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Inhabitat's Week in Green: Fusion power, Drop-a-Brick and settlements on Mars

Engadget - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 16:30
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green. Why can't Tesla's sales model catch a break? The automaker is paving the way for the future of electric...

No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

Slashdot - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 15:23
ControlsGeek writes The Lee-Enfield .303 rifle is being phased out for use by the Canadian Rangers, a Northern aboriginal branch of the Armed Forces. The rifle has been in service with the Canadian military for 100 years and is still being used by the Rangers for its unfailing reliability in Arctic conditions. If only the hardware that we use in computers could have such a track record. The wheels turn slowly, though, and it's not clear what kind of gun will replace the Enfields.

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Google's Nexus Player gets FCC approval, right on cue

Engadget - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 15:00
Well, that didn't take long. Just a couple of days after Google stopped pre-orders of the Nexus Player while it waited for the FCC's all-clear, its Android TV puck has received approval. There aren't any surprises in the regulatory filing, but it...

Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

Slashdot - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 14:24
HughPickens.com writes Erik Karjaluoto writes that he recently installed OS X Yosemite and his initial reaction was "This got hit by the ugly stick." But Karjaluoto says that Apple's decision to make a wholesale shift from Lucida to Helvetica defies his expectations and wondered why Apple would make a change that impedes legibility, requires more screen space, and makes the GUI appear fuzzy? The Answer: Tomorrow. Microsoft's approach with Windows, and backward compatibility in general, is commendable. "Users can install new versions of this OS on old machines, sometimes built on a mishmash of components, and still have it work well. This is a remarkable feat of engineering. It also comes with limitations — as it forces Microsoft to operate in the past." But Apple doesn't share this focus on interoperability or legacy. "They restrict hardware options, so they can build around a smaller number of specs. Old hardware is often left behind (turn on a first-generation iPad, and witness the sluggishness). Meanwhile, dying conventions are proactively euthanized," says Karjaluoto. "When Macs no longer shipped with floppy drives, many felt baffled. This same experience occurred when a disk (CD/DVD) reader no longer came standard." In spite of the grumblings of many, Karjaluoto doesn't recall many such changes that we didn't later look upon as the right choice.

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Be True To Your CS School: LinkedIn Ranks US Schools For Job-Seeking Programmers

Slashdot - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 13:26
theodp writes "The Motley Fool reports that the Data Scientists at LinkedIn have been playing with their Big Data, ranking schools based on how successful recent grads have been at landing desirable software development jobs. Here's their Top 25: CMU, Caltech, Cornell, MIT, Princeton, Berkeley, Univ. of Washington, Duke, Michigan, Stanford, UCLA, Illinois, UT Austin, Brown, UCSD, Harvard, Rice, Penn, Univ. of Arizona, Harvey Mudd, UT Dallas, San Jose State, USC, Washington University, RIT. There's also a shorter list for the best schools for software developers at startups, which draws a dozen schools from the previously mentioned schools, and adds Columbia, Univ. of Virginia, and Univ. of Maryland College Park. If you're in a position to actually hire new graduates, how much do you care about applicants' alma maters?

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Watch Jony Ive and Elon Musk talk design and sci-fi transportation

Engadget - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 12:14
Tired of hearing little more than soundbites from tech luminaries such as Apple's Jony Ive and Tesla's Elon Musk? Today's your lucky day. Vanity Fair has posted its full video interviews with both Ive and Musk, giving you an insight into how the two...

BBC Takes a Stand For the Public's Right To Remember Redacted Links

Slashdot - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 10:21
Martin Spamer writes with word that the BBC is to publish a continually updated list of its articles removed from Google under the controversial 'right to be forgotten' notices." The BBC will begin - in the "next few weeks" - publishing the list of removed URLs it has been notified about by Google. [Editorial policy head David] Jordan said the BBC had so far been notified of 46 links to articles that had been removed. They included a link to a blog post by Economics Editor Robert Peston. The request was believed to have been made by a person who had left a comment underneath the article. An EU spokesman later said the removal was "not a good judgement" by Google.

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Scientists want to fight the Ebola outbreak using robots

Engadget - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 08:06
Outbreaks of lethal viruses like Ebola are bad enough by themselves, but they're made worse by having to send in aid workers -- these people can quickly become victims, no matter how careful they are. To eliminate that risk, both the White House and...

Canada Will Ship 800 Doses of Experimental Ebola Drug to WHO

Slashdot - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 07:15
The WSJ reports that 800 doses of an experimental vaccine for Ebola, developed over a decade at Public Health Agency of Canada’s main laboratory in Winnipeg, will be shipped to the World Health Organization in an effort to help fight the ongoing Ebola crisis in West Africa: The vaccine will be shipped by air from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to the University Hospital of Geneva via specialized courier. The vials will be sent in three separate shipments as a precautionary measure, due to the challenges in moving a vaccine that must kept at a very low temperature at all times. ... The vaccine had shown “very promising results in animal research” and earlier this week, Ottawa announced the start of clinical trials on humans at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the U.S. ... The government has licensed NewLink Genetics Corp. , of the U.S., through its wholly owned subsidiary BioProtection Systems Corp. to further develop the vaccine for use in humans. The government owns the intellectual property rights associated with the vaccine.

