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+ - After We're Gone: The Last Electrical Device Still Working 3

Submitted by Leomania
Leomania writes: After watching a post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi short on YouTube (there are quite a few) and then having our robot vacuum take off and start working the room, I just wondered what would be the last electric/electronic device still functioning if humans were suddenly gone. I don't mean sitting there with no power but would work if the power came back on; rather, something continuously powered, doing the task it was designed for. Are we talking a few years, decades, or far longer?

+ - Ask Slashdot - Private-cloud file hosting software for linux, like Google Drive?

Submitted by TarpaKungs
TarpaKungs writes: I'm Asking Slashdot because I *know* this is a growing problem, but I have failed to find a suitable soution. Here's hoping the collective intelligence of Slashdot will prevail :)

OK — you have lots of android devices and maybe a several Chromebooks: Google Drive is great — it works well, it has user selectable offline caching ("Keep on device") — and most importantly, it handles updates from multiple clients gracefully. The main problem with this is reliability (will the service stay there), security, privacy and cost.

"Cost" because I have several terabytes of data (mostly photos, but a lot of other important files and documents) on an existing linux infrastructure which is well maintained, raid-ed and backed up. A small fraction of this it would be nice to replicate to all my client devices. The rest would be nice just to have on demand, subject to a network connection.

"Privacy and security" because I have lots of data that I don't want to lose control of.

I have been searching for a long time and have yet to find any self hosted software that has the technical abilities of Google Drive or Dropbox. Adding to that, the ability to maintain a secondary sync'd full copy of specific shares on linux (eg on my laptop) would be cool — but not crucial. However a general access linux client is a must.

I'm not looking for the all singing all dancing features of Google Drive such as live spreadsheets in my browser or any of the ancillary features like email and calendars. Simply good honest robust file serving with client offline mode (aka local cached copy, user selectable file by file or folder by folder) and no issues with multiple clients updating files.

I've tried Tonido and Owncloud and neither play nice with POSIX user permissions — they seem to want to own the files and manage access at a server level. Owncloud free seems also to be limited to a single share and enterprise pricing on both products is very high (3 to 4 figures) with no hobbyist/home licensing tier.

Simpler scenarios like SFTP and SMB of course do play nice with the local user permissions, but are not so bright on the client side — ie no offline mode. I did look down the WebDAV route but again, I have failed to find any client apps that are smart about offline mode. I suspect Google and Dropbox add some additional stuff to their protocols to push notifications of changes to other connected clients and also to manage the concept of "who has the latest copy".

So I guess what I am looking for is either a whole server/client suite that works or at least an SFTP/SMB/WebDAV client that is a bit smarter. Here's hoping the collective intelligence of Slashdot will prevail :)

+ - Steam after death?

Submitted by kuzb
kuzb writes: I'm a gamer. I probably will be until the day it's not possible anymore. Like many others, I've got heavy investment in my steam library which now encompasses hundreds of titles and represents thousands of dollars. As a gamer, the games I've acquired are as important to me as any other item which might have sentimental value to someone else.

It got me thinking, what happens to all this media when I die? What happens with other services where I have media? Is it legal for me to will this content to someone else, or do all the rights to such content just vanish?

+ - What happens when Betelgeuse explodes? 1

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: One of the great, catastrophic truths of the Universe is that everything has an expiration date. And this includes every single point of light in the entire sky. The most massive stars will die in a spectacular supernova explosion when their final stage of core fuel runs out. At only an estimated 600 light years distant, Betelgeuse is one (along with Antares) of the closest red supergiants to us, and it’s estimated to have only perhaps 100,000 years until it reaches the end of its life. Here's the story on what we can expect to see (and feel) on Earth when Betelgeuse explodes!

+ - When Einstein met H.G. Wells

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: When we talk about dimensions, we’re used to thinking of three: something like length, width and depth, or x, y and z. But there’s a fourth dimension as well that’s of paramount importance for our Universe, otherwise everything would simply be static: time. H.G. Wells brought this idea to life in his story The Time Machine in 1895, and years later Einstein brought forth special and general relativity into the world, bringing scientific validity to this theoretical conception. Here's the fascinating background, story and aftermath of when they met in 1929.

