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AMD Unveils Carrizo APU With Excavator Core Architecture
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's trying-to-catch-up department:
MojoKid writes: AMD just unveiled new details about their upcoming Carrizo APU architecture. The company is claiming the processor, which is still built on Global Foundries' 28nm 28SHP node like its predecessor, will nonetheless deliver big advances in both performance and efficiency. When it was first announced, AMD detailed support for next generation Radeon Graphics (DX12, Mantle, and Dual Graphics support), H.265 decoding, full HSA 1.0 support, and ARM Trustzone compatibility. But perhaps one of the biggest advantages of Carrizo is the fact that the APU and Southbridge are now incorporated into the same die; not just two separates dies built into and MCM package.

This not only improves performance, but also allows the Southbridge to take advantage of the 28SHP process rather than older, more power-hungry 45nm or 65nm process nodes. In addition, the Excavator cores used in Carrizo have switched from a High Performance Library (HPL) to a High Density Library (HDL) design. This allows for a reduction in the die area taken up by the processing cores (23 percent, according to AMD). This allows Carrizo to pack in 29 percent more transistors (3.1 billion versus 2.3 billion in Kaveri) in a die size that is only marginally larger (250mm2 for Carrizo versus 245mm2 for Kaveri). When all is said and done, AMD is claiming a 5 percent IPC boost for Carrizo and a 40 percent overall reduction in power usage.


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The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's love-affairs-with-dead-trees department:
HughPickens.com writes: Michael Rosenwald writes in the WaPo that textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer reading on paper for pleasure and learning. This bias surprises reading experts, given the same group's proclivity to consume most other content digitally. "These are people who aren't supposed to remember what it's like to even smell books," says Naomi S. Baron. "It's quite astounding." Earlier this month, Baron published Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, a book that examines university students' preferences for print and explains the science of why dead-tree versions are often superior to digital (PDF).

Her conclusion: readers tend to skim on screens, distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers. Researchers say readers remember the location of information simply by page and text layout — that, say, the key piece of dialogue was on that page early in the book with that one long paragraph and a smudge on the corner. Researchers think this plays a key role in comprehension — something that is more difficult on screens, primarily because the time we devote to reading online is usually spent scanning and skimming, with few places (or little time) for mental markers.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Firefox 36 Arrives With Full HTTP/2 Support, New Design For Android Tablets
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 36 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions to the browser include some security improvements, better HTML 5 support, and a new tablet user interface on Android. The biggest news for the browser is undoubtedly HTTP/2 support, the roadmap for which Mozilla outlined just last week. Mozilla plans to keep various draft levels of HTTP/2, already in Firefox, for a few versions. These will be removed "sometime in the near future." The full changelog is here.

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FedEx Won't Ship DIY Gunsmithing Machine
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-can't-get-there-from-here department:
An anonymous reader writes Last fall, Defense Distributed — the company created by Cody Wilson of 3D-printed gun fame — announced a DIY gunsmithing machine called the Ghost Gunner. Now, FedEx is refusing to ship the device, saying there are laws or regulations that would prohibit them from shipment. A FedEx spokesperson said, "This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals. We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments. As such, to ensure we comply with the applicable law and regulations, FedEx declined to ship this device until we know more about how it will be regulated." Wilson argues, "They’re acting like this is legal when in fact it’s the expression of a political preference. The artifact that they’re shipping is a CNC mill. There’s nothing about it that is specifically related to firearms except the hocus pocus of the marketing."

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Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-argue-about-oil-some-more department:
An anonymous reader writes: As expected, President Obama has vetoed a bill that would have given the green light for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. "By saying no to the legislation, Mr. Obama retains the authority to make a final judgment on the pipeline on his own timeline. The White House has said the president would decide whether to allow the pipeline when all of the environmental and regulatory reviews are complete. ... Since 2011, the proposed Keystone pipeline, which would deliver up to 800,000 barrels daily of heavy petroleum from the oil sands of Alberta to ports and refineries on the Gulf Coast, has emerged as a broader symbol of the partisan political clash over energy, climate change and the economy."

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Can Tracking Employees Improve Business?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's he-hasn't-gotten-out-of-his-chair-for-11-hours-i-think-he-might-be-dead department:
An anonymous reader writes: The rise of wearable technologies and big-data analytics means companies can track their employees' behavior if they think it will improve the bottom line. Now an MIT Media Lab spinout called Humanyze has raised money to expand its technology pilots with big companies. The startup provides sensor badges and analytics software that tracks how and when employees communicate with customers and each other. Pilots with Bank of America and Deloitte have led to significant business improvements, but workplace privacy is a big concern going forward.

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Study: Peanut Consumption In Infancy Helps Prevent Peanut Allergy
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's reasons-to-force-feed-your-child-peanuts department:
Mr D from 63 writes:
According to a report from the Associated Press, "For years, parents of babies who seem likely to develop a peanut allergy have gone to extremes to keep them away from peanut-based foods. Now a major study suggests that is exactly the wrong thing to do. Here's the published paper in the New England Journal of Medicine. It's interesting how this peanut allergy fear is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The situation involves a complete misconception of risk by many parents, and probably it doesn't stop at peanuts. Is there a bigger underlying problem here?

