An anonymous reader writes "A Pennsylvania school district is going Linux and building an open source high school with the help of student technology apprentices. As part of a 1:1 laptop learning program, 1725 high school students at Penn Manor School District are receiving new laptops running Ubuntu and open source software exclusively. Central to the program is a student help desk where student programmers created a Linux multicast imaging system titled Fast Linux Deployment Toolkit. The district posted pictures of the imaging process in action. Working alongside school IT staff, students also developed help desk software and other programs in support of the 1:1 student laptop program. The student tech apprentices also provide peer support for fellow students."
cartechboy writes "The Tesla Model S went on sale in China this week, at a price of $121,000--which is the same $79,900 price as in the U.S. plus a whole bunch of other costs tacked on, mostly the customs duty China uses to protect its own auto industry and a stiff value-added tax. But that's not the big news. Lost in the announcement was the news that Tesla got its brand name back from a Chinese trademark troll who'd registered it in 2006, even before the very first electric Roadster was sold in the States. So now the company's stores can carry the name "Te Si La," which is the Chinese transliteration most familiar to consumers in that country. Score one more for Tesla Motors."
Velcroman1 writes "I've seen the future. It's called gigabit Internet by Google Fiber, and it just launched in my hometown of Provo, Utah, the second of three scheduled cities to get speeds that are 100 times faster than the rest of America. 'What good is really fast Internet if the content stays the same?' you may ask yourself. I certainly did, before testing the service. Besides, my "high speed" Internet from Comcast seemed fast enough, enabling my household to stream HD videos, load web pages quickly, and connect multiple devices as needed, largely without hiccup. I was wrong. Using gigabit Internet, even in its infancy, opened my eyes to speed and reminded me of why I love the Internet."
mendax writes "The New York Times reports, 'Russia plans to extend its offer of asylum to Edward J. Snowden beyond August, a Russian lawmaker said Friday at the World Economic Forum ... The lawmaker, Aleksei K. Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's lower house of Parliament, hinted during a panel discussion that the extension of temporary refugee status for Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, might be indefinite. "He will not be sent out of Russia," Mr. Pushkov said. "It will be up to Snowden."'" Snowden said yesterday that going back to the U.S. is not an option because of the country's poor whistleblower protections "which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like [him]." He added, "This is especially frustrating, because it means there’s no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury."
An anonymous reader writes "An unconventional article on the development of the WebKit project was just posted to the arXiv. Those guys data-mined the WebKit source-code change-log with Social Network Analysis. They claim that even if Apple and Samsung fight each other with patent wars in the courts, they still collaborate in the WebKit community. The report provides a different perspective from the Bitergia WebKit analytics. Some interesting polemics regarding Apple, Google and Nokia participation in the WebKit project are also highlighted in the paper. There are some nice figures capturing collaboration and rivalry in the WebKit community."
An anonymous reader writes "Version 1.4 of the Wayland protocol and Weston reference compositor have been released. The Wayland/Weston 1.4 release delivers on many features and includes promoting the sub-surface protocol to official Wayland, improved touch screen support, a crop/scale protocol within Weston, security improvements, and other fixes."
An anonymous reader writes "TechCrunch is reporting on an interesting Gmail bug. Apparently, if you run a Google search for Gmail while logged in and click one of the top (and correct) results, it brings up a Compose window with an email address already filled in: the Hotmail account of a Fresno, CA man. He says he's been receiving hundreds every hour, most of which are blank, since yesterday. The article says the bug is related to the Gmail outage from earlier this afternoon."
_0x783czar writes "Starting this April, South Korea will require all phone vendors to allow pre-installed bloatware to be uninstalled. That's right, they will be able to get rid of all that pesky software without having to root their phones. According to press release by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, 'The move aims to rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players.' They hope this will also increase the users' data storage and battery life. From the article: 'Under the new guidelines, telcos are required to make most of their pre-installed apps deletable except for four necessary items related to Wi-Fi connectivity, near-field communication (NFC), the customer service center and the app store.' It'd be nice if similar legislation were passed in the U.S. and elsewhere."
msm1267 writes "A class of SCADA vulnerabilities discussed at a recent conference is getting attention not only for the risks they pose to master control systems at electric utilities, but also for illuminating a dangerous gap in important critical infrastructure regulations. The flaws, many of which have been patched, demonstrate how an attacker could target a non-critical, serial-based piece of field equipment at an electrical substation and knock out visibility over all of a utility’s substations. 'Where serial lines come into a master station, for instance, they won’t have the same level of protection that a TCP/IP-based connection would have,' said Michael Toecker, an ICS security consultant and engineer at Digital Bond. 'There’s a complete regulatory blind spot there in the current version of the NERC standards.' Some of the non-critical devices Crain and Sistrunk talked about at S4 rely largely on physical security to keep them safe, and are not covered by NERC regulations. Initiatives such as the Smart Grid are all about pushing intelligence away from substations and into areas where it may not be practical to have adequate physical security. 'No camera. No fence. Just a lock pick away from somebody getting at that cabinet and then affecting visibility for a huge subset of the distribution system,' Crain said."