+ - The first suspension bridge connecting mountain peaks

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Switzerland is about to open the first suspension bridge ever built between two mountain peaks.

The bridge, suspended 9,700ft in the air, will also have a partial glass floor to allow visitors a once in a lifetime view of the 6,500ft drop between the Glacier 3000 and Scex Rouge.

It is scheduled to open in November, and is being built in an effort to attract more tourists to the Swiss Alps.

+ - Samsung is working with Oculus on a media-focused VR headset->

Submitted by Kenseilon
Kenseilon writes: "Last week we told you about Samsung's unannounced virtual reality headset: a peripheral that enables VR interaction for flagship phones from the world's largest phone manufacturer. This week we've got far more details. First things first, Samsung's headset is the fruit of a collaboration with Oculus VR, the Facebook-owned virtual reality startup that both literally and figuratively kickstarted the current wave of VR products.

Oculus is handling the software side of the product, while Samsung handles the hardware. The deal is a swap: Oculus gives Samsung early access to its mobile software development kit and helps develop user interface software, while Samsung gives Oculus early access to its next-gen OLED screens. And yes, Oculus is still making its own, gaming-focused, PC-based virtual reality headset; that's why it needs next-gen, high-pixel-density OLED screens from Samsung"

Link to Original Source

+ - Porn shrinks your brain->

Submitted by Bodhammer
Bodhammer writes: "German researchers looked at the brains of 64 men between the ages of 21 and 45 and found that one brain region (the striatum, linked to reward processing), was smaller in the brains of porn watchers, and that a specific part of the same region is also less activated when exposed to more pornography."

Real Genius Quote
"[Mitch Taylor speaking through the microphone so that Kent hears voices in his head]
Mitch: And from now on, stop playing with yourself.
Kent: It *is* God."

Link to Original Source

+ - Bullied Student Records Bullies, Gets Hit With Felony Charges For Violation->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Here comes another story highlighting the danger of schools "outsourcing" their disciplinary problems to law enforcement. As we've stated before, this does nothing more than turn routine misconduct into criminal behavior, which is a great way to derail a student's future.

A Pennsylvania teen, who claimed to have been bullied constantly (and ignored by school administration), made an audio recording of his tormentors using a school-supplied iPad. He brought this to the school's attention, which duly responded by calling the cops to have him arrested for violating Pennsylvania's wiretapping law. (h/t to Techdirt reader btr1701)

Maybe the future holds better outcomes, but for right now, everyone involved had a chance to stop this from reaching this illogical conclusion, but no one — from the administrators to their legal team to local law enforcement to the presiding judge — was interested in reining this in. In the end, it looks as though an innate desire to punish someone was satisfied every step of the way.

Link to Original Source

+ - Your StarCraft II Potential Peaked at Age 24->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: StarCraft II is popular among competitive gamers for having the depth necessary to reward differences in skill. A new study has found that your ability keep up with the game's frantic pace starts to decline at age 24. This is relevant to more than just StarCraft II players: 'While many high-performance athletes start to show age-related declines at a young age, those are often attributed to physical as opposed to brain aging. ... While previous lab tests have shown faster reaction times for simple individual tasks, it was never clear how much relevance those had to complex, real-world tasks such as driving. Thompson noted that Starcraft is complex and quite similar to real-life tasks such as managing 911 calls at an emergency dispatch centre, so the findings may be directly relevant. However, game performance was much easier to analyze than many real-life situations because the game generates detailed logs of every move. In a way, Thompson said, the study is a good demonstration of what kinds of insights can be gleaned from the "cool data sets" generated by our digital lives.'
Link to Original Source
News

Judge (Tech) Advice By Results 162

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-up dept.
Bennett Haselton writes "What advice would you give someone who just bought a new laptop? What would you tell someone about how to secure their webserver against attacks? For that matter, how would you tell someone to prepare for their first year at Burning Man? I submit that the metric by which we usually judge tech advice, and advice in general, is fundamentally flawed, and has bred much of the unhelpful tech advice out there." Read below to see what Bennett has to say.
Microsoft

