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Operating Systems

The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone 335

Posted by timothy
from the good-riddance-or-sorely-missed dept.
jones_supa writes In Windows 8, there was an arrangement of two settings applications: the Control Panel for the desktop and the PC Settings app in the Modern UI side. With Windows 10, having the two different applications has started to look even more awkward, which has been voiced loud and clear in the feedback too. Thus, the work at Microsoft to unify the settings programs has begun. The traditional Control Panel is being transformed to something temporarily called "zPC Settings" (sic), which is a Modern UI app that melts together the current two settings applications.

Comment: Oh come on... (Score 2, Informative) 380

The Obama Administration (and Bush / McCain / Romney would have been no better) looked around and were thinking ... hmmm... who could we appoint for this? An expert in epidemiology? Somebody with experience in coordinating the logistics of an emergency response? A useless public relations shill? Or an even more useless lawyer crony with connections to that epic success Solyndra?

Yeah, that last one sounds about right. We'll go with that.

Comment: Re:Hoax (Score 5, Informative) 984

You should have professional magicians look at it. These are people who know how to find the "trick".

You nailed it. I was just reading about James Randi's debunking of the alleged psychic Uri Gellar, who had managed to fool a bunch of scientists back in the 1970s. Randi claimed that scientists are some of the easiest people to fool because, as you said, they operate under a lot of preconceived notions and once you figure out how to work around those it's a piece of cake. As Randi put it, to catch a magician (who are essentially people who fool people for a living) you send a magician.

Space

The Cult of Elon Musk Shines With Steve Jobs' Aura 181

Posted by timothy
from the what-is-this-cologne-you're-wearing? dept.
HughPickens.com writes Alan Boyle writes that over the years, Elon Musk's showmanship, straight-ahead smarts and far-out ideas have earned him a following that spans the geek spectrum — to the point that some observers see glimmers of the aura that once surrounded Apple's Steve Jobs. "To me, it feels like he's the most obvious inheritor of Steve Jobs' mantle," says Ashlee Vance, who's writing a biography of Musk that at one time had the working title The Iron Man. "Obviously, Steve Jobs' products changed the world ... [But] if Elon's right about all these things that he's after, his products should ultimately be more meaningful than what Jobs came up with. He's the guy doing the most concrete stuff about global warming." So what is Musk's vision? What motivates Musk at the deepest level? "It's his Mars thing," says Vance. Inspired in part by the novels of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, Musk has come around to the view that humanity's long-term future depends on extending its reach beyond Earth, starting with colonies on Mars. Other notables like physicist Stephen Hawking have laid out similar scenarios — but Musk is actually doing something to turn those interplanetary dreams into a reality. Vance thinks that Musk is on the verge of breaking out from geek guru status to a level of mass-market recognition that's truly on a par with the late Steve Jobs. Additions to the Tesla automotive line, plus the multibillion-dollar promise of Tesla's battery-producing "gigafactory" in Nevada, could push Musk over the edge. "Tesla, as a brand, really does seem to have captured the public's imagination. ... All of a sudden he's got a hip product that looks great, and it's creating jobs. The next level feels like it's got to be that third-generation, blockbuster mainstream product. The story is not done."

Comment: Are all costs accounted for? (Score 1) 346

To start with, I have no idea what the answer to this question is with regards to the Swedish system, but I've found that in many cases of solutions like this the "cost" paid by end users is heavily subsidized in other areas (in the US it's so common it can almost be assumed). So if the $40 / month pays for all of the capital costs, maintenance, depreciation, etc. then wonderful. Otherwise it's just accounting slight-of-hand - put a happy number out for the public, and if somebody digs and puts together real costs then they find that the real number is horrific.

On the other hand, in the US most major metropolitan areas (there are exceptions) have sold monopoly or duopoly franchises on internet service, which also distorts prices horribly and in other directions. I live in one of these areas, as do most of the people I know (I get to chose between mostly tolerable but pricey Cox, and utterly abhorrent AT&T - for practical purposes just one choice). In many cases these "utilities" are limited to certain profit levels, so they just adjust their costs up. Competition isn't magic; it just incentivizes aggressive pursuit of the best cost / quality tradeoffs (which are usually subjective and may vary significantly between individuals, eliminating the possibility of a good "one-size-fits-all" solution).

Businesses

Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job 742

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-some-customer-feedback dept.
ub3r n3u7r4l1st writes When you complain to your cable company, you certainly don't expect that the cable company will then contact your employer and discuss your complaint. But that's exactly what happened to one former Comcast customer who says he was fired after the cable company called a partner at his accounting firm. Be careful next time when you exercise your first amendment rights. From the article: At some point shortly after that call, someone from Comcast contacted a partner at the firm to discuss Conal. This led to an ethics investigation and Conal’s subsequent dismissal from his job; a job where he says he’d only received positive feedback and reviews for his work. Comcast maintained that Conal used the name of his employer in an attempt to get leverage. Conal insists that he never mentioned his employer by name, but believes that someone in the Comcast Controller’s office looked him up online and figured out where he worked. When he was fired, Conal’s employer explained that the reason for the dismissal was an e-mail from Comcast that summarized conversations between Conal and Comcast employees. But Conal has never seen this e-mail in order to say whether it’s accurate and Comcast has thus far refused to release any tapes of the phone calls related to this matter.
Security

