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Microsoft

Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the by-your-powers-combined dept.
Deathspawner writes A lot of people have never been able to understand the logic behind Microsoft's Windows RT, with many urging the company to kill it off so that it can focus on more important products, like the mainline Windows. Well, this is probably not going to come as a huge surprise, especially in light of mass layoffs announced last week, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that his company will be working to combine all Windows versions into a unified release by next year.
Government

VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-he-was-wearing-pants dept.
theodp writes: Back in 2012, Computerworld blasted Vice President Joe Biden for his ignorance of the H-1B temporary work visa program. But Joe's got his H-1B story and he's sticking to it, characterizing the visa program earlier this month in a speech to the National Governors Association as "apprenticeships" of sorts that companies provide to foreign workers to expand the Information Technology industry only after proving there are no qualified Americans to fill the jobs. Biden said he also learned from his talks with tech's top CEOs that 200,000 of the jobs that companies provide each year to highly-skilled H-1B visa holders could in fact be done by Americans with no more than a two-year community college degree.
Space

Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution 49

Posted by Soulskill
from the assuming-the-little-green-men-are-not-too-green dept.
coondoggie writes: If what we know as advanced life exists anywhere other than Earth, then perhaps they are dirtying their atmosphere as much as we are. We could use such pollution components to perhaps more easily spot such planets. That's the basis of new research published this week by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They say that if we could spot the fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions (PDF), it would offer a new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence."
United States

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the suspect-wears-a-funny-hat dept.
Advocatus Diaboli sends this report: The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither "concrete facts" nor "irrefutable evidence" to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept. ...The heart of the document revolves around the rules for placing individuals on a watchlist. "All executive departments and agencies," the document says, are responsible for collecting and sharing information on terrorist suspects with the National Counterterrorism Center. It sets a low standard—"reasonable suspicion"—for placing names on the watchlists, and offers a multitude of vague, confusing, or contradictory instructions for gauging it. In the chapter on "Minimum Substantive Derogatory Criteria"—even the title is hard to digest—the key sentence on reasonable suspicion offers little clarity.
Programming

'Just Let Me Code!' 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-until-you-finish-your-vegetables dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Andrew Binstock has an article about the ever-increasing complexity required to write code. He says, "I got into programming because I like creating stuff. Not just any stuff, but stuff other people find useful. I like the constant problem solving, the use of abstractions that exist for long periods nowhere but in my imagination, and I like seeing the transformation into a living presence. ... The simple programs of a few hundred lines of C++ long ago disappeared from my experience. What was the experience of riding a bicycle has become the equivalent of traveling by jumbo jet; replete with the delays, inspections, limitations on personal choices, and sudden, unexplained cancellations — all at a significantly higher cost. ... Project overhead, even for simple projects, is so heavy that it's a wonder anyone can find the time to code, much less derive joy from it. Software development has become a mostly operational activity, rather than a creative one. The fundamental problem here is not the complexity of apps, but the complexity of tools. Tools have gone rather haywire during the last decade chasing shibboleths of scalability, comprehensiveness, performance. Everything except simplicity."
Robotics

Autonomous Sea-Robot Survives Massive Typhoon 42

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ride-the-wave dept.
jfruh (300774) writes Liquid Robotics and its Wave Glider line of autonomous seafaring robots became famous when Java inventor James Gosling left Google to join the company. Now one of its robots has passed an impressive real-world test, shrugging off a monster typhoon in the South China Sea that inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars of damage on the region.
Microsoft

Microsoft FY2014 Q4 Earnings: Revenues Up, Profits Down Slightly 56

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the still-enough-to-fill-money-pool dept.
Microsoft has released their latest earnings report, and it's not as bleak as last week's news might have you suspect. Quoting Forbes: Microsoft reported $23.38 billion of revenue for the fourth quarter, up 17.5% from the same period last year. Net income, however, came in at $4.6 billion, down from last year and behind Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate, both about $5 billion. At 55 cents earnings per share were down 4 cents and a nickel short of the Street’s call. For the full year, revenue clocked in at $86.8 billion an 11.5% increase from a year earlier. Net income was $22.1 billion and earnings per share were $2.63. They took a hit from finalizing the acquisition of Nokia's handset division (not unexpected). The cloud services side of the business appears to be growing, while traditional software sales have stagnated. The layoffs will cost Microsoft between $1.1 and $1.6 billion over the first half of next year.

