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Windows 10 IE With Spartan Engine Performance Vs. Chrome and Firefox

Slashdot - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 23:57
MojoKid writes: In Microsoft's latest Windows 10 preview build released last week, Cortana made an entrance, but the much-anticipated Spartan browser did not. However, little did we realize that some of Spartan made the cut, in the form of an experimental rendering engine hidden under IE's hood. Microsoft has separated its Trident rendering engine into two separate versions: one is for Spartan, called EdgeHTML, while the other remains under its legacy naming with Internet Explorer. The reason Microsoft doesn't simply forego the older version is due to compatibility concerns. If you're running the Windows 10 9926 build, chances are good that you're automatically taking advantage of the new EdgeHTML engine in IE. To check, you can type 'about:flags' into the address bar. "Automatic" means that the non-Spartan Trident engine will be called-upon only if needed. In all other cases, you'll be taking advantage of the future Spartan web rendering engine. Performance-wise, the results with IE are like night and day in certain spots. Some of the improvements are significant. IE's Sunspider result already outperforms the competition, but it has been further improved. And with Kraken, the latency with the Spartan-powered Trident engine dropped 40%. Similar results are seen with a boost in the Octane web browser test as well.

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WikiLeaks furious at Google for keeping government data request a secret

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 23:16
Google is catching some heat from WikiLeaks after the company revealed that it handed over emails and other data on three WikiLeaks employees to the US government. Obviously, that in and of itself would be enough to ruffle the feathers of the activis...

Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Slashdot - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 23:14
An anonymous reader writes "The Register reports on a request from the US National Sheriffs' Association, which "wants Google to block its crowd-sourced traffic app Waze from being able to report the position of police officers, saying the information is putting officer's lives at risk." From the article: "'The police community needs to coordinate an effort to have the owner, Google, act like the responsible corporate citizen they have always been and remove this feature from the application even before any litigation or statutory action,' AP reports Sheriff Mike Brown, the chairman of the NSA's technology committee, told the association's winter conference in Washington....Brown called the app a 'police stalker,' and said being able to identify where officers were located could put them at personal risk. Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, said his members had concerns as well. 'I can think of 100 ways that it could present an officer-safety issue,' Pasco said. 'There's no control over who uses it. So, if you're a criminal and you want to rob a bank, hypothetically, you use your Waze.'"

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Dropcam will give you a free replacement camera if yours is too old

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 22:53
Normally, companies don't do much for you when they stop supporting a device. They'll give you a too-bad-so-sad notice and ask you to buy their latest gear. Not Dropcam, however. The Nest-owned company is ditching support for both its original home s...

Getting Charged Up Over Chargers at CES (Video)

Slashdot - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 22:33
First we look at Skiva Technology and their Octofire 8-port USB charger that pulled in nearly five times the requested amount from a Kickstarter campaign. (The 'pulled in X times the requested Kickstarter amount' is becoming a common product boast, isn't it?) Then, for MacBook owners who are tired of having their chargers or charger cords break, we take a brief look at the Juiceboxx Charger Case. These two power-oriented products and WakaWaka, which we posted about on January 9, are just a tiny, random sample of the many items in this category that were on display at CES 2015. Timothy was the only Slashdot person working CES, so it's shocking that he managed to cover as many (hopefully interesting) products as he did, considering that even the biggest IT journo mills don't come close to total coverage of the overwhelming muddle CES has become in recent years. (Alternate Video Link)

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Microsoft's Surface tablet and Xbox businesses are (mostly) booming

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 21:56
Microsoft appears to be well past the days when it was writing off unsold Surface tablets and struggling to match Sony in game console sales. The Windows developer reports that its Devices and Consumer group's revenue grew 8 percent year over year in...

Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

Slashdot - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 21:41
v3rgEz writes with this story of a top secret Cold War plan which would have brought the U.S. under martial law. Starting on April 19, 1956, the federal government practiced and planned for a near-doomsday scenario known as Plan C. When activated, Plan C would have brought the United States under martial law, rounded up over ten thousand individuals connected to 'subversive' organizations, implemented a censorship board, and prepared the country for life after nuclear attack. There was no Plan A or B....Details of this program were distributed to each FBI field office. Over the following months and years, Plan C would be adjusted as drills and meetings found holes in the defensive strategy: Communications were more closely held, authority was apparently more dispersed, and certain segments of the government, such as the U.S. Attorneys, had trouble actually delineating who was responsible for what. Bureau employees were encouraged to prepare their families for the worst, but had to keep secret the more in-depth plans for what the government would do if war did break out. Families were given a phone number and city for where the relocated agency locations would be, but not the exact location.

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Police think Waze's traffic app puts officers in danger

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 21:36
You may use Google's Waze app primarily to avoid traffic jams and watch out for speed cameras, but some American police see it as threat -- and they want Google to do something about it. Officers speaking to the Associated Press believe that Waze's p...

Amazon's Prime Now one-hour delivery delayed by winter storms

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 21:04
As a winter storm starts to drop several inches of snow on the northeast United States, Amazon's advising Prime Now customers in New York City not to rely on its one-hour deliveries. The service started dropping off orders around Manhattan in mid-Dec...

NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained

Slashdot - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 20:57
Vigile writes Over the weekend NVIDIA sent out its first official response to the claims of hampered performance on the GTX 970 and a potential lack of access to 1/8th of the on-board memory. Today NVIDIA has clarified the situation again, this time with some important changes to the specifications of the GPU. First, the ROP count and L2 cache capacity of the GTX 970 were incorrectly reported at launch (last September). The GTX 970 has 52 ROPs and 1792 KB of L2 cache compared to the GTX 980 that has 64 ROPs and 2048 KB of L2 cache; previously both GPUs claimed to have identical specs. Because of this change, one of the 32-bit memory channels is accessed differently, forcing NVIDIA to create 3.5GB and 0.5GB pools of memory to improve overall performance for the majority of use cases. The smaller, 500MB pool operates at 1/7th the speed of the 3.5GB pool and thus will lower total graphics system performance by 4-6% when added into the memory system. That occurs when games request MORE than 3.5GB of memory allocation though, which happens only in extreme cases and combinations of resolution and anti-aliasing. Still, the jury is out on whether NVIDIA has answered enough questions to temper the fire from consumers.

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'MythBusters' tackles 'Doom' and the lore of first-person shooters

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 20:28
Have you ever wondered if a regular human could carry the health packs, guns, chainsaw and all the other stuff from Doom? Well, it looks like we're about to find out. The disproving duo of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman tackle scenarios from that titl...

Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

Slashdot - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 20:13
PvtVoid writes Virgin Galactic, following an aggressive schedule to build a replacement for the Spaceship Two which crashed in October, is doing so without partner Scaled Composites, according to the Los Angeles Times. Kevin Mickey, the president of Scaled Composites, confirmed this week that his company would no longer be involved in testing. He said Scaled would still work as a consultant to Virgin Galactic.

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Facebook Lite uses less data for developing areas, low-end phones

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 19:57
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hard at work connecting the world with not only his social network, but with basic internet access, too. In another step towards doing so in developing areas, the folks in Menlo Park are rolling out Facebook Lite...

Modular Smartphones Could Be Reused As Computer Clusters

Slashdot - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 19:29
itwbennett writes The promise of modular smartphones like Google's Project Ara is that buyers will be able to upgrade components at will — and now Finnish company Circular Devices has come up with a use for discarded computing modules, which they're calling Puzzlecluster. Drawings of the Puzzlecluster architecture show a chassis with slots for the reused modules, which can then be interconnected with others to create the cluster. Just one unit could also be used as a desktop computer."

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Apple giving away TV shows and music with 'Free on iTunes'

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 19:20
Free stuff is always great, especially if people actually want what's on offer. Apple now has a special section called "Free on iTunes" where you can find TV shows and music freebies if you've already blown through your monthly entertainment budget. ...

Turkish court will ban Facebook if it doesn't censor blasphemous content

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 18:49
Every six months, Facebook reveals how many times a nation requests that the site block content that's considered illegal. In the first half of 2014, for instance, India lobbied for nearly 5,000 deletions, putting it well ahead of second-placed Turke...

"Once In a Lifetime" Asteroid Sighting Monday Night

Slashdot - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 18:47
An anonymous reader writes Tonight, Asteroid 2004 BL86 will make a pass by the Earth at just 745,000 miles away. This should offer stargazers a great opportunity to see the half-kilometer space rock. CNN has some tips on the best method and time to look. From the article: "The best chance for viewing will be from 8 p.m. ET Monday to 1 a.m. ET Tuesday. Asteroid 2004 BL86 is large, and it will brighten, but nonetheless will not be observable with the naked eye. Some astronomy websites say a pair of binoculars could do the trick, but Sky & Telescope recommends at least a 3- or 4-inch diameter telescope. 'One good technique for fast-movers like 2004 BL86 is to identify and lock onto a star along its path,' Sky & Telescope senior editor Kelly Beatty says. 'Then just watch at the time that the asteroid is predicted to pass by that particular star.'"

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Drone landing drags White House security into the modern era

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 18:18
The US government just got a real-world lesson about the security risks posed by easily accessible drones. Officials report that they recovered a quadcopter on the White House's grounds in the early morning on January 26th, with no clear indication a...

Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Slashdot - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 18:04
An anonymous reader writes with news about a new project to test autonomous vehicles in Germany. "The German government wants to convert part of the A9 Autobahn in Bavaria into a test-field for advanced car technology. The project is key to ensuring the country's 'digital sovereignty,' according to its transport minister. The track, part of the 'Digitales Testfeld Autobahn' project, would be launched this year, Alexander Dobrindt said on Monday in an interview (in German) with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. The plan involves equipping the road with infrastructure to allow cars to communicate with each other and the road's own sensors to provide necessary data on traffic. 'Cars with assisted driving and later fully-automated cars will be able to drive there,' Dobrindt said. Germany, a major European car producer, wants to have robotic car technology that's not dependent on foreign companies, the minister said. Domestic producers 'won't rely on Google' he stressed."

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Uber promises not to price-gouge during massive east-coast blizzard

Engadget - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 17:49
The east coast is about to get hit with a potentially record-breaking amount of snow, which means Uber has the opportunity to... redeem itself. The taxi-hailing app, notorious for hiking prices on holidays and during rush hour, says it will suspend s...