Difference between revisions of "Podcasts"

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Revision as of 00:33, 8 December 2009

  • Windows Desktop Market Share Drops Below 90%

    An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat's new article about desktop operating systems: Windows 7 is still the king, but it no longer holds the majority. Nine months after Windows 10's release, Windows 7 has finally fallen below 50 percent market share and Windows XP has dropped into single digits. While this is good news for Microsoft, April was actually a poor month for Windows overall, which for the first time owned less than 90 percent of the market, according to the latest figures from Net Applications.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • What Happened to Google Maps?

    Google Maps has reduced the number of cities it shows by up to 83% over the past few years, according to Justin O'Beirne. Maps, in addition, has increased the number of roads it showcases. O'Beirne, who writes about digital maps, in a blog post outlines the changes Google has made to its mapping and navigation service over the years. The side-by-side screenshots comparison on his blog post shows that Google has largely abandoned labelling towns and cities in favor of showing as many roads as it can. He has also looked into several elements of Maps from the design standpoint, and questioned Google's decision. He writes: If these roads were so important that they deserved to be upgraded in appearance, why weren't they also given shield icons? After all, an unlabeled road is only half as useful as a labeled one. [...] [Comparing Google Maps to a paper map] Even though it's from the early 1960s, the old print map has so much more information than the Google Map. So many more cities. So many more road labels. And the text size is comparable between the two. O'Beirne believes that Google has made these changes to better serve mobile users. "Unfortunately, these 'optimizations' only served to exacerbate the longstanding imbalances already in the maps," he writes. "As is often the case with cartography: less isn't more. Less is just less."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • CV of Failures: Princeton Professor Publishes Resume of His Career Lows

    An anonymous reader shares a Guardian report: A professor at Princeton University has published a CV listing his career failures (PDF), in an attempt to "balance the record" and encourage others to keep trying in the face of disappointment. Johannes Haushofer, who is an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at the university in New Jersey, posted his unusual CV on Twitter last week. The document contains sections titled Degree programs I did not get into , Research funding I did not get and Paper rejections from academic journals. Haushofer writes: Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days. This CV of Failures is an attempt to balance the record and provide some perspective. He added another section called "Meta-Failures" to his resume, writing, "This darn CV of Failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • RIP Kuro5hin

    themusicgod1 writes: Can we please get a moment of silence? Long-time sister site to Slashdot, Kuro5hin has finally gone offline.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • Government Could Ban BBC From Showing Top Shows at Peak Times

    An anonymous reader writes: The BBC is on a collision course with the government over reported efforts to bar it from showing popular shows at peak viewing times. The culture secretary, John Whittingdale, is widely expected to ban the broadcaster from going head-to-head with commercial rivals as part of the BBC charter review. He is due to publish a white paper within weeks that will set out a tougher regime as part of a new royal charter to safeguard the service for another 11 years. ITV has complained about licence fee money being used to wage a ratings battle with it and other channels funded by advertising. A source at the BBC said the public would be deeply concerned if it were forced to move programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Sherlock from prime time weekend slots.In some unrelated news, Clarkson, Hammond, and May are still figuring out the name for their new show.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • Apple's Smartwatch Draws Competition And A Very Bad Review

    Apple's share of the smartwatch market actually started declining in 2016, dropping down to just 52.4% (down from 63%), according to Business Insider. And following up on Apple's first drop in earnings in over 10 years, Slashdot reader Zanadou shares a Gizmodo's latest story about the Apple Watch. "I stopped wearing it two months ago, and I'm not sure if I'll ever wear it again. That's because it doesn't really do anything that anyone needs, and even when it does, it doesn't always work like it's supposed to. Here are some things I learned over the past year of strapping the screen vibrator to my wrist." The article describes wanting to try a new form factor, but ending up confused by the watch's two-button interface (where the buttons perform multiple functions). Gizmodo's writer complains that "there's literally no comfortable way to actually use it," and while he did appreciate things like the time-of-sunrise feature and the ability to read text messages on your wrist, most Apple Watch apps "just end up being a shell of the iPhone app". And worst of all, it was difficult to use the watch to actually tell time, since "the screen doesn't always turn on when you raise your wrist like it's supposed to."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • New Chip Offers Artificial Intelligence On A USB Stick

