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08/01 Zorin OS 10

DistroWatch - 46 min 58 sec ago

Microsoft Taps PBS To Advance Its National Talent Strategy With 'Code Trip'

Slashdot - 51 min 2 sec ago
theodp writes: You don't have to be Mitt Romney to question PBS's announcement that it will air the Microsoft-funded 'reality' show Code Trip, in which Roadtrip Nation and Microsoft YouthSpark will send students across the U.S. for a "transformative journey into computer science." Of the partnership, Roadtrip Nation co-founder Mike Marriner said, "Roadtrip Nation is proud to partner with Microsoft's YouthSpark initiative not only to inform others of the many career routes one can take with a computer science background, but also to engage in the much-needed conversation of diversifying the tech field with more pluralistic perspectives." YouthSpark is part of Microsoft's National Talent Strategy (pdf), which the company describes as "a two-pronged approach that will couple long-term improvements in STEM education in the United States with targeted, short-term, high-skilled immigration reforms." The Official Microsoft Blog reports that filming of Code Trip began this week, with the three students traveling around the country to speak with leaders including Hadi Partovi, the co-founder of Code.org and 'major supporter' of FWD.us, who coincidentally once reported to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and is the next door neighbor of Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and a jogging partner of Steve Ballmer.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How self-driving cars will cut accidents 90 percent (Q&A)

CNET NEWS - 54 min 52 sec ago
For Road Trip 2015, CNET talks with the University of Michigan's Peter Sweatman about the rapid merging of computers and cars, and the fake city in Ann Arbor where it's being put to the test.

ISPs Claim Title II Regulations Don't Apply To the Internet Because "Computers"

Slashdot - 1 hour 51 min ago
New submitter Gryle writes: ArsTechnica is reporting on an interesting legal tactic by ISPs in the net neutrality fight. In a 95-page brief the United States Telecom Association claims Internet access qualifies as information service, not a telecommunication service, because it involves computer processing. The brief further claims "The FCC's reclassification of mobile broadband internet access as a common-carrier service is doubly unlawful." (page 56)

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Japanese Police Arrest Mount Gox CEO Mark Karpeles

Slashdot - 2 hours 49 min ago
McGruber writes with the news as carried (paywalled) by the Wall Street Journal that Mark Karpeles, who headed bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, has been arrested by Japanese police: In February 2014, Mount Gox filed for bankruptcy, saying it had lost 750,000 of its customers' bitcoins as well as 100,000 of its own, worth some $500 million at the time. A police spokesman said Mr. Karpelès is suspected of manipulating his own account at the company by making it appear that $1 million was added to it. The BBC reports the arrest as well, and notes that the coins missing from Mt. Gox represent 7% of all Bitcoins in circulation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Magic Circle is a video game about the difficulty of making games

Arstechnica - 3 hours 7 min ago

The world is largely colorless because the in-game developers couldn't agree on what color to make anything. Seriously.

8 more images in gallery

.related-stories { display: none !important; } There are surprisingly few video games about the process of making video games. Critically acclaimed movies like Argo and The Artist dramatize the work of Hollywood. Authors often love nothing more than writing about the struggles of fictional authors. But games have been slow to take that self-referential look at their own creation.

This is slowly beginning to change. In recent years, we've seen titles like Hack 'n' Slash and Code Hero turn the tedium and minutiae of computer programming into an actual game mechanic. We've also seen Game Dev Tycoon and Game Dev Story look at the making of games through a light-hearted business lens. The Magic Circle takes a bit from both camps, telling a fictional story of a troubled game's development from within that troubled, fictional game itself.

Even writing about The Magic Circle requires getting incredibly meta from the get-go. The game you play, The Magic Circle, is presented as the alpha, test version of "The Magic Circle," a massively multiplayer fantasy world that's been in development for over a decade by the time you get to it. The game-within-a-game is in incredibly rough shape, despite the development time, full of blocky, colorless graphics, placeholders where epic quests should go, animations controlled like puppets by human guides, and "puzzles" that are an insult to the name.

After a quick ten-minute trip through that alpha world, you dive in again in "Pro" mode and start to learn how the game-within-the-game got to this sorry state. The "live testbed" world you play in is overseen by members of the development team, who take the form of giant, unblinking eyes that float through the world and observe your actions. They're omnipotent gods here, but they're also flawed and fractured human beings in the real world, evidenced by the sounds of them squabbling through headsets while they monitor the test.

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"Happy Birthday" Public Domain After All?

