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What are you doing for Labor day?

  • Sleeping
  • Grilling delicious foodstuffs
  • Working [I am so sorry]
  • Recovering from a hangover
  • D&D with the group
  • I do not observe Labor day (insensitive clod)
  • Chores/yard work
  • Something illegal - Specify

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:14 | Votes:123

posted by janrinok on Saturday August 30, @09:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the going-going-almost-gone dept.

The BBC reports that the last remnants of Windows Live Messenger (previously known as MSN Messenger), which was discontinued last year but is still active in China, will soon be shuffled over to Skype:

Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger will be switched off in China in October, marking a final end to the 15-year-old service.

Originally known as MSN Messenger, it was launched in 1999 but was switched off for most users in 2013, after Microsoft bought rival Skype.

Users in China continued to use the old service but will now be transferred to Skype by 31 October.

A number of Chinese Windows Live users received emails from Microsoft on Thursday, Chinese newspapers reported, informing them of the planned closure.

The emails told users they would get free Skype credit when they migrated over to the new service, the newspaper said.

posted by NCommander on Saturday August 30, @07:40PM   Printer-friendly
from the up-down-503-left-right dept.
Quick note, due to emergency maintenance done today to workaround a problem with gluster, the main page was not properly updating for anonymous users as well as other site functionality being flakely. This caused some users to see stale comments, and/or article pages, as well as other site bugs. Right now, we've got a bunch of duct tape hoping everything together, with larger work needing to be done over this weekend to get us back to "status quo".

I apologize for any disruption in your SN service, and will keep folks apprised of the situation.
posted by martyb on Saturday August 30, @06:59PM   Printer-friendly

6 Million Power Cords!

Hewlett-Packard is recalling about 6 million computer power cords after 29 reports of the cords melting or charring, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday. The recalled item, the LS-15 AC power cord, was distributed with Hewlett-Packard and Compaq notebook and mini notebook computers and with AC adapter-powered accessories such as docking stations, the commission said in a statement.

The affected AC power cords were shipped with products and accessories sold from September 2010 through June 2012.

And, The CPSC announcement

It is not clear where the problem with the cords lies. Were the cords not made to specifications? Or, were they made to spec, but they were not specified correctly. A quick search on the net failed to turn up the root cause.

Though cords, wires, and cables seem so mundane, problems do arise when they are not up to the task. What problems have you encountered due to wiring issues?

posted by janrinok on Saturday August 30, @05:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the now-that's-fast dept.

CNets reports that "Southeast Asia has its first 100Gbps network — the SingAren-Lightwave Internet Exchange (SLIX). Meant for research and education purposes, SLIX was set up by the Singapore Advanced Research and Education Network (SingAren) at a cost of around S$15 million ($12 million, £7 million or AU$13 million)."

"Besides the obvious use case for researchers to download and upload research material quickly, students in partner universities in Singapore, such as the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University, are also able to enjoy quicker access to Google and Microsoft services (such as YouTube and patch files) thanks to content peering."

posted by martyb on Saturday August 30, @03:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the couldn't-they-just-call-AAA? dept.

Ten years after deployment, flash memory needs to be reformatted due to increasing error rates.

At least that's what NASA is finding on the Opportunity Rover, running since 2004 on the surface of Mars. NASA is planning another long distance maintenance operation that will require reformatting the flash storage. They are old hands at this having done the same on the Spirit rover 5 years ago.

Opportunity has "reset" itself a dozen times this month, each time taking a day or two to fully recover. This is forcing the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to plan to reformat the flash memory which is used to store images and data pending transmission to Earth:

"Worn-out cells in the flash memory are the leading suspect in causing these resets," said John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, project manager for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project. "The flash reformatting is a low-risk process, as critical sequences and flight software are stored elsewhere in other non-volatile memory on the rover."

Similar to the flash storage in your cell phone, the Rover's flash is simultaneously more primitive, and more rugged; designed and shielded to survive the radiation of space flight.

The project landed twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity on Mars in early 2004 to begin missions planned to last only three months. Spirit worked for six years, and Opportunity is still active.

posted by janrinok on Saturday August 30, @01:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the always-read-the-small-print dept. are leading with a story about Valve falling foul of Australian legislation:

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Australia against Valve Corporation, alleging that Valve made “false or misleading representations” regarding consumer guarantees by its popular online games service, Steam.

The ACCC’s case alleges that Valve has failed to comply with Australian Consumer Law by refusing to refund games purchased through the network, for any reason.