An anonymous reader writes "Richard Stallman has called LLVM a terrible setback in a new mailing list exchange over GCC vs. Clang. LLVM continues to be widely used and grow in popularity for different uses, but it's under a BSD-style license rather than the GPL. RMS wrote, 'For GCC to be replaced by another technically superior compiler that defended freedom equally well would cause me some personal regret, but I would rejoice for the community's advance. The existence of LLVM is a terrible setback for our community precisely because it is not copylefted and can be used as the basis for nonfree compilers — so that all contribution to LLVM directly helps proprietary software as much as it helps us.'"
Oneflower writes "As we discussed last week, a lawsuit is moving forward that alleges widespread conspiracy among the CEOs of Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar to suppress the wages of their tech staff. Mark Ames at Pando explains how it happened, and showcases some of the emails involving Steve Jobs and other CEOs. Quoting: 'Shortly after sealing the pact with Google, Jobs strong-armed Adobe into joining after he complained to CEO Bruce Chizen that Adobe was recruiting Apple’s employees. Chizen sheepishly responded that he thought only a small class of employees were off-limits: "I thought we agreed not to recruit any senior level employees. I would propose we keep it that way. Open to discuss. It would be good to agree." Jobs responded by threatening war: "OK, I’ll tell our recruiters they are free to approach any Adobe employee who is not a Sr. Director or VP. Am I understanding your position correctly?" Adobe’s Chizen immediately backed down.'"
Lucas123 writes "A new report shows that if movie production houses charged a $15 monthly fee to just 45% of the world's online subscribers, they could rake in just as much cash as they currently do through TV downloads and disc sales. That equates to $29.4 billion. 'Movie producers have little to fear from online distribution in the long term,' the report states. 'It is the distribution part of the movie business that should be worried because online distribution will replace a sizable portion of their current industry.' According to the report's hypothetical model, the $15 fee would offer open access to all movie content — meaning instant online access to all movies that have been ever produced, 'along with new releases as they come out.'"
jones_supa sends this AFP report: "Microsoft soared to record revenues in the last quarter, confounding Wall Street forecasts on the back of strong demand for Xbox consoles, Surface tablets and Internet cloud services. The U.S.-based technology titan reported net income of $6.56 billion on revenue that hit a record high of $24.52 billion in the quarter that ended December 31. ... Sales of Surface tablets more than doubled from the previous quarter to hit $893 million, and Microsoft sold 7.4 million Xbox videogame consoles, with 3.9 million of those being new-generation Xbox One. Bing's share of the Internet search market grew to 18.2 percent while its share of the online search ad market grew about a third, according to Microsoft. Meanwhile, money made from selling Windows software to computer makers slid by three percent due to continue soft demand by consumers for personal computers, according to Microsoft."
New submitter SpankiMonki writes "Natalie Wolchover at Quanta Magazine has written an article about how Jeremy England, a MIT professor, may have found a theory of the origin of life grounded in physics. In a paper published last August by The Journal of Chemical Physics, England describes his theory, the 'Statistical physics of self-replication.' Wolchover writes, 'England['s]...formula...indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.' England says his ideas pose no threat to Darwinian evolution: 'On the contrary, I am just saying that from the perspective of the physics, you might call Darwinian evolution a special case of a more general phenomenon.'"
snydeq writes "30 years ago today, Apple debuted the Macintosh. Here are some reviews of the early Mac models, including the Macintosh ('will be compared to other machines not only in terms of its features but also in the light of the lavish claims and promises made by Apple co-founder Steven Jobs'), the Mac SE ('contains some radical changes, including room for a second internal drive and even a fan'), the Mac IIx ('a chorus of yawns'), and the Mac Portable ('you may develop a bad case of the wannas for this lovable [16-lb.] luggable'). Plus insights on the Macintosh II's prospects from Bill Gates: 'If you look at a product like Mac Word III on that full-page display, it's pretty awesome. ... But the corporate buyer is never going to be a strong point for Apple.'" iFixit got their hands on a Mac 128K and did a teardown, evaluating the old hardware for repairability. What will the Mac look like in another 30 years?