+ - MagicJack Inventor Dan Borislow Dead at Age 52->

Submitted by Nightwraith
Nightwraith (180411) writes "Dan Borislow, whose “MagicJack,” peddled in television infomercials, helped pioneer free phone calls through the Internet, has died. He was 52.

His death was confirmed by Brad Shewmake, a spokesman for MagicJack Vocaltec Ltd., the maker of the device. Borislow was the founder and former chief executive officer of the company, based in Netanya, Israel, and West Palm Beach, Florida.

He died yesterday of a heart attack after playing in a soccer game in West Palm Beach, according to an e-mail today from his friend, Douglas Kass, founder of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc. in Palm Beach, Florida.

“Dan was a true telecom pioneer whose vision, creativity, energy, passion and single-minded focus was the driving force behind the success of MagicJack,” the company’s CEO, Gerald Vento, said today in a statement. Vento replaced Borislow as the company’s chief executive on Jan. 1, 2013."

Link to Original Source
AI

Researchers Design Bot To Conduct National Security Clearance Interviews 95

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the why-do-you-say-you-are-not-a-threat-to-national-security? dept.
meghan elizabeth (3689911) writes Advancing a career in the U.S. government might soon require an interview with a computer-generated head who wants to know about that time you took ketamine. A recent study by psychologists at the National Center for Credibility Assessment, published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior, asserts that not only would a computer-generated interviewer be less "time consuming, labor intensive, and costly to the Federal Government," people are actually more likely to admit things to the bot. Eliza finds a new job.

+ - A Drone Saved an Elderly Man Who Had Been Missing for Three Days

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "A drone was just used to save a life: Earlier this week, an elderly man who was missing for three days was found with the help of a drone in Wisconsin.
82-year-old Guillermo DeVenecia had been missing for three days. Search dogs, a helicopter, and hundreds of volunteers had spent days looking for him. David Lesh, a Colorado-based skier and drone pilot decided to look for him using his drone—and found him within 20 minutes."

+ - Dropbox Says Privacy-Savvy Users Should Add Their Own Encryption->

Submitted by Carly Page
Carly Page (3529197) writes "When asked for its response to Edward Snowden's claims that "Dropbox is hostile to privacy", Dropbox told The INQUIRER that users concerned about privacy should add their own encryption. The firm warned however that if users do, not all of the service's features will work."
Link to Original Source

+ - China Censors Inflatable Toad After Internet Users Compare it to President->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "China is blocking all reports of a huge inflatable toad seen in a park in Beijing after social media users started comparing it to one if its former Communist Party leaders.

The 22-metre (72ft) yellow toad was unveiled at Beijing's Yuyuantan Park, but its appearance was quickly compared to that of the country's former president Jiang Zemin.

All reports on Chinese web portal Sina – which operates Sina Weibo – removed all mentions of the toad and a story on Chinese news agency Xinhua also deleted its report on the inflatable animal."

Link to Original Source
China

China Plans Particle Colliders That Would Dwarf CERN's LHC 177

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the embracing-destiny-as-a-type-13-planet dept.
ananyo (2519492) writes Scientists at the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) in Beijing, working with international collaborators, are planning to build a "Higgs factory" by 2028 — a 52-kilometer underground ring that would smash together electrons and positrons. Collisions of these fundamental particles would allow the Higgs boson to be studied with greater precision than at the much smaller (27 km) Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Europe's particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. Physicists say that the proposed US$3-billion machine is within technological grasp and is considered conservative in scope and cost. But China hopes that it would also be a stepping stone to a next-generation collider — a super proton-proton collider — in the same tunnel. The machine would be a big leap for China. The country's biggest current collider is just 240 meters in circumference.

+ - Autonomous Sea-Robot Survives Massive Typhoon->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Liquid Robotics and its Wave Glider line of autonomous seafaring robots became famous when Java inventor James Gosling left Google to join the company. Now one of its robots has passed an impressive real-world test, shrugging off a monster typhoon in the South China Sea that inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars of damage on the region."
Link to Original Source

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