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50 years of Moog, the analog synth that still beats 1s and 0s

Arstechnica - 49 min 58 sec ago
Behold, the Teenage Engineering OP-1, a modern descendant of Bob Moog's pioneering work. Flickr user: Rasmus Andersson

This time last year, I walked into a Toronto store called Moog Audio and walked out with a Teenage Engineering OP-1—a curious little portable digital synthesizer that looks, at first glance, like a child’s toy. It has a row of just four candy-colored knobs as primary input controls, and there are only enough keys for an octave-and-a-half's worth of range. But damn does it ever sound cool. Its tiny OLED screen uses all sorts of clever visual conceits to convey otherwise complex audio transformations. Colors and animations explain the differences between synthesizer engines, changes to modulation and frequency, and attack and decay. And it's done in a way that’s easy for anyone with little synthesizer knowledge to understand while still being powerful in more experienced hands. This is a synthesizer, drum machine, and four-track recorder all-in-one—all in a device that fits inside a purse or messenger bag with ease.

It wasn’t always like this. In fact, it was 50 years ago this year that, in 1964, a man by the name of Bob Moog unveiled a synthesizer of a very different sort. Called the Moog Modular, it is regarded as one of the first. Though Moog wouldn’t officially advertise his creation as a synthesizer until 1966, that’s precisely what it was—an array of electronic modules that Moog designed, often controlled via keyboard, and connected to one another with a bird's nest of cables that, somehow, produced weird musical sounds unlike anything anyone had heard before.

The Moog Modular was not the only synthesizer in development at the time, however. On the opposite end of the continent in Berkeley, California, a man named Don Buchla independently devised a similar device, but it differed in a crucial way. Buchla’s synthesizer eschewed the use of a keyboard to trigger notes for touch-controlled panels that produced unfamiliar, atonal music unbound from the traditional musical scale. Both had their proponents, but for most musicians, the familiarity of the keyboard paradigm eventually won out. For a time, Moog was synthesizers. Even today, it’s a testament to the enduring cachet of Moog’s work that one can now buy any number of competing synthesizers from a store bearing his name.

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Virtual reality is more than just video games for Palmer Luckey (Q&A)

CNET NEWS - 50 min 25 sec ago
The founder of Oculus and mind behind the modern VR movement is enthusiastic about his industry's burgeoning prospects, but sees challenges too.






Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

Slashdot - 55 min 28 sec ago
theodp (442580) writes "A month after he argued that Executive Action by President Obama on tech immigration was needed lest his billionaire bosses at Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC have to hire 'just sort of OK' U.S. workers, Re/code reports that Joe Green — Zuckerberg's close friend and college roommate — has been pushed out of his role as President of FWD.us for failing to Git-R-Done on an issue critical to the tech community. "Today, we wanted to share an important change with you," begins 'Leadership Change', the announcement from the FWD.us Board that Todd Schulte is the new Green. So what sold FWD.us on Schulte? "His [Schulte's] prior experience as Chief-of-Staff at Priorities USA, the Super PAC supporting President Obama's re-election," assured Zuckerberg in a letter to FWD.us contributors, "will ensure FWD.us continues its momentum for reform." Facebook, reported the Washington Post in 2013, became legally "dependent" on H-1B visas and subject to stricter regulations shortly before Zuckerberg launched FWD.us with Green at the helm."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Am I being taken advantage of during the job application test?

Arstechnica - 1 hour 10 min ago
Stack Exchange

This Q&A is part of a weekly series of posts highlighting common questions encountered by technophiles and answered by users at Stack Exchange, a free, community-powered network of 100+ Q&A sites.

CodeWarrior asks:

I am looking for a job and have applied to a number of positions. One employer responded. I had a pretty lengthy phone interview (perhaps more than an hour) and they then set me up with a developer test. I was told that the test was estimated to take between six and eight hours and that, provided the results met with their approval, I would be paid for my work.

