EMB Numbers writes "Sony has revealed that the new SNAP development environment for 'consumer electronics' is based on Objective-C and the open source GNUstep implementation of Apple's Openstep spec. While Apple has continued to update their specification in the form of Cocoa and Mac OS X, GNUstep has preserved the original standard. Anyone familiar with Cocoa Touch and iOS will feel right at home developing for Sony. There may even be some source code compatibility between the platforms. The world continues to chase apple — probably for the better."
Lucas123 writes "With NAND flash fabricators ramping up production, per GB prices of solid state drives are expected to drop by more than half by this time next year to about 50 cents. Even so, consumers still look at three things when purchasing a computer: CPU power, memory size, and drive capacity, giving spinning disk the edge. SSD manufacturers like Samsung and SanDisk have tried but failed to change consumer attitudes toward choosing SSDs for their performance, durability and lower power use. But, with the release of the new MacBook Air (sans hard disk drive), Steve Jobs has joined the marketing push and may have the clout to shift the market away from hard drives, even if they're still an order of magnitude cheaper."
lightbox32 writes "According to the Wall Street Journal, several of the US's largest technology companies, which include Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Intuit and Pixar Animation, are in the final stages of negotiations with the Justice Department to avoid a court battle over whether they colluded to hold down wages by agreeing not to poach each other's employees. 'The Justice Department would have to convince a court not just that such accords existed, but that workers had suffered significant harm as a result. The companies may not want to take a chance in court. If the government wins, it could open the floodgates for private claimants, even a class action by employees. A settlement would allow the Justice Department to halt the practice, without the companies having to admit to any legal violations.'"
eldavojohn writes "According to AfterDawn, Google has given app makers the option to use a license server as DRM to ensure the user has paid for an app before they can download it. Reportedly, the Market app will communicate with a Google license server using RSA encryption. It is important to note this is only available for non-free apps (built with SDK 1.5 and later), and it was instituted to provide a better solution to the old and widely criticized copy protection scheme that was susceptible to Android app piracy (like sideloading). For better or for worse, Android's Marketplace appears to now have an optional, phone-home form of DRM." Following news of the new licensing service, Hexage Ltd, makers of a popular Android game called Radiant, released the data they had collected on piracy of Radiant over a 10-month period beginning last October. A series of charts shows total users, paid users and the piracy rate, by region.
The Plastiki, a catamaran made with plastic bottles, has completed a 8,000 mile trip between San Francisco and Sydney. Captain David de Rothschild said, "The Plastiki is literally a metaphorical message in a bottle about beating waste and reducing our human fingerprints on our natural environment." The boat will go on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum for the next month.
Captain Eloquence writes "The next major version of Adobe's PDF Reader will feature new sandboxing technology aimed at curbing a surge in malicious hacker attacks. The initial sandbox implementation will isolate all 'write' calls on Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2003. Adobe security chief Brad Arkin believes this will mitigate the risk of exploits seeking to install malware on the user's computer or otherwise change the computer's file system or registry. In a future dot-release, the company plans to extend the sandbox to include read-only activities to protect against attackers seeking to read sensitive information from the user's computer."
SharpFang writes "In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that misinformed people, particularly political partisans, rarely changed their minds when exposed to corrected facts in news stories. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger."
What the hell did you learn from this? This is the most retarded technical exam I've ever heard of.
Are any of these skills useful? How about in ten years?
An anonymous reader points out a recent story at NPR describing one of the greatest lightshows in history — a US hydrogen bomb test 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean in 1962. The mission came about after James Van Allen confirmed the existence of radiation belts around the earth that now bear his name. As it turns out, the same day Van Allen announced his findings at a press conference, he "agreed with the military to get involved with a project to set off atomic bombs in the magnetosphere to see if they could disrupt it." According to NPR, "The plan was to send rockets hundreds of miles up, higher than the Earth's atmosphere, and then detonate nuclear weapons to see: a) If a bomb's radiation would make it harder to see what was up there (like incoming Russian missiles!); b) If an explosion would do any damage to objects nearby; c) If the Van Allen belts would move a blast down the bands to an earthly target (Moscow! for example); and — most peculiar — d) if a man-made explosion might 'alter' the natural shape of the belts." The article is accompanied by a podcast and a video with recently declassified views of the test. They also explain how the different colors of light in the sky were produced.
Robadob sends word that the BBC has been granted approval for Project Canvas, "a partnership between the BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4, and TalkTalk to develop a so-called Internet Protocol Television standard." The approval came with several interesting requirements: "Project Canvas must always remain free-to-air but users 'may be charged for additional pay services that third parties might choose to provide via the Canvas platform, for example video on demand services, as well as the broadband subscription fees.' Access to Project Canvas must not be 'bundled with other products or services' and 'listing on the electronic program guide will be awarded in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner." In addition, a preliminary draft of the tech specs for the project must be published within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers of set-top boxes to adopt the new standards. Significantly, "Other broadcasters and content providers must have access to the platform."
Several readers send in the news of Oscar, the first bionic cat, whose hind paws got cut off in a harvester accident. In a world's-first operation, a neurosurgeon has now given him exoprosthetic paws that are implanted directly into his leg bones. The BBC artlcle has a video captured just after the operation, and PopSci has an apparently later one in which Oscar is walking and running almost completely normally.
eldavojohn writes "Want to make a great concave mirror for your telescope? Put a drop of mercury in a bowl and spin the bowl. The mercury will spread out to a concave reflective surface smoother than anything we can make with plain old glass right now. The key problem in this situation is that the bowl will always have to point straight up. MIT's Technology Review is analyzing a team's success in combating problems with bringing liquid mirrors into the practical applications of astronomy. To fight the gravity requirement, the team used a ferromagnetic liquid coated with a metal-like film and very strong magnetic fields to distort the surface of that liquid as they needed. But this introduces new non-linear problems of control when trying to sync up several of these mirrors similar to how traditional glass telescopes use multiple hexagonal mirrors mounted on actuators. The team has fought past so many of these problems plaguing liquid mirrors that they produced a proof of concept liquid mirror just five centimeters across with 91 actuators cycling at one kilohertz and the ability to linearize the response of the liquid. And with that, liquid mirrors take a giant leap closer to practicality."
The Bad Astronomer writes "A rumor is spreading on the Net like wildfire that the red supergiant star Betelgeuse is about to explode in a supernova. This rumor is almost certainly not true. First, it's posted on a doomsday forum. Second, it's three times removed from the source, and is anonymous at each step. Third, the evidence is shaky at best. Plus, even if true, the supernova is too far away to hurt us. But other than that ..."
For a while now Apple has said it doesn't want "widget-like" apps in the store; but where is the boundary of that fuzzy statement? The developers of My Frame, of which three versions had already been approved for the iPhone/iPad, found out that they had already crossed it when Apple informed them their app would be pulled. My Frame had options to overlay data on whatever photo was displaying: a Twitter stream, weather, etc. When one of the developers wrote to Steve Jobs on a whim to ask what unwritten rule their app had violated, Jobs wrote back: "We are not allowing apps that create their own desktops. Sorry." "I see now why people are so angry at the 'murky' nature of the App Store, and I'm starting to agree with them. My Frame was approved by Apple 3 times (once for each version we released), and ... now, at version 1.2 they decide it's to be removed? How can a company be prepared to invest into a platform that can change at any time, cutting you off and kicking you out, with no course of action but to whine on some no-name blog[?] There is no alternative platform, despite what others may say about Android, it's immature and their app store(s) are a wild west nightmare. It really is Apple's way or the highway...." A few blogs have picked up the story.