The very fact that they refuse to refund purchases "for any reason" contravenes Australian consumer protection legislation.

posted by azrael on Saturday August 30, @11:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the defer-problems-to-the-future dept.

The New York Times is reporting that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided that nuclear waste from power plants can be stored on site, above ground, in containers that can be maintained and guarded forever.

In her statement, the Chairwoman recognized that this unanimous decision makes it less likely that any permanent storage facility will ever be approved by Congress:

“If you make the assumption that there will be some kind of institution that will exist, like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that will assure material stays safe for hundreds or thousands of years, there’s not much impetus for Congress to want to deal with this issue. Personally, I think that we can’t say with any certainty what the future will look like. We’re pretty damned poor at predicting the future.”

The decision allows the resumption of Nuclear Licensing for new reactors, and expansion of existing plants by allowing indefinite use of above ground storage that can be monitored repaired and maintained essentially forever.

In June 2012, a court ruled that the commission had not done its homework in studying whether the waste could be stored on an interim basis while awaiting the creation of underground storage facilities. As a result, the commission froze much of its licensing activity two years ago.

The new storage plan is exactly the same as the old storage plan, but drops any pretense of there being a central underground storage facility, while at the same time mumbling some vague plans for 2048.

posted by LaminatorX on Saturday August 30, @09:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the pocket-full-o-bits dept.

Apple stole a march on Android when it released the iPhone 5S with a 64-bit processor, and Android manufacturers have put the pedal to the metal in a race to catch up and make their products 64-bit. AnandTech reports that HTC has announced the Desire 510, its first 64-bit Android phone.

Meanwhile, AnandTech describe the device in more detail:

While normally one might expect high end phones to get the latest and greatest features first, this time we see a bit of a surprising reversal. The Desire 510 is HTC's first 64-bit phone, and the first announced device with Snapdragon 410. For those that aren't familiar with Snapdragon 410, it has four Cortex A53 CPU cores running at 1.2 GHz, along with an Adreno 306 GPU which suggests that it is a mild modification of the current Adreno 305 GPU that we see in the Snapdragon 400. Overall, this should make for a quite fast SoC compared to Snapdragon 400, as Anand has covered in the Snapdragon 410 launch announcement.

While it may seem strange that ARMv8 on Android phones is first to appear on a budget smartphone, it's quite easy to understand how this happened. Looking at Qualcomm's roadmap, the Snapdragon 810/MSM8994 is the first high-end SoC that will ship with ARMv8, and is built on a 20nm process. As 20nm from both Samsung and TSMC have just begun appearing in shipping chips, the process yield and production capacity isn't nearly as mature as 28nm LP, which is old news by now.

Other details include:

  • SoC: MSM8916 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410
  • RAM/NAND: 1 GB RAM, 8GB NAND + microSD
  • Display: 4.7” FWVGA (854x480)
  • Network: 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x25 UE Category 4 LTE)
  • Dimensions: 139.9 x 69.8 x 9.99mm
  • Weight: 158 grams
  • Camera: 5MP rear camera, .3MP/VGA FFC
  • Battery: 2100 mAh (7.98 Whr)
  • OS: Android 4.4 with Sense 6
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, DLNA
  • SIM Size: MicroSIM
posted by LaminatorX on Saturday August 30, @06:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the stranger-than-truth dept.

"An eighth-grade language arts teacher from Maryland has been placed on administrative leave after school officials learned he allegedly authored two books containing questionable content under a pseudonym.

Local network WBOC News reports that the investigation concerns two books published by McLaw under the nom de plume “Dr. K.S. Voltaer,” and one is about a fictional, futuristic school shooting that goes down in history as being the largest ever in the United States."

This is lunacy. School administrators are terrified there will be another Columbine or Sandy Hook and are overreacting, or are they. What could they do to prevent one. Nothing, nil, zero. No need to ask yourself 'why', say thank you to the traitorous NRA , the propaganda arm of the small arms manufacturing industry, for blocking any form of gun control. They have successfully infected the country with The American Disease™ almost unfettered access to weapons of war that kill with brutal efficiency. Sadly there appears to be no cure.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The preceding paragraph was not up to our standards. The comments to this story are spot on. You expect better than this and we let you down. There are so many comments referring to this paragraph, we cannot just delete it, hence the strike-through. More to follow.]

posted by LaminatorX on Saturday August 30, @03:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the watching-the-watchmen dept.