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Why this tiny Italian restaurant gives a discount for bad Yelp reviews

Arstechnica - 1 hour 49 min ago
Botto Bistro, in Richmond, California. Cyrus Farivar

RICHMOND, CA—Of all the places that have come up with a clever way to protest Yelp’s alleged aggressive advertising tactics, a small plucky Italian restaurant in a strip mall just northeast of San Francisco, is as unlikely as they come.

For a few weeks now, Botto Bistro is actively trying to become the worst-reviewed restaurant on Yelp as a way to stick it to the venerated review site—so much so that they’re offering 25 percent off for anyone who does so.

In recent years, Yelp has been publicly accused of extortionasking for money from businesses that are automatically listed on the site in exchange for preferred placement on the site. There are also accusations of abruptly vanishing positive reviews and suddenly appearing negative reviews. Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco dismissed two cases alleging that such behavior by Yelp is illegal.

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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

Slashdot - 2 hours 2 min ago
kyjellyfish writes I've been using iOS 8 for several days and aside from a few gimmicks and add-ons that attempt to achieve parity with Android, my experience has been overwhelmingly unsatisfactory. My chief complaint is that the vast majority of my apps are slow to boot and noticeably sluggish in operation. I want to point out that all of these apps have been "upgraded" specifically for iOS 8 compatibility. Previous operating system upgrades have been relatively seamless, so I'm asking whether other slashdotters have experienced this degraded performance.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Reversible, tiny, faster: Hands on with the USB Type-C plug

Arstechnica - 2 hours 49 min ago
Megan Geuss

SAN FRANCISCO—Last week, Ars met up with several representatives of the non-profit USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) to check out some of the first USB Type-C connectors off the assembly lines. The Type-C specification was announced in December and finalized in August, and it's set to bring a number of improvements to its predecessors, in addition to being smaller than the Type-A USB plugs we're familiar with today.

Considering how many USB Type-A devices are still being actively built out there (over 4 billion USB-compatible products are made each year), this smaller, reversible connector represents a significant jump. Jeff Ravencraft, President and COO of USB-IF, told Ars that USB-IF wanted a connector that worked equally well for large and small devices. “We also understand that yeah the consumer maybe has some trouble with putting in that cable connector,” he added of the Type-C's new-found ability to be plugged in right-side up or upside down, like Apple's Lightning connector.

The new Type-C connector is also slightly bigger than its proprietary cousin, with Type-C sized at approximately 8.4mm by 2.6mm and Lightning coming in at 7.7 mm by 1.7 mm. Unlike the reversible Lightning, but similar to USB connectors before it, the USB Type-C connector has a mid-plate inside the receptacle that the plug surrounds when it's inserted.

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Rating the road to the wire-free PC

CNET NEWS - 2 hours 50 min ago
Commentary: Intel aims to eliminate USB, HDMI and the power cable in its quest to create the wire-free PC. But the journey will be a long one, and uneven in terms of its challenges.






Wired Profiles John Brooks, the Programmer Behind Ricochet

Slashdot - 3 hours 15 min ago
wabrandsma writes with this excerpt from Wired: John Brooks, who is just 22 and a self-taught coder who dropped out of school at 13, was always concerned about privacy and civil liberties. Four years ago he began work on a program for encrypted instant messaging that uses Tor hidden services for the protected transmission of communications. The program, which he dubbed Ricochet, began as a hobby. But by the time he finished, he had a full-fledged desktop client that was easy to use, offered anonymity and encryption, and even resolved the issue of metadata—the "to" and "from" headers and IP addresses spy agencies use to identify and track communications—long before the public was aware that the NSA was routinely collecting metadata in bulk for its spy programs. The only problem Brooks had with the program was that few people were interested in using it. Although he'd made Ricochet's code open source, Brooks never had it formally audited for security and did nothing to promote it, so few people even knew about it. Then the Snowden leaks happened and metadata made headlines. Brooks realized he already had a solution that resolved a problem everyone else was suddenly scrambling to fix. Though ordinary encrypted email and instant messaging protect the contents of communications, metadata allows authorities to map relationships between communicants and subpoena service providers for subscriber information that can help unmask whistleblowers, journalists's sources and others.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Wired Profiles John Brooks, the Programmer Behind Richochet

