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+ - Microsoft demos real-time translation over Skype->

Submitted by Z80xxc!
Z80xxc! (1111479) writes "Today at the first annual Code Conference, Microsoft demonstrated its new real-time translation in Skype publicly for the first time. Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft's VP of Skype and Lync, compares the technology to Star Trek's Universal Translator. During the demonstration, Pall converses in English with a coworker in Germany who is speaking German.

Skype Translator results from decades of work by the industry, years of work by our researchers, and now is being developed jointly by the Skype and Microsoft Translator teams. The demo showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, combining Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, and neural network-based speech recognition.


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+ - Amazon reveals "Prime Air", their plans for 30-minute deliveries by drone->

Submitted by Z80xxc!
Z80xxc! (1111479) writes "Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed during a CBS 60 Minutes interview that the company is working on a service called "Prime Air" to deliver packages by autonomous octocopter drones within 30 minutes of hitting the "buy" button. The plan still requires more testing and FAA approval, but Bezos predicts it'll be available to the public in the next 4-5 years. With a lot of backlash against drones, and some towns even offering bounties to shoot them down, will this technology ever take off, or is this just another one of Amazon's eccentric CEO's fantastical flight ideas ?"
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+ - Federally funded research to be publicly available within 1 year of publication->

Submitted by Z80xxc!
Z80xxc! (1111479) writes "The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced a "policy memorandum" today requiring any federal agency with over $100 million in R&D expenditures each year to develop plans for making all research funded by that agency freely available to the public within one year of publication in any peer-reviewed scholarly journal. The full memorandum is available on the White House website. It appears that this policy would not only apply to federal agencies conducting research, but also to any university, private corporation, or other entity conducting research that arises from federal funding. For those in academia and the public at large, this is a huge step towards free open access to publicly funded research."
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+ - Opera switching to WebKit rendering engine->

Submitted by Z80xxc!
Z80xxc! (1111479) writes "The creators of Opera announced today that the browser now has over 300 million users — and will therefore be switching to webkit.

To provide a leading browser on Android and iOS, this year Opera will make a gradual transition to the WebKit engine, as well as Chromium, for most of its upcoming versions of browsers for smartphones and computers.

With Opera moving to webkit, there will now be only three major web rendering engines: IE's Trident, Mozilla's Gecko, and WebKit — used by Google Chrome and Apple Safari already. What will this mean for the future of compatibility and web standards?"
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Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 526

by Z80xxc! (#42159265) Attached to: Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops

The touch screen is a compromise that doesn't work as well as a keyboard, or a mouse, but is a passable replacement for either or both in those times you don't have them. It is sure as hell not a compliment to them, because if you have a keyboard and mouse, you never use the touch screen.

A statement that is directly refuted by the experience of the author and others who've actually used modern touch devices. Also, isn't half the point of having a touch/type/mouse device that you can also use the touchscreen in those situations where using a keyboard or mouse is impractical, but have them available for when they are convenient?

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 526

by Z80xxc! (#42159239) Attached to: Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops

As the guy below me says: you're still not getting it. The article isn't saying that people poke at a vertical surface all stupid day. It's saying that people type on a keyboard all day, and occasionally reach up to poke at something when it's convenient. (And, when it's not convenient to type, they can poke some more. And then go right back to typing when it's more convenient to do so again.)

You can hate on it all you want, and say that the base technology has been around a long time, but until you actually use the new technology for more than a few hours, it would seem that your opinion is based entirely on speculation and outdated experience. A 1980's touch screen is not the same as a 2012 touch screen.

