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What to get when you've got a drone enthusiast in your life

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 19:00
It's that time of year again! You know, the one when you have to hand over your hard-earned cash or dole out the credit card digits to get the loved ones in your life a little something celebratory. Lucky you, we've got a slew of great...

Windows Kernel Version Bumped To 10.0

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 18:56
jones_supa writes: In Windows, the kernel version number is once again in sync with the product version. Build 9888 of Windows 10 Technical Preview is making the rounds in a private channel and the kernel version has indeed been bumped from 6.4 to 10.0. Version 6.x has been in use since Windows Vista. Neowin speculates that this large jump in version number is likely related to the massive overhaul of the underlying components of the OS to make it the core for all of Microsoft's products. The company is working to consolidate all of its platforms into what's called OneCore, which, as the name implies, will be the one core for all of Microsoft's operating systems. It will be interesting to see if this causes any software comparability issues with legacy applications.

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Playdate: We're livestreaming 'Super Smash Bros. for Wii U'!

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 18:30
What is Super Smash Bros.? It is Nintendo at its most referential, its most detail-oriented. We already said all this once before, actually. Right here. Anyway, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (that's seriously the full title) has finally arrived on...

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 18:15
An anonymous reader writes: When looking for a new (or used) car, I have readily available information regarding features, maintenance history, and potential issues for that specific model or generation. What I would really like is a car that is readily hackable on the convenience-feature level. For example, if I want to install a remote starter, or hack the power windows so holding 'up' automatically rolls it up, or install a readout on the rear of the car showing engine RPMs, what make/model/year is the best pick? Have any of you done something similar with your vehicle? Have you found certain models to be ideal or terrible for feature hacking?

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3D-printed livers go on sale to impatient scientists

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 18:02
So far, the biggest benefit of 3D-printing organs is that you don't need someone to donate their body to medical science before you can do an experiment. That's why Organovo's big news is so exciting for scientists, since the company has let it be...

LaserWatch: The story of a man with too much time on his hands

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 17:34
Your smartwatch may may be the height of wearables today, but it can't get you out of a supervillain's elaborate death trap. That's where Patrick Priebe's LaserWatch comes in, which is like something out of a Bond flick. On the surface, it looks like...

Culberson As Chair of NASA Fundng Subcommittee Makes Europa Mission More Likely

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 17:32
MarkWhittington writes: As many have expected, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) has been elevated to chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science. The subcommittee has charge of NASA funding, something of keen interest for the congressman, whose Houston district is close to the Johnson Spaceflight Center. Moreover, Culberson's enthusiasm for space exploration goes far beyond what would be expected from a Texas representative. Culberson is a champion of a mission to Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Europa is an ice-covered moon that is thought to conceal an ocean of water, warmed by tidal forces, which might contain life. Using the heavy-lift Space Launch System, NASA could launch a large-scale probe to study Europa and ascertain whether it harbors alien life or not. Culberson's elevation makes such a mission far more likely to occur.

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Google is giving away 1TB of free Drive space with new Chromebooks

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 17:02
Google really, really wants you to pick up a Chromebook this holiday, and it's sweetening the deal to make sure a Chrome OS-powered laptop is on your gift list. The company is now offering 1TB of free Google Drive space to anyone who buys a...

Amazon Fire HD 6 review: great value for a $99 tablet

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 17:00
Here's a question: How did Amazon know it was time to make a $99 tablet? Because of focus groups? Its ace marketing department? Close: user reviews. Let's not forget that Amazon is best known for its retail empire, so when lots of people start buying...

It's Not Developers Slowing Things Down, It's the Process

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 16:50
An anonymous reader writes: Software engineers understand the pace of writing code, but frequently managers don't. One line of code might take 1 minute, and another line of code might take 1 day. But generally, everything averages out, and hitting your goals is more a function of properly setting your goals than of coding quickly or slowly. Sprint.ly, a company than analyzes productivity, has published some data to back this up. The amount of time actually developing a feature was a small and relatively consistent portion of its lifetime as a work ticket. The massively variable part of the process is when "stakeholders are figuring out specs and prioritizing work." The top disrupting influences (as experienced devs will recognize) are unclear and changing requirements. Another big cause of slowdowns is interrupting development work on one task to work on a second one. The article encourages managers to let devs contribute to the process and say "No" if the specs are too vague. Is there anything you'd add to this list?

