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Submission + - Morocco switches on first part of the world's largest solar plant (

AmiMoJo writes: Noor 1 is just the first of three phases of a solar plant that will eventually cover an area larger than the country's capital, Rabat. It is hoped that it will eventually produce so much electricity that the nation will not only be able to meet its own energy needs, but also export the excess to Europe. The first section of the plant is now producing 160 MWp. Built near the town of Ouarzazate in central Morocco, the plant uses solar thermal technology, rather than photovoltaic solar panels. Solar thermal technology uses mirrors, which track the movement of the Sun, to concentrate solar rays to heat oil in pipes. The hot oil is used to create steam in order to power turbines, creating the electricity. The advantage of using this technique is that the oil can then be used to melt salt, which holds onto the energy, and can be used to produce power even after the Sun has gone down.

Submission + - Firefox going to 6-8 week variable release schedule (

AmiMoJo writes: Four years ago Mozilla moved to a fixed-schedule release model, otherwise known as the Train Model, in which we released Firefox every six weeks to get features and updates to users faster. Now Mozilla is moving to a variable 6-8 week cycle, with the same number of releases per year but some flexibility to "respond to emerging user and market needs" and allow time for holidays.

The new release schedule looks like this:

2016-01-26 – Firefox 44
2016-03-08 – Firefox 45, ESR 45 (6 weeks cycle)
2016-04-19 – Firefox 46 (6 weeks cycle)
2016-06-07 – Firefox 47 (7 weeks cycle)
2016-08-02 – Firefox 48 (8 weeks cycle)
2016-09-13 – Firefox 49 (6 weeks cycle)
2016-11-08 – Firefox 50 (8 weeks cycle)
2016-12-13 – Firefox 50.0.1 (5 week cycle, release for critical fixes as needed)
2017-01-24 – Firefox 51 (6 weeks from prior release)

Submission + - Battle brewing over the right to record 4k and 8k broadcasts in Japan (

AmiMoJo writes: Japanese broadcasters have indicated that 4k and 8k broadcasts may have recording disabled via a "do not copy" flag, which receivers would be expected to obey. Now the Internet Users Association (MIAU) and Shufuren (Housewives Federation) have submitted documentation opposing the ban. The document points out that the ban will only inconvenience the majority of the general audience, while inevitably failing to prevent unauthorized copying by anyone determined to circumvent the protection.

Submission + - Google targets fake "download" and "play" buttons (

AmiMoJo writes: Google says it will go to war against the fake 'download' and 'play' buttons that attempt to deceive users on file-sharing and other popular sites. According to a new announcement from the company titled ‘No More Deceptive Download Buttons’, Google says it will expand its eight-year-old Safe Browsing initiative to target some of the problems highlighted above. “You may have encountered social engineering in a deceptive download button, or an image ad that falsely claims your system is out of date. Today, we’re expanding Safe Browsing protection to protect you from such deceptive embedded content, like social engineering ads,” the company says.

Submission + - GE the latest company to end production of compact fluorescent lamps (

AmiMoJo writes: General Electric is joining the ranks of lightbulb manufacturers that no longer manufacture compact flourescent lamps (CFLs), favouring LEDs instead. Huge reductions in the cost of LEDs, improvements in efficiency (and thus smaller power supplies) and better quality light are cited as the reasons for the move.

Submission + - Bad USB C cable kills Google reviewer's laptop (

AmiMoJo writes: Google staff member Benson Leung has been reviewing USB C cables on Amazon for some time now, discovering that many are out of spec in one way or another. His most recent find is a cable that damaged his expensive Pixel C laptop and some of his test equipment, due to having the ground and +5V lines swapped over between each end. Ironically, the manufacturer's name is Surjtech.

Submission + - Storing very large files on Amazon's unlimited cloud photo storage

AmiMoJo writes: Last year Amazon started offering unlimited cloud storage for photos to customers who subscribed to its "Prime" service. Japanese user YDKK has developed a tool to store arbitrary data inside a .bmp file, which can then be uploaded to Amazon's service. A 1.44GB test image containing an executable file uploaded at over 250Mb/sec, far faster than typical cloud storage services that are rate limited and don't allow extremely large files.