Slashdot - 3 hours 44 min ago
New submitter jazzdude00021 writes: No song has had as contentious of copyright history as "Happy Birthday." The song is nearly ubiquitous at birthday parties in the USA, and even has several translations with the same tune. Due to copyrights held by Warner Music, public performances have historically commanded royalty fees. However, a new lawsuit has been brought to prove that "Happy Birthday" is, and always has been, in the public domain.The discovery phase for this lawsuit ended on July, 11 2014, yet this past week new evidence surfaced from Warner Music that may substantiate the claim that the lyrics were in the public domain long before the copyright laws changed in 1927.

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Silicon Valley's Big Lie

Slashdot - 4 hours 46 min ago
HughPickens.com writes: Danny Crichton writes at TechCrunch that startups in Silicon Valley run on an alchemy of ignorance and amnesia and that lying is a requisite and daily part of being a founder, the grease that keeps the startup flywheel running. Most startups fail. The vast, vast majority of startup employees will never exercise their options, let alone become millionaires while doing it. But founders have little choice as they sell their company to everyone, whether investors, employees, potential employees, or clients. "Founders have to tell the lie – that everything is fine, that a feature is going to launch even though the engineer for that feature hasn't been hired yet, that payroll will run even though the VC dollars are still nowhere on the horizon," writes Crichton. "For one of the most hyper-rational populations in the world, Silicon Valley runs off a myth about startup success, of the lowly founder conquering the world."

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New telemetry suggests shot-down drone was higher than alleged

Arstechnica - 5 hours 7 min ago

The pilot of the drone shot down Sunday evening over a Kentucky property has now come forward with video provided to Ars, seemingly showing that the drone wasn’t nearly as close as the property owner made it out to be. However, the federal legal standard for how far into the air a person’s private property extends remains in dispute.

According to the telemetry provided by David Boggs, the drone pilot, his aircraft was only in flight for barely two minutes before it was shot down. The data also shows that it was well over 200 feet above the ground before the fatal shots fired by William Merideth.

David Boggs provided this video to Ars, which he describes as his "statement." (video link)

Boggs told Ars that this was the maiden voyage of his DJI Phantom 3, and that his intentions were not to snoop on anyone—his aim was simply to fly over a vacationing friend’s property, a few doors away from Merideth’s property in Hillview, Kentucky, south of Louisville.

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Legendary games dev Charles Cecil, on consoles, Kickstarter, and the death of the 2D artist

Arstechnica - 5 hours 37 min ago

It's hard to imagine a game as defiantly old-fashioned as Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse being released without the help of crowdfunding. While it bears the sharp high-definition visuals and steep production values of a modern game, you could just as easily imagine playing it under a veil of blocky pixels and low-fi voice acting. Most publishers wouldn't even give it a chance. Today's adventure game is less point-and-click, and more interactive story; the challenge of esoteric, abstract-thinking puzzles dumbed down in favour of a more accessible narrative.

This isn't always a bad thing of course: just look at the likes of Telltale Games' brilliant The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. But the Kickstarter successes of Broken Sword 5 and Double Fine Adventure in 2012 showed that there's a small, but dedicated group out there that crave the challenging puzzles and quirky dialogue of a late-'80s and early-'90s adventure game. It's thanks to the likes of Kickstarter, Apple's App Store, and the openness of the PC platform, that these games can find a home.

For Charles Cecil MBE, famed developer and creator of the Broken Sword series, it was specifically Kickstarter and Apple's App Store that were the catalyst for reviving his company Revolution Software. iOS remasters of classic point-and-click games like Beneath a Steel Sky and Broken Sword sold well on the App Store, and set the company on a path towards its Kickstarter success with Broken Sword 5, a game that brought in nearly $800,000 (£500,000) and attracted over 14,000 backers.

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Windows 10 Upgrade Strategies, Pitfalls and Fixes As MSFT Servers Are Hit Hard

Slashdot - 5 hours 41 min ago
MojoKid writes: The upgrade cycle begins, with Microsoft's latest operating system--the highly anticipated Windows 10--rolling out over Windows Update for free, for users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. For those that are ready to take the plunge over the weekend, there are some things to note. So far, Microsoft has been rolling out the upgrade in waves and stages. If you are not one of the 'lucky' ones to be in the first wave, you can take matters into your own hands and begin the upgrade process manually. While the process is mostly simple, it won't be for everyone. This guide steps through a few of the strategies and pitfalls. There are two main methods to upgrade, either through Windows Update or through the Media Creation Tool. In either case, you will need to have opted-in for the Windows 10 Free Upgrade program to reserve your license. Currently, the Windows Update method is hit or miss due to the requirement for additional updates needing to be installed first and Microsoft's servers being hit hard, leading to some rather humorous error messages like the oh-so helpful description, "Something Happened." Currently, it would be best to avoid the Windows Update upgrade, at least for the time being. Numerous issues with licensing have been reported, requiring manual activation either through the dreaded phone call, or by running slmgr.vbs /ato at the command prompt to force license registration.