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office? 226

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Over at Microsoft on the Issues, Microsoft continues to lament the computer programming skills gap of American kids, while simultaneously lobbying for more H-1B visas to fill that gap. Saying that states must do more to 'help students gain critical 21st century skills,' Microsoft credits itself and partner Code.org for getting 30,606,732 students to experience coding through the Hour of Code, claiming that K-12 kids have 'written 1,332,784,839 lines of code' (i.e., dragged-and-dropped puzzle pieces), So, if it's concerned about helping students gain programming skills, shouldn't Microsoft be donating fully-functional desktop versions of MS-Office to schools, which would allow kids to use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)? While Microsoft's pledge to give 12 million copies of its Office software to schools was heralded by the White House and the press, a review of the 'fine print' at Microsoft suggests it's actually the online VBA-free version of Office 365 Education that the kids will be getting, unless their schools qualify for the Student Advantage program by purchasing Office for the faculty and staff. Since Microsoft supported President Obama's call for kids to 'Don't Just Play on Your Phone, Program It', shouldn't it give kids the chance to program MS-Office, too?"

+ - Linux Developers Look At Using QR Codes For Kernel Panics->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Linux kernel developers are currently evaluating the possibility of using QR codes to display kernel oops/panic messages. Right now a lot of text is dumped to the screen when a kernel oops occurs, most of which isn't easily archivable by normal Linux end-users. With QR codes as Linux oops messages, a smart-phone could capture the display and either report the error string or redirect them to an error page on Kernel.org. The idea of using QR codes within the Linux kernel is still being discussed by upstream developers.
Link to Original Source

+ - Kickstarted Veronica Mars promised digital download. Pirate bay delivers.->

Submitted by ConfusedVorlon
ConfusedVorlon writes: Backers were promised 'You will receive a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie’s theatrical debut'.

Warner Bros are providing a non-downloadable ultra-violet coupon (although Veronica Mars is available for download through other stores).

The download is already available on the Pirate Bay. The download is even available on commercial stores. The users have already passed over their $35+
But rather than meet the demand for a DRM-free download, Warner Bros would prefer to return the original pledge to backers who complain (no doubt pissing them off even more).

What does this tell us about how movie studios view the world? There can't be a better indication of willingness to pay than 'they have already paid' — are these the pirates WB fears?

Link to Original Source

+ - FiveThirtyEight Relaunches As Data Journalism Website

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: After a parting of ways with the New York Times after calling 50 out of 50 states right in the 2012 elections, Nate Silver has relaunched FiveThirtyEight as a website dedicated to data journalism under the auspices of ESPN. Silver has expanded his staff from two full-time journalists to 20 and instead of focusing on politics exclusively FiveThirtyEight's coverage will span five major subject areas — politics, economics, science, life and sports. According to Silver, his team has a broad set of skills and experience in methods that fall under the rubric of data journalism including statistical analysis, data visualization, computer programming and data-literate reporting. "One of our roles will be to critique incautious uses of statistics when they arise elsewhere in news coverage. At other times, we’ll explore ways that consumers can use data to their advantage and level the playing field against corporations and governments." The site has launched with a variety of stories including "Many Signs Pointed to Crimea Independence Vote — But Polls Didn’t," "Building a Bracket Is Hard This Year, But We’ll Help You Play the Odds," "Toilet Seat Covers: To Use or Not to Use," and "Three Rules to Make Sure Economic Data Aren’t Bunk".

The story that caught my eye was "This Winter Wasn’t the Coldest, But It Was One of the Most Miserable" with some good data visulatization that showed that although average temperature may not have set records in the Northeast Corridor this winter, the intensity of the cold when it did hit was impressive. According to Matt Lanza although most statistics cite the winter of 1978-79 as the coldest in U.S. history, the winter of 2013-14 brought a rare combination of miseries that many of us hadn’t seen in years, and some had never seen. It was colder than usual, it was extremely cold more often than usual, and it snowed more than usual in more places than usual. Traditionally, big snow winters occur in a couple regions. The East Coast might have great snows, while the Midwest is quiet. Snowfall this winter didn’t discriminate; it blanketed just about everybody (outside the dry West and icier Mid-South). Look how many cities had not just a little more, but way more, than their normal snowfall.

Kleeneness is next to Godelness.

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