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+ - Stephen Hawking's new speech system is free and open-source-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Stephen Hawking and Intel have worked together for the past several years to build a new communication system for those suffering from diseases that severely impair motor function. The system is called ACAT (Assistive Context Aware Toolkit), and it will be free and open source. Hawking's previous system had been in use for over 20 years, so the technological upgrade is significant. His typing rate alone has doubled, and common tasks are up to 10 times faster. ACAT uses technology from SwiftKey, a cell phone keyboard enhancement.

"Over three million people around the world are affected by motor neurone disease and quadriplegia and because the system created for Hawking is based on open-source software, it could potentially be adapted to suit many of them. Different functions can be enabled by touch, eye blinks, eyebrow movements or other user inputs for communication. Hawking and Intel hope that because the system is open and free it will be adopted by researchers who will want to use it to develop new solutions for those with disabilities.""

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+ - Wikipedia sits on $60 million while begging for money to keep the site ad-free 2

Submitted by Andreas Kolbe
Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "The latest financial statements for the Wikimedia Foundation, the charity behind Wikipedia, show it has assets of $60 million, including $27 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $23 million in investments. Yet its aggressive banner ads suggest disaster may be imminent if people don't donate and imply that Wikipedia may be forced to run commercial advertising to survive. Jimmy Wales counters complaints by saying the Foundation are merely prudent in ensuring they always have a reserve equal to one year's spending, but the fact is that Wikimedia spending has increased by 1,000 percent in the course of a few years. And by a process of circular logic, as spending increases, so the reserve has to increase, meaning that donors are asked to donate millions more each year. Unlike the suggestion made by the fundraising banners, most of these budget increases have nothing to do with keeping Wikipedia online and ad-free, and nothing to do with generating and curating Wikipedia content, a task that is handled entirely by the unpaid volunteer base. The skyrocketing budget increases are instead the result of a massive expansion of paid software engineering staff at the Foundation – whose work in recent years has been heavily criticised by the unpaid volunteer base. The aggressive fundraising banners too are controversial within the Wikimedia community itself."

Comment: Re:What system d really is (Score 1) 928

by ISayWeOnlyToBePolite (#48310803) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Yes, liking it, absolutely! Systemd-sysv (the package that installs systemd as init) installs are thru the roof, and so are votes for the package. Note the decline in sysvinit-core and its votes, it's an active choice. Voters agree with you that systemd-shim is not a good ide, it's dwarfed in the scale against systemd, so it's hard to estimate just how few they are. If anything, the discreapancy between systemd-shim installs and votes indicate that it's pulled in by dependencies without people noticing.

+ - Interviews: Ask Warren Ellis a Question

Submitted by samzenpus
samzenpus (5) writes "Warren Ellis is an acclaimed British author of comics, novels, and television who is well known for his sociocultural commentary. The movies Red, and Iron Man 3 are based on his graphic novels. In addition to numerous other comic titles he started a personal favorite, Transmetropolitan. Ellis has written for Vice, Wired UK and Reuters on technological and cultural matters, and is co-writing a video project called Wastelanders with Joss Whedon. Warren has agreed to give us some of his time to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post."

+ - Scotland Builds Wind Farms of the Future Under the Sea

Submitted by (3830033) writes "The Pentland Firth is a raw, stormy sound between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands, known for some of the world’s fastest flowing marine waters. Daily tides here reach 11 miles per hour, and can go as high as 18 – a breakneck current that’s the reason people are describing Scotland as the Saudi Arabia of tidal power. Now Megan Garber reports in The Atlantic that a new tidal power plant, to be installed off the Scottish coast aims to make the Scotland a world leader for turning sea flow into electricity. Underwater windmills, the BBC notes, have the benefit of invisibility—a common objection to wind turbines being how unsightly they are to human eyes. Undersea turbines also benefit from the fact that tides are predictable in ways that winds are not: You know how much power you're generating, basically, on any given day. The tidal currents are also completely carbon-free and since sea water is 832 times denser than air, a 5 knot ocean current has more kinetic energy than a 350 km/h wind.

MeyGen will face a challenge in that work: The turbines are incredibly difficult to install. The Pentland Firth is a harsh environment to begin with; complicating matters is the fact that the turbines can be installed only at the deepest of ocean depths so as not to disrupt the paths of ships on the surface. They also need to be installed in bays or headlands, where tidal flows are at their most intense. It is an unbelievably harsh environment in which to build anything, let alone manage a vast fleet of tidal machines beneath the waves. If each Hammerfest machine delivers its advertised 1MW of power, then you need 1,000 of them to hope to match the output of a typical gas or coal-fired power station. "The real aim," says Keith Anderson, "is to establish the predictability which you get with tidal power, and to feed that into the energy mix which includes the less predictable sources like wind or wave. The whole point of this device is to test that it can produce power, and we believe it can, and to show it's robust and can be maintained.""

