell You What Things Are Made of
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 07:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's scan-me department:
Zothecula writes How would you like to be able to know the chemical composition of something, just by taking a snapshot or video of it with your smartphone? You may eventually be able to, thanks to a compact hyperspectral imaging camera being developed at Tel Aviv University. "Hyperspectral imaging involves scanning light spectra not visible to the human eye, in order to identify the unique electromagnetic 'fingerprints' of various substances and processes. While this can already be done with larger cameras, a team led by Tel Aviv's Prof. David Mendlovic is developing a much smaller optical component that could conceivably be built into a smartphone. It utilizes MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) technology, and is reportedly 'suitable for mass production and compatible with standard smartphone camera designs.'"

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Turkey Blocks Twitter, YouTube Access Over Image of Slain Prosecutor
Posted by News Fetcher on April 06 '15 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-likes-for-you department:
jaa101 writes ABC (Australia) reports Turkey has blocked access to Twitter and YouTube, over the publication of photographs of an Istanbul prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left militants hours before he was killed in a shootout last week. From the article: "Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said a prosecutor had sought the block on access to social media sites because some media organisations had acted 'as if they were spreading terrorist propaganda' in sharing the images. 'This has to do with the publishing of the prosecutor's picture. What happened in the aftermath [of the prosecutor's killing] is as grim as the incident itself,' said presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin."

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