schwit1 sends this news from Aviation Week: "A new U.S. Defense Department report warns that ongoing software, maintenance and reliability problems with Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 stealth fighter could delay the Marine Corps' plans to start using its F-35 jets by mid-2015. It said Lockheed had delivered F-35 jets with 50 percent or less of the software capabilities required by its production contracts with the Pentagon. The computer-based logistics system known as ALIS was fielded with 'serious deficiencies' and remained behind schedule, which affected servicing of existing jets needed for flight testing, the report said. It said the ALIS diagnostic system failed to meet even basic requirements. The F35 program, which began in 2001, is 70 percent over initial cost estimates, and years behind schedule, but top U.S. officials say it is now making progress. They have vowed to safeguard funding for the program to keep it on track. Earlier this week, the nonprofit Center for International Policy said Lockheed had greatly exaggerated its estimate (PDF) that the F-35 program sustained 125,000 U.S. jobs to shore up support for the program."
ananyo writes "Stephen Hawking has proposed a new solution to the black-hole firewall paradox, which has been vexing physicists for almost two years. The paradox troubles physicists because if the firewall scenario is correct, Einstein's general theory of relativity is flouted. But the classical theory black hole cannot be reconciled to the quantum mechanical prediction that energy and information can escape from a black hole. Now Hawking has proposed a tantalizingly simple solution to the paradox which allows both quantum mechanics and general relativity to remain intact — black holes simply do not have an event horizon to catch fire. The key to his claim is that quantum effects around the black hole cause spacetime to fluctuate too wildly for a sharp boundary surface to exist. As Hawking writes in his paper, 'The absence of event horizons mean that there are no black holes — in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity.'"
Okian Warrior writes "In a followup to the earlier story about Princeton researchers predicting the end of Facebook by 2017, Facebook has struck back with a post using similar statistical techniques to predict that Princeton itself may be facing irreversible decline. By using similar methods ('likes', mentions in scholarly papers, Google searches) Facebook has created graphs that indicate Princeton is losing ground compared with its rivals and may have no students at all by 2021."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "David Stout reports at Time Magazine that what began with a Craigslist ad from a lesbian couple calling for a sperm donor in rural Topeka, Kansas ended in court on Wednesday with a judge ordering the sperm donor to pay child support. The Kansas Department for Children and Families filed the case in October 2012 seeking to have William Marotta declared the father of a child born to Jennifer Schreiner in 2009 so he can be held responsible for about $6,000 in public assistance the state provided, as well as future child support. 'In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to perform to statutory requirement of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties' self-designation of (Marotta) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (Marotta) of parental right and responsibilities to the child,' wrote Judge Mattivi. Marotta opposed that action, saying he had contacted Schreiner and her partner at the time, Angela Bauer, in response to an ad they placed on Craigslist seeking a sperm donor and signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities. 'We stand by that contract,' says Defense attorney Swinnen adding that the Kansas statute doesn't specifically require the artificial insemination be carried out by a physician. 'The insinuation is offensive, and we are responding vigorously to that. We stand by our story. There was no personal relationship whatsoever between my client and the mother, or the partner of the mother, or the child. Anything the state insinuates is vilifying my client, and I will address it.'"
Zothecula writes "Like the Higgs Boson, dark matter is one of those things in the Universe that evidence points to, but is very difficult to pin down. A team of researchers is looking to verify the existence of this most elusive of ingredients that is thought to make up 23 percent of the Universe using powerful detectors buried deep in an Italian mountain. The DarkSide-50 project is an international collaboration between Italian, French, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and Chinese institutions, as well as 17 American universities. The project team spent last (Northern hemisphere) summer assembling the detector in a laboratory deep within the Gran Sasso mountain, which is accessed via an exit off a six-mile (9.6 km) long highway tunnel in Italy."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "In a paper published in the Ecological Society of America's journal Ecosphere, researchers from York University and the University of Guelph in Canada explained that while plastic waste has previously been shown to have devastating impacts on the environment, less attention has been given to the resourcefulness of species in the face of their changing surroundings. "Plastic waste pervades the global landscape," they wrote. "Although adverse impacts on both species and ecosystems have been documented, there are few observations of behavioral flexibility and adaptation in species, especially insects, to increasingly plastic-rich environments.""