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3D talking map can help the blind find their way

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 16:11
The Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts just got a high-tech installation to help keep their students from getting lost around campus: a three-dimensional map that talks. Its miniature Monopoly-like buildings and other elements (which were...

Google Launches Service To Replace Web Ads With Subscriptions

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 16:08
An anonymous reader writes: Everyone understands by now that ads fund most of the sites on the web. Other sites have put up paywalls or started subscription bonuses, with varying success. Google, one of the web's biggest ad providers, saw a problem with that: it's a huge pain for readers to manage subscriptions for all the sites they visit — often more trouble than it's worth. And, since so few people sign up, the subscription fees have to be pretty high. Now, Google has launched a service called Contributor to try to fix this situation. The way Contributor works is this: websites and readers can opt in to the service (and sites like Imgur, The Onion, and ScienceDaily already have). Readers then pay a fee of $1-3 per month (they get to choose how much) to gain ad-free access to all participating sites. When the user visits one of the sites, instead of showing a Google ad, Google will just send a small chunk of that subscription money to the website instead.

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Google's internet balloons can stay aloft for 100 days thanks to fluffy socks

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 15:33
While some high profile Google projects (*cough Glass*) have been withering on the vine, Project Loon is a bright spot and even has a carrier partner. Mountain View says it can now autofill the internet-enabling, weather-tracking balloons in five...

London councils fight government plan to legalise short-term Airbnb rentals

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 15:25
Having already accommodated over 20 million guests in more than 34,000 cities across 190 countries, it's safe to say that Airbnb is here to say. However, that success has come at a cost -- namely opposition from authorities that either want to stop...

Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 15:25
An anonymous reader writes: After losing its Supreme Court case in June and briefly attempting to transform itself into a cable company, Aereo is now filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Their service worked by letting people stream over-the-air television to their internet-connected devices. The content industry pushed back, and though Aereo argued its way through several lower courts, they say, "The U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively changed the laws that had governed Aereo's technology, creating regulatory and legal uncertainty. And while our team has focused its energies on exploring every path forward available to us, without that clarity, the challenges have proven too difficult to overcome."

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'Super Smash Bros. for Wii U': The Joystiq Review

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 15:00
"Who would win in a fight?" is the lighthearted crux of the Super Smash Bros. series, and it's impressive how extensive that conversation has become. Pitting beloved video game characters in unlikely rivalries seems as amusing as it did during the...

Microsoft Rolls Out Robot Security Guards

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 14:47
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft is testing a group of five robot security guards. They contain a sophisticated sensor suite that includes 360-degree HD video, thermal imaging, night vision, LIDAR, and audio recorders. They can also detect various chemicals and radiation signatures, and do some rudimentary behavioral analysis on people they see. (And they look a bit like Daleks.) The robots are unarmed, so we don't have to worry about a revolt just yet, but they can sound an alarm and call for human officers. They weigh about 300 lbs each, can last roughly a day on a battery charge, and know to head to the charging station when they're low on power.

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Amazon reportedly launching free, ad-supported video streaming service

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 14:23
Amazon is set to launch a free, ad-supported video service separate from its $99 Prime Instant Video offering, according to the New York Post. In case you're having deja vu, the WSJ reported exactly the same thing back in March and Amazon firmly...

EE and O2 are now serving 4G inside the Channel Tunnel

Engadget - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 14:12
Having mobile internet access inside the Channel Tunnel is useful, but where are those faster speeds we were promised? Well, after expanding their 2G and 3G networks in March, EE and O2 are finally offering 4G connectivity on the Eurostar. Vodafone...

Leaked Documents Show EU Council Presidency Wants To Impair Net Neutrality

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 13:53
NotInHere writes: The advocacy group "European Digital Rights" (EDRi) reports on leaked documents proposed by the Presidency of the council of the EU (currently held by Italy), which plans to remove vital parts from the telecommunications package that introduced net neutrality. The changes include removing the definition of "net neutrality" and replacing it with a "reference to the objective of net neutrality," which EDRi says will impair any ability to enforce it. Also, the proposed changes would allow ISPs to "block, slow down, alter, degrade or discriminate" traffic in order to meet "obligations under a contract with an end-user to deliver a service requiring a specific level of quality to that end-user." EDRi writes that "[w]ith all of the talk of the need for a single digital market in Europe, we would have new barriers and new monopolies." The council of the EU is one of its two legislative chambers. The EU parliament can now object or propose further changes to prevent the modified telecommunications package from passing.

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