"...As the acting cybersecurity chief of a federal agency, Timothy DeFoggi should have been well versed in the digital footprints users leave behind online when they visit web sites and download images.

But DeFoggi—convicted today in Nebraska on three child porn charges including conspiracy to solicit and distribute child porn—must have believed his use of the Tor anonymizing network shielded him from federal investigators.

He’s the sixth suspect to make this mistake in Operation Torpedo, an FBI operation that targeted three Tor-based child porn sites and that used controversial methods to unmask anonymized users.

But DeFoggi’s conviction is perhaps more surprising than others owing to the fact that he worked at one time as the acting cybersecurity director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DeFoggi worked for the department from 2008 until January this year...."

posted by janrinok on Saturday August 30, @12:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the I'll-just-leave-this-here-but-it-should-have-been-there dept.

The European Space Agency's (ESA's) embarrassment at having two of its Galileo satnav birds land in the wrong orbit has been blamed on bad programming of the Soyuz craft that hauled the satellites aloft. Russia's Izviestia reports that an investigation of the incident found that the Soyuz's first stage did all that was asked of it. So did the second stage, but that vehicle had been programmed incorrectly.

[Izviestia reports]: [In Russian]

[Google Translation]:

posted by janrinok on Friday August 29, @10:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the Glass-find-me-a-female! dept.

German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS have developed a Google Glass app that recognises faces, but not the identity of the person. Emotions, gender, and age are recognised, and no images are sent over a network to do so.

Sophisticated High-speed Object Recognition Engine (SHORE) is the name of the group's software, which processes video on the Google Glass CPU. All calculations are performed in real-time by the CPU. By participating in the Google Glass "Explorer Program" Fraunhofer IIS was able to test the smart eyewear. The Google Glass app was made possible by adapting and implementing the Fraunhofer IIS SHORE software library as Glassware.

A software library of data built on C++ analyzes the face. Information about the person—happy, sad, angry, surprised, age estimation, gender—is superimposed next to the face. SHORE can also do eye-blink estimation and valence (emotion) recognition.

The researchers said the database has over 10,000 annotated faces. In combination with structure-based features and learning algorithms, they said they can train so-called models that boast extremely high recognition rates.

CNET's Seth Rosenblatt said the organization sees SHORE as a communication aid for people, for example, on the autism spectrum who may have difficulties in identifying emotions. "Fraunhofer also points out that its app could be applied to market analyses and other more commercial uses," he wrote.

posted by janrinok on Friday August 29, @09:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-answer-is-42 dept.

Watson Discovery Advisor has been upgraded to seek out hidden relations in data.

IBM has upgraded its Watson Discovery Advisor data analysis service so it can answer your questions before you even ask. The updated Watson Discovery Advisor can examine a body of data and identify trends, correlations and other points of interest for researchers, IBM said. The service will provide you leads "when you don't know the question to ask, and for when you want to uncover and discover in the data new insights and patterns," said Steve Gold, IBM vice president for the Watson platform.

Watson Discovery Advisor is a commercial offshoot ( ) of Watson, packaging some of Watson's capabilities as a data analysis cloud service.

There is also notification of a Watson Group Discovery Event which has, unfortunately, reached us too late to be of any use - it took place on the 28 Aug in New York. Did any members of our community attend, and what was it like?

posted by janrinok on Friday August 29, @07:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the definitely-not-fanbois dept.

CNET reports:

Apple's San Francisco flagship store temporarily became a scene of confusion and arrests on Thursday because of a sit-in held inside. A gathering of roughly 50 protestors were demonstrating against Apple for allegedly underpaying contract employees that work at its retail stores.

The protestors reportedly belong to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and said Apple routinely underpays contractors, such as security guards. The union also alleged that Apple hires contractors for part-time jobs to prevent paying employee benefits.

posted by n1 on Friday August 29, @05:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the artists-representation-of-particleboard-furniture dept.

In the summer of 2004, IKEA decided to change the way they produced their product images for catalogs and other promotional materials. They made the first tentative moves toward CG rendered, rather than photographic, images. The real turning point came when, in 2009, an internal review review of the worst 200 product images turned out to be all traditional photographs and the handful of best images were all CG.

Today, around 75% of all IKEA’s product images are CG rendered at 4Kx4K resolution. They have a bank of 25,000 models. The first entire room image to be created in CG for one of IKEA’s catalogues was in 2010.

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