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NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can-trust-us department:
jfruh writes: This may not come as a huge shock, but the director of the NSA doesn't believe that you have the right to encrypt your data in a way that the government can't access it. At a cybersecurity policy event, Michael Rogers said that the U.S. should be able to craft a policy that allows the NSA and law enforcement agencies to read encrypted data when they need to.

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Using Microfinance to Develop Coding Talent (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 11:00 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's by-their-bootstraps department:
Here's a quote from the CodersTrust website: 'CodersTrust is the brainchild of Ferdinand Kjærulff. As a Captain of the Danish army he served as recovery officer in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. He pioneered a recovery project with the allied forces, bringing internet and e-learning to the citizens of the region in which he was stationed. The project was a massive success and inspired him to eventually create CodersTrust – supported by Danida – with a vision to democratize access to education via the internet on a global scale.' A lofty vision, indeed. But with help from the original microfinance company, Grameen Bank, and the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), it seems to be coming true. Note: If you click the "Read" button below this paragraph, the video interview will play automatically.

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Facebook AI Director Discusses Deep Learning, Hype, and the Singularity
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-like-this department:
An anonymous reader writes In a wide-ranging interview with IEEE Spectrum, Yann LeCun talks about his work at the Facebook AI Research group and the applications and limitations of deep learning and other AI techniques. He also talks about hype, 'cargo cult science', and what he dislikes about the Singularity movement. The discussion also includes brain-inspired processors, supervised vs. unsupervised learning, humanism, morality, and strange airplanes.

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18 Months On, Grand Theft Auto V's Mount Chiliad Mystery Remains Unsolved
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-sense-of-profundity-may-vary department:
An anonymous reader writes One of GTA V's juiciest easter eggs is one that gamers have still yet to crack: the symbols on San Andreas' huge mountain that seem to suggest a jetpack is buried somewhere within it. As the game's PC launch — and presumable final uncovering as modders raid the game's code — nears, a new article looks at the lengths conspiracy theorists have gone in a bid to locate it, waiting entire in-game lunar cycles at points of interest on the map, trying to complete the game without killing anybody and even attempting to trigger earthquakes in Los Santos. Will it all have been for nothing?

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H-1B Visas Proving Lucrative For Engineers, Dev Leads
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's quick-get-the-pitchforks department:
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes Ever wanted to know how much H-1B holders make per year? Developer Swizec Teller, who is about to apply for an H-1B visa, took data from the U.S. Department of Labor and visualized it in a series of graphs that break down H-1B salaries on a state-by-state basis. Teller found that the average engineer with an H-1B makes $87,000 a year, a good deal higher than developers ($74,000) and programmers ($61,000) with the same visa. ("Don't call yourself a programmer," he half-joked on Twitter.) Architects, consultants, managers, administrators, and leads with H-1Bs can likewise expect six-figure annual salaries, depending on the state and company. Teller's site is well worth checking out for the interactive graphs, which he built with React and D3.js. The debate over H-1Bs is an emotional one for many tech pros, and research into the visa's true impact on the U.S. labor market wasn't helped by the U.S. Department of Labor's recent decision to destroy H-1B records after five years. "These are the only publicly available records for researchers to analyze on the demand by employers for H-1B visas with detail information on work locations," Neil Ruiz, who researches visa issues for The Brookings Institution, told Computerworld after the new policy was announced in late 2014.

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UK Scientists Claim 1Tbps Data Speed Via Experimental 5G Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hefty-overages department:
Mark.JUK writes A team of Scientists working at the University of Surrey in England claim to have achieved, via an experimental lab test, performance of 1Tbps (Terabit per second) over their candidate for a future 5G Mobile Broadband technology. Sadly the specifics of the test are somewhat unclear, although it's claimed that the performance was delivered by using 100MHz of radio spectrum bandwidth over a distance of 100 metres. The team, which forms part of the UK Government's 5G Innovation Centre, is supported by most of the country's major mobile operators as well as BT, Samsung, Fujitsu, Huawei, the BBC and various other big names in telecoms, media and mobile infrastructure. Apparently the plan is to take the technology outside of the lab for testing between 2016 and 2017, which would be followed by a public demo in early 2018. In the meantime 5G solutions are still being developed, with most in the early experimental stages, by various different teams around the world. Few anticipate a commercial deployment happening before 2020 and we're still a long way from even defining the necessary standard.

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Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's start-your-own department:
Ellie K writes As of 23 March 2015, Google will remove blogs on its Blogger platform that don't conform to its new anti-adult policies. This is an abrupt reversal of policy. Until today, Google allowed "images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity," and stated that "Censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression." The linked article quotes the message which has been sent to Blogger users thus: (...) In the coming weeks, we'll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video. We'll still allow nudity presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or presented where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content.
The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted, but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the blog will be able to see the content we've made private.