Comment: Re:Before the eight-hate arrives, I just want to s (Score 2, Insightful) 526

by Z80xxc! (#42158843) Attached to: Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops
So you're suggesting that we should never have transitioned from horses and buggies to motor cars, because driving a car takes some getting used to? The fact of the matter is that if you haven't used something, you can't make an informed opinion of it. You can have an opinion, and you're welcome to have that opinion, but it won't be an informed opinion.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 5, Insightful) 526

by Z80xxc! (#42158815) Attached to: Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops
This is slashdot, so I can forgive you for not reading the article, but for your convenience I'll provide the relevant excerpt here:

When Steve Jobs decried touchscreen laptops in 2010, he was merely relaying the common wisdom of decades of user experience research into "gorilla arm syndrome." Simply put, it's the idea that if you hold out your arm in front of a touchscreen for an extended period of time, it's not going to be particularly comfortable. However, that assumes an awful lot — what if you're not holding your arms out in space waiting to touch things, but resting them comfortably on a keyboard?

We've been looking at this all wrong. A touchscreen isn't a replacement for a keyboard or mouse, it's a complement. If I want to type things on my laptop and have enough room to comfortably open that clamshell and stretch out my arms, the keyboard's still my best bet. I'm not going to touch-type 70 words per minute on a touchscreen keyboard. But when I'm in the cramped quarters of a train, plane, or standing in a line — say, when the only thing standing between a critical email and its recipient is a few dozen words and a tap of the button marked "Send" — I can grab that Windows 8 laptop by its hinged section, one hand on either side of the screen, and tap out that message with my thumbs.

You're issuing a false dilemma by saying that it's all touch or all keyboard/mouse. It can be both, and that's the point of the article. Keyboards are usually better for typing, but using a mouse isn't always easier for pointing, and sometimes using a keyboard isn't convenient. Having touch, mouse, and keyboard all available makes sense, because you can use whichever is best for the situation you're in.

Comment: Re:Its stupid on a laptop or desktop (Score 5, Informative) 526

by Z80xxc! (#42158797) Attached to: Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops

The Surface Pro does include touch support - 10 point multitouch, in fact. It happens to also have an active digitizer to support pen input. It can do both.

The fact that you didn't know that implies that you really have no idea what you're talking about.

Comment: Before the eight-hate arrives, I just want to say: (Score 2) 526

by Z80xxc! (#42158781) Attached to: Steve Jobs Was Wrong About Touchscreen Laptops

Do or do not. There is no try.

Until you've actually used a touch/laptop hybrid device, don't go knocking it. When I say "use", I don't mean "try", I mean actually used it for day-to-day tasks for a couple weeks. Not "poked one in the mall and didn't know how to do everything right away, so I gave up," or worse yet, "saw a picture or video online and haven't even tried one in person." Spare me the "but I know I won't like it," because until you've actually used the device, you don't know.

The overwhelming opinion of people I know who have actually used these devices that are neither a tablet nor a laptop, but really a bit of both, is that they work well and are not just a gimmick. New things can take some getting used to. That doesn't mean they're bad.

Comment: YouTube series: Crashcourse (Score 4, Informative) 166

by Z80xxc! (#40210089) Attached to: Ask Slashdot. Best Online Science Course?

It's a work in progress, but there's a new YouTube series called Crash Course which presently covers biology and world history. They're planning to encompass other subjects in the future as well, but it just recently started. The history lessons are taught by author/nerd John Green and the biology is taught by his brother Hank Green. I suggest you check it out; it's got lots of neat graphics, simple explanations, and is easy to follow.

As mentioned in other posts, Khan Academy is also a fantastic online resource. It's not quite as spiffy as Crash Course, but covers far more subjects, and is easy to follow.


+ - Microsoft explains Secure Boot, Linux still works->

Submitted by Z80xxc!
Z80xxc! (1111479) writes "A few days ago, Slashdot reported that Microsoft will lock Linux out of Windows 8 PCs. The next day, the official Building Windows 8 blog posted an in-depth technical explanation of how UEFI Secure Boot works, and dispelled some of the rumors that "alternative bootloaders" won't work.

There have been some comments about how Microsoft implemented secure boot and unfortunately these seemed to synthesize scenarios that are not the case so we are going to use this post as a chance to further describe how UEFI enables secure boot and the options available to PC manufacturers.

As the blog post explains, manufacturers will be expected to offer an option to disable Secure Boot, and power users will have the choice to use different operating systems if they do not want to use Secure Boot."
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Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?