Slashdot - 3 hours 15 min ago
wabrandsma writes with this excerpt from Wired: John Brooks, who is just 22 and a self-taught coder who dropped out of school at 13, was always concerned about privacy and civil liberties. Four years ago he began work on a program for encrypted instant messaging that uses Tor hidden services for the protected transmission of communications. The program, which he dubbed Ricochet, began as a hobby. But by the time he finished, he had a full-fledged desktop client that was easy to use, offered anonymity and encryption, and even resolved the issue of metadata—the "to" and "from" headers and IP addresses spy agencies use to identify and track communications—long before the public was aware that the NSA was routinely collecting metadata in bulk for its spy programs. The only problem Brooks had with the program was that few people were interested in using it. Although he'd made Ricochet's code open source, Brooks never had it formally audited for security and did nothing to promote it, so few people even knew about it. Then the Snowden leaks happened and metadata made headlines. Brooks realized he already had a solution that resolved a problem everyone else was suddenly scrambling to fix. Though ordinary encrypted email and instant messaging protect the contents of communications, metadata allows authorities to map relationships between communicants and subpoena service providers for subscriber information that can help unmask whistleblowers, journalists's sources and others.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

Slashdot - 4 hours 19 min ago
A "flawless" launch early Sunday from Cape Canaveral has sent a load of supplies on its way to the International Space Station aboard a Falcon 9-lofted SpaceX Dragon capsule. Food, care packages and provisions for NASA's astronauts make up more than a third of the cargo onboard Dragon. But the spacecraft also has experiments and equipment that will eventually help scientists complete 255 research projects in total, according to NASA. In Dragon's trunk, there's an instrument dubbed RapidScat, which will be installed outside the space station to measure the speed and direction of ocean winds on Earth. Among the commercially funded experiments onboard Dragon is a materials-science test from the sports company Cobra Puma Golf designed to build a stronger golf club. Dragon is also hauling the first space-grade 3D printer, built by Made in Space, which will test whether the on-the-spot manufacturing technology is viable without gravity.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

Slashdot - 4 hours 19 min ago
A "flawless" launch early Sunday from Cape Canaveral has sent a load of supplies on its way to the International Space Station aboard a Falcon 9-lofted SpaceX Dragon capsule. Food, care packages and provisions for NASA's astronauts make up more than a third of the cargo onboard Dragon. But the spacecraft also has experiments and equipment that will eventually help scientists complete 255 research projects in total, according to NASA. In Dragon's trunk, there's an instrument dubbed RapidScat, which will be installed outside the space station to measure the speed and direction of ocean winds on Earth. Among the commercially funded experiments onboard Dragon is a materials-science test from the sports company Cobra Puma Golf designed to build a stronger golf club. Dragon is also hauling the first space-grade 3D printer, built by Made in Space, which will test whether the on-the-spot manufacturing technology is viable without gravity.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

Slashdot - 4 hours 19 min ago
A "flawless" launch early Sunday from Cape Canaveral has sent a load of supplies on its way to the International Space Station aboard a Falcon 9-lofted SpaceX Dragon capsule. Food, care packages and provisions for NASA's astronauts make up more than a third of the cargo onboard Dragon. But the spacecraft also has experiments and equipment that will eventually help scientists complete 255 research projects in total, according to NASA. In Dragon's trunk, there's an instrument dubbed RapidScat, which will be installed outside the space station to measure the speed and direction of ocean winds on Earth. Among the commercially funded experiments onboard Dragon is a materials-science test from the sports company Cobra Puma Golf designed to build a stronger golf club. Dragon is also hauling the first space-grade 3D printer, built by Made in Space, which will test whether the on-the-spot manufacturing technology is viable without gravity.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