JP Morgan Chase Breach: Shades of a Cyber Cold War? 96

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-get-cyberalong? dept.
TheRealHocusLocus writes: The New York Times is quoting "people briefed on the matter" who allege that the JP Morgan data thieves "are thought to be operating from Russia and appear to have at least loose connections with officials of the Russian government." The article suggests it could be retaliation for sanctions. Personally, I'm skeptical — I've seen the former Soviet Union evolve into an amazingly diverse culture that is well represented on the Internet. This culture has grown alongside our own and runs the gamut of characters: tirelessly brilliant open source software developers, lots of regular folk, and yes — even groups affiliated with organized crime syndicates. This is no surprise, and these exist in the U.S. too. Are we ready to go full-political on this computer security issue, worrying more about who did it than how to protect against it in the future? How do you Slashdotters feel about these growing "tensions," and what can we do to help bring some reason to the table? The article also notes that the same group responsible for the breach at JP Morgan Chase was responsible for attacks on 9 other financial institutions.
Businesses

Will Apple Lose Siri's Core Tech To Samsung? 161

Posted by samzenpus
from the mine-now-I-take-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes Apple bought Siri in 2010, but its core technology is owned by Nuance, maker of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Now Samsung is looking to buy Nuance. From the article: "This past June, Nuance and Samsung began merger talks, but nothing came of it. At the time, the two companies said talks had 'slowed' due to 'complexities.' But they didn't say it was dead. Guess what? The talks are back on. The first hint came in June, after the company missed the quarterly projections. The Wall Street Journal then brought up the talks with Samsung and also noted the company had taken financial steps that could indicate a buyout was imminent. The company’s earnings report for June stated that Nuance was redeeming $250 million in 2027 convertible notes. By calling back the debt, that would save the future acquirer around $50 million from a debt-to-share conversion."
Windows

Lost Opportunity? Windows 10 Has the Same Minimum PC Requirements As Vista 554

Posted by timothy
from the such-small-portions dept.
MojoKid writes Buried in the details of Microsoft's technical preview for Windows 10 is a bit of a footnote concerning the operating system's requirements. Windows 10 will have exactly the same requirements as Windows 8.1, which had the same requirements as Windows 8, which stuck to Windows 7 specs, which was the same as Windows Vista. At this point, it's something we take for granted with future Windows release. As the years roll by, you can't help wondering what we're actually giving up in exchange for holding the minimum system spec at a single-core 1GHz, 32-bit chip with just 1GB of RAM. The average smartphone is more powerful than this these days. For decades, the standard argument has been that Microsoft had to continue supporting ancient operating systems and old configurations, ignoring the fact that the company did its most cutting-edge work when it was willing to kill off its previous products in fairly short order. what would Windows look like if Microsoft at least mandated a dual-core product? What if DX10 — a feature set that virtually every video card today supports, according to Valve's Steam Hardware Survey, became the minimum standard, at least on the x86 side of the equation? How much better might the final product be if Microsoft put less effort into validating ancient hardware and kicked those specs upwards, just a notch or two? If Microsoft did raise the specs a notch or two with each release, I think there'd be some justified complaints about failing to leave well enough alone, at least on the low end.
Mars

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity 549

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-send-them-to-saturn-instead dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."
Iphone

Friendly Reminder: Do Not Place Your iPhone In a Microwave 240

Posted by samzenpus
from the bad-ideas dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes Placing your iPhone in the microwave will destroy the phone, and possibly the microwave. While that might seem obvious to some people, others have fallen for the "Wave" hoax making its way around online. The fake advertisement insists that the new iOS 8 allows users to charge their iPhones by placing them in a "household microwave for a minute and a half." Microwave energy will not charge your smartphone. To the contrary, it will scorch the device and render it inoperable. If you nuke your smartphone and subsequently complain about it online, people will probably make fun of you. (If you want a full list of things not to place in a microwave, no matter how pretty the flames, check this out.)
Earth

Hundreds of Thousands Turn Out For People's Climate March In New York City 200

Posted by samzenpus
from the cooling-things-off dept.
mdsolar writes with an update on the People's Climate March. More than 400,000 people turned out for the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday, just days before many of the world's leaders are expected to debate environmental action at the United Nations climate summit. Early reports from event organizers are hailing the turnout as the largest climate march in history, far bigger than the Forward on Climate rally held in Washington, D.C., last year. High-profile environmentalists including Bill McKibben, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva marched alongside policymakers such as Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Vice President Al Gore were also there, and more than 550 buses carried in people from around the country.
Microsoft

Microsoft Takes Down Slideshow-Building Tool After Getty Images Lawsuit 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-and-small-pictures dept.
jfruh writes Slideshows are an increasingly popular (and, for publishers, lucrative) web content genre. So why not automate their production? Microsoft had a beta tool that was part of Bing Image Search that did just that, but took it down in the face of a lawsuit from Getty Images. It turns out that, unlike a human web content producer, Bing couldn't distinguish between images publishers have the rights to use and images they didn't.
Earth

Numerous Methane Leaks Found On Atlantic Sea Floor 273

Posted by samzenpus
from the bubbling-up dept.
sciencehabit writes Researchers have discovered 570 plumes of methane percolating up from the sea floor off the eastern coast of the United States, a surprisingly high number of seeps in a relatively quiescent part of the ocean. The seeps suggest that methane's contribution to climate change has been underestimated in some models. And because most of the seeps lie at depths where small changes in temperature could be releasing the methane, it is possible that climate change itself could be playing a role in turning some of them on.

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