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Google's short film examines the science of voice recognition

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 15:36
People used to think it's harder to make computers play chess (or Jeopardy) and do mathematics than it is to make them understand human language. Turns out the opposite is true -- yes, engineers have made great advancements in voice recognition (Siri...

Direct3D 9.0 Support On Track For Linux's Gallium3D Drivers

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 15:34
An anonymous reader writes Twelve years after Microsoft debuted DirectX 9.0, open-source developers are getting ready to possibly land Direct3D 9.0 support within the open-source Linux Mesa/Gallium3D code-base. The "Gallium3D Nine" state tracker allows accelerating D3D9 natively by Gallium3D drivers and there's patches for Wine so that Windows games can utilize this state tracker without having to go through Wine's costly D3D-to-OGL translator. The Gallium3D D3D9 code has been in development since last year and is now reaching a point where it's under review for mainline Mesa. The uses for this Direct3D 9 state tracker will likely be very limited outside of using it for Wine gaming.

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Recommended Reading: Palmer Luckey and the homemade VR headset

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 14:30
Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read. How Palmer Luckey Created...

India Successfully Launches Region-Specific Navigation Satellite

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 14:26
vasanth writes India has successfully launched IRNSS-1C, the third satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), early on October 16. This is the 27th consecutively successful mission of the PSLV(Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle). The entire constellation of seven satellites is planned to be completed by 2015. The satellite is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in the country as well as in the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area. In the Kargil war in 1999, the Indian military sought GPS data for the region from the U.S. The space-based navigation system maintained by the U.S. government would have provided vital information, but the U.S. denied it to India. A need for an indigenous satellite navigation system was felt earlier, but the Kargil experience made India realise its inevitability in building its own navigation system. "Geopolitical needs teach you that some countries can deny you the service in times of conflict. It's also a way of arm twisting and a country should protect itself against that," said S Ramakrishnan, director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.

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The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 13:30
HughPickens.com writes Jim Edwards writes at Business Insider that Google is so large and has such a massive need for talent that if you have the right skills, Google is really enthusiastic to hear from you — especially if you know how to use MatLab, a fourth-generation programming language that allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages, including C, C++, Java, Fortran and Python. The key is that data is produced visually or graphically, rather than in a spreadsheet. According to Jonathan Rosenberg , Google's former senior vice president for product management, being a master of statistics is probably your best way into Google right now and if you want to work at Google, make sure you can use MatLab. Big data — how to create it, manipulate it, and put it to good use — is one of those areas in which Google is really enthusiastic about. The sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. When every business has free and ubiquitous data, the ability to understand it and extract value from it becomes the complimentary scarce factor. It leads to intelligence, and the intelligent business is the successful business, regardless of its size. Rosenberg says that "my quote about statistics that I didn't use but often do is, 'Data is the sword of the 21st century, those who wield it the samurai.'"

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New York Attorney General says most Airbnb rentals in NYC violate the law

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 13:05
The legality of Airbnb rentals in New York City have been under fire for awhile now, and the city just fired another volley: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has released a report titled "Airbnb in the city," and it's not particularly...

X-ray machine used to disappoint 'Star Wars' fan

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 11:26
Back in the day, British Star Wars fans could send off for a figurine enclosed in an opaque white box. Of course, if you wanted to peek at whatever was hidden inside, you'd have to open the packaging, which would take a massive chunk off the value....

NSA CTO Patrick Dowd Moonlighting For Private Security Firm

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 10:22
First time accepted submitter un1nsp1red (2503532) writes Current NSA CTO Patrick Dowd has taken a part-time position with former-NSA director Keith Alexander's security firm IronNet Cybersecurity — while retaining his position as chief technology officer for the NSA. The Guardian states that 'Patrick Dowd continues to work as a senior NSA official while also working part time for Alexander's IronNet Cybersecurity, a firm reported to charge up to $1m a month for advising banks on protecting their data from hackers. It is exceedingly rare for a US official to be allowed to work for a private, for-profit company in a field intimately related to his or her public function.' Some may give Alexander a pass on the possible conflict of interests as he's now retired, but what about a current NSA official moonlighting for a private security firm?

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Flickr chooses a great time to launch its iPad app

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 08:30
Apple has chosen to focus on the iPad's camera abilities with the upcoming Air 2 (we wish they wouldn't) and apparently, finally snagged Flickr's attention. Yahoo's photo sharing service somehow managed to beat Instagram to the punch so perhaps the...

Cisco Exec: Turnover In Engineering No Problem

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 07:20
alphadogg (971356) writes The engineering reorganization currently underway at network giant Cisco Systems is intended to streamline product development and delivery to customers. That it is prompting some high profile departures is an expected byproduct of any realignment of this size, which affects 25,000 employees, says Cisco Executive Vice President Pankaj Patel, who is conducting the transformation. "People leave for personal business reasons," Patel said in an interview with Network World this week. "Similar transformations" among Cisco peers and customers "see personnel change of 30% to 50%."