    An anonymous reader writes: "Pretty much any device with a USB port will be able to use advanced neural networks," reports PC Magazine, announcing the new Fathom Neural Compute Stick from chip-maker (and Google supplier) Movidius. "Once it's plugged into a Linux-powered device, it will enable that device to perform neural network functions like language comprehension, image recognition, and pattern detection," and without even using an external power supply. Device manufacturers could now move AI-level processing from the cloud down to end users, PC Magazine reports, with one New York computer science professor saying the technology means that now "every robot, big and small, can now have state-of-the-art vision capabilities." The article argues that this standalone, ultra-low power neural network could start the creation of a whole new category of next-generation consumer technologies.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • Engineers Plan The Most Expensive Object Ever Built

    HughPickens.com writes: Ed Davey has an interesting story at BBC about the proposed nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, UK which at $35 billion will be the most expensive object ever put together on Earth. For that sum you could build a small forest of Burj Khalifas -- the world's tallest building, in Dubai, which each cost $1.5 billion. You could build almost six Large Hadron Colliders, built under the border between France and Switzerland to unlock the secrets of the universe, and at a cost a mere $5.8 billion. Or you could build five Oakland Bay Bridges in San Francisco, designed to withstand the strongest earthquake seismologists would expect within the next 1,500 years at a cost of $6.5 billion... But what about historical buildings like the the pyramids. Although working out the cost of something built more than 4,500 years ago presents numerous challenges, in 2012 the Turner Construction Company estimated it could build the Great Pyramid of Giza for $5 billion. That includes about $730 million for stone and $58 million for 12 cranes. Labor is a minor cost as it is projected that a mere staff of 600 would be necessary. In contrast, it took 20,000 people to build the original pyramid with a total of 77.6 million days' labor. Using the current Egyptian minimum wage of $5.73 a day, that gives a labor cost of $445 million. But whatever the most expensive object on Earth is, up in the sky is something that eclipses all of these things. The International Space Station. Price tag: $110 billion.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • Ask Slashdot: How Could You Statistically Identify The Best Sci-Fi Books?

    jimharris writes: Over at SF Signal I wrote a piece "How Well-Read Are You in Science Fiction?" There are three databases that collect lists of popular science fiction books that try to statistically identify the best books of the genre, [offering] combined list that shows which books were cited the most. They use different sets of best-of lists, but their results are often similar. The final lists are, Classics of Science Fiction, Worlds Without End Top Listed, and Premiosylista Comparativas: Comparativas: Ciencia ficcion (Spain). Interestingly, each list has a different book in its #1 position (though both "Dune" and "Frankenstein" make the top four on at least two of the three lists). But is this really a good methodology for determining the classic canon? What would be the best way to statistically identify the greatest sci-fi books? (And have you read any good science fiction novels lately?)

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • Can Quantum Entanglement Create Faster-Than-Light Communication?

    Slashdot reader StartsWithABang writes: If you were to send a space probe to a distant star system, gather information about it and send it back to Earth, you'd have to wait years for the information to arrive. But if you have an entangled quantum system -- say, two photons, one with spin +1 and one with spin -1 -- you could know the spin of the distant one instantly by measuring the spin of the one in your possession. This "incredible idea to exploit quantum weirdness" for communication was the subject of a recent Forbes article [which blocks ad-blockers] as well as a NASA mission directorate. ("Entanglement-assisted Communication System for NASA's Deep-Space Missions: Feasibility Test and Conceptual Design".) And Friday MIT News reported a research team is now making progress toward capturing paired electron halves for quantum computing on gold film. "Our first goal is to look for the Majorana fermions, unambiguously detect them, and show this is it. " This week even 85-year-old Star Trek actor William Shatner cited quantum entanglement in a discussion of Star Trek's transporter technology, arguing that "Although a lot of the concepts in science fiction are absurd to our Newtonian minds, anything is possible because of the new language of quantum physics."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • Flexible Floating Football-Field Sized Solar Panels

    mdsolar writes: Offshore wind farms are growing in popularity as energy providers look for different ways of harvesting power from the sun without using valuable land resources. One unique idea being developed by engineers at Vienna University of Technology is a floating platform called a Heliofloat that would function as a sea-based solar power station.... an open-bottom, flexible float as large as a football field and covered from edge to edge with solar panels. Heliofloats can operate as standalone platforms for smaller operations with moderate energy requirements. Multiple heliofloats also can be connected together, forming a floating solar-harvesting power grid. Each heliofloat is 100 meters long, reportedly cheap and easy to build, and may eventually be used to power desalination plants and biomass extraction.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • Drones Being Used By Peeping Toms, The Military, And Terrorists