Slashdot - 4 hours 19 min ago
A "flawless" launch early Sunday from Cape Canaveral has sent a load of supplies on its way to the International Space Station aboard a Falcon 9-lofted SpaceX Dragon capsule. Food, care packages and provisions for NASA's astronauts make up more than a third of the cargo onboard Dragon. But the spacecraft also has experiments and equipment that will eventually help scientists complete 255 research projects in total, according to NASA. In Dragon's trunk, there's an instrument dubbed RapidScat, which will be installed outside the space station to measure the speed and direction of ocean winds on Earth. Among the commercially funded experiments onboard Dragon is a materials-science test from the sports company Cobra Puma Golf designed to build a stronger golf club. Dragon is also hauling the first space-grade 3D printer, built by Made in Space, which will test whether the on-the-spot manufacturing technology is viable without gravity.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Sigma CEO leads premium push in camera market (Q&A)

CNET NEWS - 4 hours 37 min ago
Under CEO Kazuto Yamaki, Sigma has helped transform the Japanese company so most of its revenue comes from higher-end products. Too bad about the camera business, though.






The history of the Predator, the drone that changed the world (Q&A)

CNET NEWS - 4 hours 50 min ago
Longtime Pentagon correspondent Richard Whittle investigated the unmanned aircraft that gave the military the ability to attack targets from the other side of the world. He talked to CNET about the drone.






09/21 FreeBSD 10.1-BETA2

DistroWatch - 5 hours 14 min ago



Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

Slashdot - 5 hours 22 min ago
An anonymous reader writes A boycott of systemd and other backlash around systemd's feature-creep has led to the creation of Uselessd, a new init daemon. Uselessd is a fork of systemd 208 that strips away functionality considered irrelevant to an init system like the systemd journal and udev. Uselessd also adds in functionality not accepted in upstream systemd like support for alternative C libraries (namely uClibc and musl) and it's even being ported to BSD.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Wanxiang May Give 2012's Fisker Karma a Relaunch

Slashdot - 6 hours 22 min ago
New submitter sumit sinha notes recent reports that Tesla may soon be joined again by Fisker in the world of high-end, all-electric car makers. According to a Reuters story, the Fisker Karma in something very close to its previously available form may be offered for sale again sometime soon. Says the article: The "new" Karma that California-based Fisker, acquired by Wanxiang earlier this year, is rushing to finish is based largely on the 2012 model, said the people, who asked not to be identified. Wanxiang's top U.S. executive said in February the Karma would be reintroduced within a year. "It will have to be nearly identical to the 2012 model, or it would need to go through (safety) testing and certification again," a person close to Fisker's suppliers said. "I don’t think they want to put a lot of engineering into it either, as well as probably use up some of the old parts that are in inventory." Close, but not exact,: Fisker does not plan to simply reintroduce the 2012 Karma, a source close to Fisker said. “Not 100 percent identical," the person said. "The new Karma will be different in many key areas. It will have noticeable upgrades." He declined to provide details. Using the 2012 Karma design could present problems given it has older features and technologies. "You're not buying something that's considered 'state of the art' necessarily," the supplier source said. "It's a big hurdle to overcome."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

Slashdot - 7 hours 19 min ago
HughPickens.com writes On Friday evening, a man jumped the White House fence, sprinted across the North Lawn toward the residence, and was eventually tackled by agents, but not before he managed to actually enter the building. Now CBS reports that the security breach at the White House is prompting a new round of criticism for the Secret Service, with lawmakers and outside voices saying the incident highlights glaring deficiencies in the agency's protection of the president and the first family. "Because of corner-cutting and an ingrained cultural attitude by management of 'we make do with less,' the Secret Service is not protecting the White House with adequate agents and uniformed officers and is not keeping up to date with the latest devices for detecting intruders and weapons of mass destruction," says Ronald Kessler. "The fact that the Secret Service does not even provide a lock for the front door of the White House demonstrates its arrogance." But the Secret Service must also consider the consequences of overreaction says White House correspondent Major Garrett. "If you have a jumper and he is unarmed and has no bags or backpacks or briefcase, do you unleash a dog and risk having cell phone video shot from Pennsylvania Avenue of an unarmed, mentally ill person being bitten or menaced by an attack dog?" But Kessler says Julia Pierson, the first woman to head the Secret Service, has some explaining to do. "If the intruder were carrying chemical, biological or radiological weapons and President Obama and his family had been in, we would have had a dead president as well as a dead first family."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








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