Submission + - SPAM: China's Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover camera data released

AmiMoJo writes: Detailed high resolution images from the recent Chinese moon mission have been released. Links to the original Chinese sites hosting the images are available, but Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society has kindly organized them in English. Images show the lander, the rover and the surface of the earth. An interactive map is also available, built from data collected by the mission.

Submission + - Google surpasses Apple as the world's most valuable company (

AmiMoJo writes: Alphabet- Google's parent company- has surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company after its latest earnings report. The company made a profit of $4.9bn (£3.4bn) for the fourth quarter, meaning that Alphabet is now worth around $568bn, compared with Apple, which has a value of $535bn. Much of this is attributed to success in the mobile ads sector. Meanwhile, in the UK, revenue rose 16% to $1.92bn in the fourth quarter. It is the only territory outside the US for which the company breaks down its figures because it is such a large part of the business.

Submission + - Samsung joins the list of companies offering ad-blocking (

AmiMoJo writes: Ad blocking, it appears, is no longer just reserved for app developers — device makers are getting in on the act too. After Apple led the way and ASUS recently announcing it would begin shipping devices with its own ad blocking software, Samsung has enabled filters inside its pre-installed Android browser. Instead of going it alone, Samsung has opened an API and allowed app developer Rocketship to enable Adblock Fast inside the Samsung Internet browser. The app is already available on iOS, as well as Chrome and Opera, but the Korean electronics giant will enable ad blocking functionality inside its browser via an over-the-air update that will roll out from today.

Submission + - China to build floating nuclear plant by 2020 (

AmiMoJo writes: China has announced plans to build a float nuclear plant, capable of generating 200MW, by 2020. The plant is designed to provide mobile power for offshore oil and gas exploration, as well as electricity and heat where needed and even desalination for remote islands and coastal areas. The use of nuclear power at sea is not unknown — aircraft carriers and missile submarines are often nuclear-powered — but doing so for civilian purposes appears to be unprecedented, although a Russian project is reportedly already under construction.

Submission + - Nippon TV begins testing 8k cameras for broadcast (

AmiMoJo writes: Nippon TV has started filming it's popular "Emi Ten" comedy show in 8k. The goal is to test 8k camera technology and gain experience capturing live performances. 8k presents some unique challenges, particularly when focusing the camera. Focusing has to be automatic as human operators can't meet the extremely demanding requirements of the resolution. 8k video has a resolution of 7,680x4,320 pixels (16x 1080p) and is recorded at 60 frames per second (2x current HDTV). Broadcasts will be converted down to 4k, as currently no 8k broadcast systems exist.

Submission + - 10 year old Muslim boy probed for 'terrorist house' spelling error

AmiMoJo writes: A 10-year-old Muslim boy who mistakenly wrote that he lived in a "terrorist house" during an English lesson at school has been investigated by police. The pupil, who attends a primary school in Lancashire, meant to say he lived in a "terraced house". The boy was interviewed by Lancashire Police at his home the next day and the family laptop was examined. The 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act means that Teachers have been legally obliged to report any suspected extremist behaviour to police since July. Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK's largest umbrella group for Islamic associations, said he was aware of dozens of cases similar to that of the schoolboy.

Submission + - Microsoft working on a SIM for Windows 10 devices (

AmiMoJo writes: Microsoft is working on a new way to allow Windows 10 devices to connect to the Internet even when no wireless network is available and without having a contract with a mobile carrier. This new method relies on what’s being called the Microsoft SIM card, which “allows you to connect to a trusted nationwide mobile data network using only your Microsoft account.” Only domestic plans will be available at launch, which means you won’t be able to use the SIM card outside your home country, but Microsoft says that international roaming offers will be available soon. The Cellular Data app will be tied to your Microsoft account, and different plans will be available through the Windows Store using the support payment methods.

Submission + - Metal spheres crash land in Vietnam, believed to be from space (

AmiMoJo writes: Two strange metal spheres fell to the ground on Sunday evening in a remote part of Tuyen Quang Province, Vietnam. "The sky was clear, suddenly we heard a thunder-like noise," a witness told Thanh Nien. Locals people later found the orb near a stream. The two objects, one around 80cm and the other 27cm in diameter made a sound like thunder as they came crashing down. Similar objects have fallen in other parts of the world over the years, believed to be hydrazine bladder tanks from Russian made space vehicles.

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