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Valve To Reveal Virtual Reality Dev Kit Next Week At GDC
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they-want-your-eyeballs department:
An anonymous reader writes Gaming giant Valve has been researching augmented and virtual reality for some time. Early on, the company worked closely with Oculus, sharing research findings and even adding support for TF2 to Oculus' first VR headset, the DK1, back in 2013. After demonstrating their own prototype VR headset at Steam Dev Days in early 2014, and then a modified version later in the year, Valve is now ready to take the wraps off a 'previously unannounced ... SteamVR Dev Kit,' which will make its debut at GDC next week. SteamVR is the name of the software adaptation of Steam's 'Big Picture' mode that the company revealed early last year, allowing players to browse their Steam library and play supported games all in virtual reality.

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Attention, Rockstar Developers: Get a Talent Agent
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's there-will-be-no-green-m&ms department:
ErichTheRed writes OK, we all know that there are a lot of developers and IT people in the field who shouldn't be, and finding really good people and hanging onto them is very difficult. However, I almost fell out of my chair reading this breathless article suggesting that developers hire agents. I grant the authors that recruiters are sometimes the only way to cut through the HR jungle in some companies, but outside of the hot San Francisco startup market, can you imagine a "10x rockstar developer" swaggering into a job interview with his negotiating team? I'm sure our readers can cite plenty of examples of these types who were only 10x in their own minds...

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Police Use DNA To Generate a Suspect's Face
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 05:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-the-generic-looking-ones-you've-gotta-watch department:
An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times has a pair of articles about a technology now being used in police investigations: computer generation of a suspect's face from only their DNA. Law enforcement in South Carolina had no pictures or descriptions of a man who murdered a mother and her daughter, but they had some of his DNA. From this, a company named Parabon NanoLabs used a technique called DNA phenotyping to create a rough portrait of the suspect's facial features, which the police then shared with the public.

The accuracy of these portraits is still an area of hot debate — most of them look rather generic. The NY Times staff tested it with a couple of their employees, circulating the DNA-inspired portraits and seeing if people could guess who it was supposed to be. None of the ~50 employees were able to identify reporter John Markoff, and only about 10 were able to identify video journalist Catherine Spangler. But even though the accuracy for a person's entire face is low, techniques for specific attributes, like eye color, have improved greatly. Of course, the whole situation raises a slew of civil liberties questions: "What traits are off limits? Should the authorities be able to test whether a suspect has a medical condition or is prone to violence should such testing be possible?"


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Pakistanis Must Provide Fingerprints Or Give Up Cellphone
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '15 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's must-donate-kidney-to-keep-tablet department:
schwit1 sends this report from the Washington Post: Cellphones didn't just arrive in Pakistan. But someone could be fooled into thinking otherwise, considering the tens of millions of Pakistanis pouring into mobile phone stores these days. In one of the world's largest — and fastest — efforts to collect biometric information, Pakistan has ordered cellphone users to verify their identities through fingerprints for a national database being compiled to curb terrorism. If they don't, their service will be shut off, an unthinkable option for many after a dozen years of explosive growth in cellphone usage here.

Prompted by concerns about a proliferation of illegal and untraceable SIM cards, the directive is the most visible step so far in Pakistan's efforts to restore law and order after Taliban militants killed 150 students and teachers at a school in December. Officials said the six terrorists who stormed the school in Peshawar were using cellphones registered to one woman who had no obvious connection to the attackers.


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How One Developer Got the Internet To Watch People Code
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '15 at 11:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's next-year-we'll-all-be-crowdcoding department:
blottsie writes: While Twitch TV is generally used for livestreaming gameplay, Alexander Putilin has other plans for the platform. Putilin and his girlfriend are using Twitch to build a community of software developers and students who broadcast complex floating point operations and algorithm design to the rest of the world. The community is responding and growing alongside its newfound popularity. WatchPeopleCode is now facilitating live hackathons (there was one this weekend), enabling programmers to meet and collaborate with people that they'd otherwise never be able to.

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Intel Moving Forward With 10nm, Will Switch Away From Silicon For 7nm
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '15 at 09:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ever-smaller-ever-faster department:
An anonymous reader writes: Intel has begun talking about its plans for future CPU architectures. The company is already working on a 10nm manufacturing process, and expects the first such chips to be ready by early 2017. Beyond that, things are getting difficult. Intel says it will need to move away from silicon when it develops a 7nm process. "The most likely replacement for silicon is a III-V semiconductor such as indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs), though Intel hasn't provided any specific details yet." Even the current 14nm chips they're making ran into unexpected difficulties. "While Intel didn't provide any specifics, we strongly suspect that we're looking at the arrival of transistors based on III-V semiconductors. III-V semiconductors have higher electron mobility than silicon, which means that they can be fashioned into smaller and faster (as in higher switching speed) transistors."

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