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You can't upgrade the new Mac mini's RAM

Engadget - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 05:43
If you're planning to snag the new Mac mini and load it up with aftermarket memory, you may want to reconsider your strategy. Macminicolo owner Brian Stucki (among others) has discovered that the RAM in Apple's latest tiny desktop isn't upgradable,...

Despite Patent Settlement, Apple Pulls Bose Merchandise From Its Stores

Slashdot - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 04:13
Apple has long sold Bose headphones and speakers in its retail stores, including in the time since it acquired Bose-competitor Beats Audio, and despite the lawsuit filed by Bose against Apple alleging patent violations on the part of Beats. That's come to an end this week, though: Apple's dropped Bose merchandise both in its retail locations and online, despite recent news that the two companies have settled the patent suit.

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Air Force's mysterious space drone returns after two years in orbit

Engadget - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 03:48
Following its longest-ever mission by far, the 11,000 pound X-37B unmanned spacecraft has returned to Earth bearing... well, we don't actually know. You see, after NASA and Boeing developed the craft (about a fifth the size of the Space Shuttle), it...

Apple's new iPads, the Nexus 6 and other stories you might've missed

Engadget - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 01:56
Get ready, ya'll. It's been a doozie of a week. Not only did Apple unveil new iPads and a Retina iMac, Google took the wraps off the Nexus 6 and its own media streamer. That's not all we have on deck, though -- click on through for the rest of our...

iFixit Tears Apart Apple's Shiny New Retina iMac

Slashdot - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 01:05
iFixit gives the new Retina iMac a score of 5 (out of 10) for repairability, and says that the new all-in-one is very little changed internally from the system (non-Retina) it succeeds. A few discoveries along the way: The new model "retains the familiar, easily accessible RAM upgrade slot from iMacs of yore"; the display panel (the one iin the machine disassmbled by iFixit at least) was manufactured by LG Display; except for that new display, "the hardware inside the iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display looks much the same as last year's 27" iMac." In typical iFixit style, the teardown is documented with high-resolution pictures and more technical details.

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Facebook wants the DEA to promise that it won't create fake accounts

Engadget - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 00:42
Remember how the DEA got caught impersonating a woman on Facebook in an attempt to catch criminals who contacted her? Yeah, Facebook isn't at all pleased. It just sent a letter asking the anti-drug agency to promise that it won't create fake accounts...

Robot SmackDowns Wants To Bring Robot Death Matches To an Arena Near You

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 23:30
Business Insiider profiles Andrew Stroup, Gui Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlein, who are trying to get off the ground a robot competition league, called Robot SmackDowns. The idea, as you might guess from the name, is to showcase violence and drama to draw on the crowd-appeal of wrestling, NASCAR, and monster truck rallies: this is definitely not Dean Kamen's FIRST — it's giant mechanical beasts shooting at and otherwise trying to destroy each other. And it's not quite right to call them robots in the usual sense; they're more like mecha: "In a MegaBots battle, a two-member team sits inside the bot's upper torso, where the controls systems are housed. Although the co-founders assure me that the pilot and gunner are well protected inside, the situation presents a heightened suspense. Each 15,000-pound robot is equipped with six-inch cannons inside its arms that fire paint-filled missiles and cannon balls at 120 miles per hour. Good aim can cause enough damage to jam its opponent's weapons system or shoot of a limb." They'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign soon; according to the article, "Assuming it raises enough money to build a fleet, [the company's] plan is to take the bots on the road. They will tour the country, face off in epic battles against other MegaBots, and build a fan base. Stroup says (without giving specifics) networks have reached out and will closely watch how MegaBot, Inc.'s upcoming Kickstarter campaign performs. The possibilities for distribution seem endless, though the team is tight-lipped about the exact direction it's headed."

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RedShift electric motocross race bikes will be ready to roll in 2015

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 23:30
BRD Motorcycles originally opened pre-orders for the RedShift electric motorcycles back in 2011, and it's almost time for them to hit the streets. A lot has changed since then, including the name of the company -- now Alta Motors -- and a recent $4.5...

JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

Slashdot - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 22:17
CowboyRobot writes Alex Liu is a senior UI engineer at Netflix and part of the core team leading the migration of Netflix.com to Node.js. He has an article at ACM's Queue in which he describeshow JavaScript is used at Netflix. 'With increasingly more application logic being shifted to the browser, developers have begun to push the boundaries of what JavaScript was originally intended for. Entire desktop applications are now being rebuilt entirely in JavaScript—the Google Docs office suite is one example. Such large applications require creative solutions to manage the complexity of loading the required JavaScript files and their dependencies. The problem can be compounded when introducing multivariate A/B testing, a concept that is at the core of the Netflix DNA. Multivariate testing introduces a number of problems that JavaScript cannot handle using native constructs, one of which is the focus of this article: managing conditional dependencies.'

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Disney rendered its new animated film on a 55,000-core supercomputer

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 22:00
Disney's upcoming animated film Big Hero 6, about a boy and his soft robot (and a gang of super-powered friends), is perhaps the largest big-budget mash-up you'll ever see. Every aspect of the film's production represents a virtual collision of...

Google freezes Nexus Player orders while it waits for US approval

Engadget - Sat, 18/10/2014 - 20:38
If you were dead set on ordering the Nexus Player this weekend, you're about to be disappointed. Google has quietly halted pre-orders of its Android TV media hub because it has "not been approved" by the FCC -- the company would be in trouble with US...