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Fitbit: skin irritations were allergies, new wristbands have a warning

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 05:04
Fitbit recalled its Force wearable back in February after owners reported skin irritation, but after an investigation, says it will not do the same for the Fitbit Flex. The New York Times reports that the company and the Consumer Product Safety...

New Music Discovered In Donkey Kong For Arcade

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 04:16
First time accepted submitter furrykef . writes Over 33 years have passed since Donkey Kong first hit arcades, but it still has new surprises. I was poking through the game in a debugger when I discovered that the game contains unused music and voice clips. One of the tunes would have been played when you rescued Pauline, and two others are suggestive of deleted cutscenes. In addition, Pauline was originally meant to speak. In one clip she says something unintelligible, but it may be "Hey!", "Nice!", or "Thanks!". The other is clearly a cry for help.

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Capture 360-degree videos with this surveillance blazer

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 03:07
If Google Glass and lifelogging cameras aren't enough to make you feel safe, then maybe what you really need is a surveillance blazer. See, nothing can get past the camera-dotted jacket above -- not when it can capture 360 videos of your environment...

iFixit takes a peek inside Apple's new '5K' iMac

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 01:45
Sure, we were only just introduced to Apple's 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display, but the folks at iFixit are already tearing one apart. Inside they found a screen made by LG Display, and a setup similar to previous iMacs, including easily-accessed...

Facebook 'Safety Check' Lets Friends Know You're OK After a Major Disaster

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 01:05
rtoz (2530056) writes Facebook has launched a new Tool called "Safety Check." The Facebook Safety Check tool will notify your friends so that they know you're OK after a major disaster. In times of disaster or crisis, people turn to Facebook to check on loved ones and get updates. "During a major disaster, Safety Check will help you: Let friends and family know you're safe; Check on others in the affected area; Mark your friends as safe ... When the tool is activated after a natural disaster and if you're in the affected area, you'll receive a Facebook notification asking if you're safe. [Facebook] will determine your location by looking at the city you have listed in your profile, your last location if you've opted in to the Nearby Friends product, and the city where you are using the internet. ... If you're safe, you can select "I'm Safe" and a notification and News Feed story will be generated with your update. Your friends can also mark you as safe." More creepy, or more reassuring?

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Engadget Daily: unlimited clean power, why there's no Retina MacBook Air and more!

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 00:42
So, why hasn't Apple updated its MacBook Air line with a Retina display? Here's our two-word answer: battery life. That's not all we have on deck though -- check out the rest of our news highlights from the last 24 hours, including a breakthrough in...

How Whisper Tracks Users Who Don't Share Their Location

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 00:23
blottsie (3618811) writes "On Thursday, the Guardian reported that secret-sharing app Whisper was tracking users' locations even when they opt-out of sharing their location. [See also this earlier, related story.] Whisper has denied the accusations—but this may be a matter of semantics. Whisper allegedly uses an outdated version of GeoIP by MaxMind, which uses your IP address to estimate your location on a map. Whisper's Chad DePue said in a comment on Hacker News that the tool is "so inaccurate as to be laughable," suggesting that determining something as broad as your country or state won't bother the basic user (and he could be right, but what is and isn't an upsetting degree of user information is another argument entirely)."

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Google explains how it fights piracy in search results

Engadget - Fri, 17/10/2014 - 23:58
The anti-piracy road hasn't played out easy for Google, to the point where past claims have stated that the company's efforts simply aren't working. But Google says it's doing everything it can to combat piracy across its services, of which Search is...

The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

Slashdot - Fri, 17/10/2014 - 23:42
StartsWithABang writes If you can reach the fabled "breakeven point" of nuclear fusion, you'll have opened up an entire new source of clean, reliable, safe, renewable and abundant energy. You will change the world. At present, fusion is one of those things we can make happen through a variety of methods, but — unless you're the Sun — we don't have a way to ignite and sustain that reaction without needing to input more energy than we can extract in a usable fashion from the fusion that occurs. One alternative approach to the norm is, rather than try and up the energy released in a sustained, hot fusion reaction, to instead lower the energy inputted, and try to make fusion happen under "cold" conditions. If you listen in the right (wrong?) places, you'll hear periodic reports that cold fusion is happening, even though those reports have always crumbled under scrutiny. Here's why, most likely, they always will.

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Playdate: We're livestreaming 'The Evil Within' on PS4!

Engadget - Fri, 17/10/2014 - 23:30
Welcome, ladygeeks and gentlenerds, to the new era of gaming. The one where you get to watch, and comment, as other people livestream gameplay from new-gen consoles. Because games! They're fun!...