+ - Soviet movies are available in HD quality for free->

Submitted by Prokur
Prokur (2445102) writes "Despite very agressive fight with copyright violators for the most-recent Russian movies and even threats to shutdown YouTube by Russian Government, the largest government-owned Russian film Studio Mosfilm is re-mastering all their movies produced during Soviet times in full HD quality and make them available online absolutely for free.
More than 500 movies, including all three Soviet winners of Academy Award, are available via youtube channel and similar services."

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+ - The 7th Underhanded C Contest is Online->

Submitted by Xcott Craver
Xcott Craver (615642) writes "The 7th Underhanded C Contest is now open. The goal of the contest is to write code that is as readable, clear, innocent and straightforward as possible, and yet somehow exhibits evil behavior that cannot be seen even when staring at the source code.

The winners from 2013 are also online, and their clever and insightful submissions make for fun reading."

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+ - Kubuntu 15.04 Will Be Based on KDE5->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Kubuntu Vivid is the development name for what will be released in April next year as Kubuntu 15.04. The exciting news is that following some discussion and some wavering the Kubuntu team will be switching to Plasma 5 by default. They claim that it has shown itself as a solid and reliable platform and it's time to show it off to the world. There are some bits which are missing from Plasma 5 which are planned to be filled in over the next six months. As another technical detail, Debian git is now used to store the packaging in a Kubuntu branch, so hopefully it will be easier to share updates."
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+ - Tao3D: a new open-source programming language for real-time 3D animations->

Submitted by descubes
descubes (35093) writes "Tao3D is a new open-source programming language designed for real-time 3D animations. With it, you can quickly create interactive, data-rich presentations, small applications, proofs of concept, user interface prototypes, and more. The interactivity of the language, combined with its simplicity and graphical aspects, make it ideal to teach programming.

Tao3D also demonstrates a lot of innovation in programming language design. It makes it very easy to create new control structures. Defining if-then-else is literally a couple of lines of code. The syntax to pass pass blocks of code to functions is completely transparent. And it is fully reactive, meaning that it automatically reacts as necessary to external events such as mouse movements or the passage of time.

The source code was just made available under the GNU General Public License v3 on SourceForge, GitHub and Gitorious."

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+ - Zombies Sighted in Bee Colonies-- and on Amazon ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes ""Biologists are reporting signs of a possible zombie apocalypse," jokes NPR, "at least for the honeybee population." They're reporting that a rare fly lays its eggs inside of a honeybee, causing it to fly in a shambling and disorderly fashion, with "zombie bees" now being sighted on both coasts of America. Meanwhile, on Halloween night one Kindle blogger noted that the number of ebooks about zombies has increased for the fourth straight year, to 11,430 — nearly 15 times as many as are in the entire Library of Congress!"
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Comment: Re:What system d really is (Score 1) 928

by ISayWeOnlyToBePolite (#48280641) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Users are going for systemd and liking it Notice how the rush starts after gnome (in debian) drops the hard dependency on systemd, that's when systemd-shim appears, and how systemd-shim users are declining and also not voting for the package.

+ - Torvalds: I Made A "Metric Sh--load" Of Mistakes With The Linux Community->

Submitted by electronic convict
electronic convict (3600551) writes "In a Q&A at LinuxCon Europe, Linux creator Linus Torvalds — no stranger to strong language and blunt opinions — acknowledged a "metric shitload" of interpersonal mistakes that unnecessarily antagonized others within the Linux community. In response to Intel's Dirk Hohndel, who asked him which decision he regretted most over the past 23 years, Torvalds replied:

From a technical standpoint, no single decision has ever been that important... The problems tend to be around alienating users or developers and I'm pretty good at that. I use strong language. But again there's not a single instance I'd like to fix. There's a metric shitload of those.

It's probably not a coincidence that Torvalds said this just a few weeks after critics like Lennart Poettering started drawing attention to the abusive nature of some commentary within the open-source community. Poettering explicitly called out Torvalds for some of his most intemperate remarks and described open source as "quite a sick place to be in." Still, Torvalds doesn't sound like he's about to start making an apology tour. "One of the reasons we have this culture of strong language, that admittedly many people find off-putting, is that when it comes to technical people with strong opinions and with a strong drive to do something technically superior, you end up having these opinions show up as sometimes pretty strong language," he said. "On the Internet, nobody can hear you being subtle.""
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+ - Anonabox Software Found Disturbingly Insecure by Security Researchers 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "While the Anonabox project was experiencing a surge of negative publicity this week as its Kickstarter campaign far exceeded its original funding goals, some security researchers scrutinized its open source software and found it disturbingly insecure for a device touted as a means to online anonymity. First, there's the Anonabox source code. The router itself is actually run on OpenWRT, and the only Anonabox source code available for download are Anonabox configuration files with one hardcoded root password that someone has already cracked. Second, researchers found that Anonabox by default does not password-protect its wireless network. Third, the Anonabox configuration files indicate that "every device would have the same SSHD host key, a kind of secure shell key used to remotely run commands on the router". So, anyone with an Anonabox can extract that key and use it to alter the settings of other Anonaboxes. Anonabox developer August Germar says that "he regrets not better explaining his intentions for the project" and asserts that he thought that the project would only be a starting point from which other developers would bring the final intended product to fruition."

Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.