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Apple mania sweeps across Vietnam (pictures)

CNET NEWS - 6 hours 8 min ago
As part of Road Trip 2015, CNET explores the Vietnam electronics scene. What everyone seems to lust after is the iPhone.

10 Years of Intel Processors Compared

Slashdot - 8 hours 31 min ago
jjslash writes to Techspot's interesting look back at the evolution of Intel CPUs since the original Core 2 Duo E6600 and Core 2 Quad processors were introduced. The test pits the eight-year-old CPUs against their successors in the Nehalem, Sandy Bridge and Haswell families, including today's Celeron and Pentium parts which fare comparably well. A great reference just days before Intel's new Skylake processor debuts.

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JAXA Successfully Tests Its D-SEND Low-Noise Supersonic Aircraft

Slashdot - 11 hours 28 min ago
AmiMoJo writes: JAXA, the Japanese space agency, has successfully tested its low sonic boom demonstration aircraft D-SEND#2. The unmanned aircraft is floated up to 30,000m by balloon and released, falling back to earth and breaking the sound barrier in the process. The sonic boom created is measured on the ground. The project aims to halve the noise created by sonic booms, paving the way for future supersonic aircraft.

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Mt. Gox head arrested over loss of 650,000 bitcoins

Arstechnica - 12 hours 44 min ago

Mt. Gox head Mark Karpelès was arrested by Japanese police on Saturday, more than a year after the exchange folded amidst the loss of 650,000 bitcoins. Karpelès hasn't been formally charged but "police are alleging that he manipulated the company’s computer system to inflate its assets," The Wall Street Journal reported.

"Japanese media aired footage of Mr. Karpelès being led by police officers from his apartment before 7 a.m. Saturday," the Journal report said. "An official familiar with the investigation said authorities allege that Mr. Karpelès manipulated the balance of a company account and used it to counter orders from customers. Some of the coins that he said were lost may not have existed, the official said."

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In Korea, Smartphones Use Multipath TCP To Reach 1 Gbps

Slashdot - 7/31/2015 11:48pm
An anonymous reader writes: Korean users are among the most bandwidth-hungry smartphone users. During the MPTCP WG meeting at IETF'93, SungHoon Seo announced that KT had deployed since mid June a commercial service that allows smartphone users to reach 1 Gbps. This is not yet 5G, but the first large scale commercial deployment of Multipath TCP by a mobile operator to combine fast LTE and fast WiFi to reach up to 1 Gbps. This service is offered on the Samsung Galaxy S6 whose Linux kernel includes the open-source Multipath TCP implementation and SOCKSv5 proxies managed by the network operator. Several thousands of users are already actively using this optional service.

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GasBuddy Has a New Privacy Policy (Spoiler: Not As Customer Friendly)

Slashdot - 7/31/2015 8:54pm
An anonymous reader writes: GasBuddy has been a popular iOS and Android app for the last 5 years used to find the cheapest place to get gas. According to the Google Play store, there are over 10 million installs (in additions to the installs from Apple and Amazon's appstores). Now that they have a large enough number of users, GasBuddy has updated their privacy policy to allow them to collect more information. Some highlights of the privacy policy changes include: only 10 days for new terms to take effect (previously users were given 30 days to review the changes); collection of "signal strength related to Wifi or Bluetooth functionality, temperature, battery level, and similar technical data"; and [a warning that the company] will not honor a web browser's "do not track" setting.

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Texting while strolling makes you walk funny, study confirms

CNET NEWS - 7/31/2015 8:34pm
The good news: walking texters did a fine job adapting their movements to avoid mishaps. The bad news: the rest of the world was stuck behind them and late to an appointment.

Questioning the Dispute Over Key Escrow

Slashdot - 7/31/2015 7:38pm
Nicola Hahn writes: The topic of key escrow encryption has once again taken center stage as former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has spoken out against key escrow both at this year's Aspen Security Forum and in an op-ed published recently by the Washington Post. However, the debate over cryptographic back doors has a glaring blind spot. As the trove of leaks from Hacking Team highlights, most back doors are implemented using zero-day exploits. Keep in mind that the Snowden documents reveal cooperation across the tech industry, on behalf of the NSA, to make products that were "exploitable." Hence, there are people who suggest the whole discussion over key escrow includes an element of theater. Is it, among other things, a public relations gambit, in the wake of the PRISM scandal, intended to cast Silicon Valley companies as defenders of privacy?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.