    An anonymous reader writes: A 19-year-old woman called Massachusetts police about a drone peeking through her second-story window at 3 a.m. -- and was told no laws had been violated. Kansas is now passing an anti-harassment law after a woman reported her neighbor's drone was hovering over their pool and outside the window where her 16-year-old daughter was washing dishes. But meanwhile, the U.S. Navy has just outfitted one supercarrier with a new drone control room, while one Dutch activist writes in Newsweek that terrorist drone attacks "are not a matter of 'If' but 'When'." Noting that drones are cheap, portable and useful, PAX's Wim Zwijnenburg warns that "Terrorists and armed militia groups are already using consumer drones in conflict situations" -- for example, in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and the Ukraine -- "and it is likely only a matter of time before they use them to carry out attacks in Europe or the U.S." He believes ISIS is developing its own drone fleet, and warns about the possibility of swarms with "dozens of drones equipped with explosives or chemicals". Zwijnenburg proposes background checks and registrations for certain types of drones, as well as counter-drone technology to protect airports, crowded stadiums, and critical infrastructure points. Citing the blurring lines between military and civilian drones, he writes that "there needs to be an urgent and frank discussion among industry, the military, law enforcement, and most of all, the public, as to where we go from here." Meanwhile, another prison just reported a drone had flown over their wall -- this time a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Heli Ball.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • The Future of Shopping: Trapping You in a Club You Didn't Know You Joined

    Just a word of caution: the next time you spot a great deal on a shopping portal, you will want to carefully look for all the radio buttons, and tick boxes -- and perhaps also skim through the ToS -- before placing the order. Bloomberg has an in-depth piece on the ordeal of a customer who purchased a lingerie item from an e-commerce website called Adore Me. Little did the customer know that the $19.95 she was spending to purchase a piece of cloth would end up costing her -- partly because of her own ignorance -- more than $300. Adore Me, you see, maintains a subscription model in which it charges users a fee of around $40 a month, even if they don't purchase anything. It might surprise many, but Adore Me isn't the only shopping portal or service that runs this sort of tactic. "It's the new thing," says Francisca Allen, the deputy district attorney of California's Santa Clara County. "There's thousands and thousands of companies that do this." What's more, these companies have made it frustratingly difficult to cancel these subscriptions -- it often requires you to sit through a one-hour call to the customer representative and listening to a bunch of funky songs that you suddenly don't adore as much. Bloomberg reports:Hundreds of customer complaints against Adore Me and other subscription e-commerce businesses are stacking up at the Federal Trade Commission, according to records obtained by Bloomberg. They follow a pattern: Shoppers believe they've been tricked into signing up for recurring credit card charges, often for a relatively small amount that can be easily overlooked in a monthly bill. Then companies make it an exasperating hassle to quit and get a refund.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • Google Helps Police With Child Porn WebCrawler

    The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that the Internet Watch Foundation, "an organization that works with police worldwide to remove images of child sexual abuse from the Internet, has credited Google with helping it develop a 'Web crawler' that finds child pornography." The pilot project makes it easier to identify and remove every copy of specific images online, and the group says "We look forward to the next phase of the Googler in Residence project in 2016." Last year Google also had an engineer working directly with the foundation, and the group's annual report says "This was just one part of the engineering support Google gave us in 2015." [PDF] Their report adds that the new technology "should block thousands of their illegal images from being viewed on the Internet."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • US Spy Court Didn't Reject a Single Government Surveillance Request In 2015

    schwit1 shares news from ZDNet's security blog: In more than three decades years, the FISA Court has only rejected 12 requests. A secret court that oversees the US government's surveillance requests accepted every warrant that was submitted last year, according to new figures.The Washington DC.-based Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court received 1,457 requests from the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to intercept phone calls and emails. In long-standing fashion, the court did not reject a single warrant, entirely or in part. The FBI also issued 48,642 national security letters, a subpoena-like power that compels a company to turn over data on national security grounds without informing the subject of the letter. The memo said the majority of these demands sought data on foreigners, but almost one-in-five were requests for data on Americans. It'll be interesting to see if the numbers go down any in 2016, since in November the court appointed five new lawyers to push back against government requests. Meanwhile, a new report shows an increase in the number of government requests to Facebook about their users, more than half of which contained a non-disclosure order prohibiting Facebook from notifying those users.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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