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Education

Led By Zuckerberg, Billionaires Give $100M To Fund Private Elementary Schools 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the price-of-an-education dept.
theodp writes: AltSchool, a 2-year-old software-fueled private elementary school initiative started by an ex-Googler, announced Monday a $100 million Series B round led by established VC firms and high-profile tech investors including Mark Zuckerberg, Laurene Powell Jobs, John Doerr, and Pierre Omidyar. AltSchool uses proprietary software that provides students with a personalized playlist lesson that teachers can keep close tabs on. Currently, a few hundred students in four Bay Area classrooms use AltSchool tech. Three more California classrooms, plus one in Brooklyn, are expected to come online this fall, plus one in Brooklyn. "We believe that every child should have access to an exceptional, personalized education that enables them to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world," reads AltSchool's mission statement. For $28,750-a-year, your kid can be one of them right now. Eventually, the plan is for the billionaire-bankrolled education magic to trickle down. AltSchool's pitch to investors, according to NPR, is that one day, charter schools or even regular public schools could outsource many basic functions to its software platform.

+ - Researchers Detect Android Apps That Compromise Your Privacy-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: A group of European researchers has developed software that tracks the URLs to which cellphone apps connect.After downloading 2,000+ fee apps from Google Play, they indexed all the sites those apps connected to, and compared them to a list of known advertising and user tracking sites. "In total, the apps connect to a mind-boggling 250,000 different URLs across almost 2,000 top level domains. And while most attempt to connect to just a handful of ad and tracking sites, some are much more prolific. Vigneri and co give as an example “Music Volume Eq,” an app designed to control volume, a task that does not require a connection to any external urls. And yet the app makes many connections. 'We find the app Music Volume EQ connects to almost 2,000 distinct URLs,' they say. [Another major offender] is an app called Eurosport Player which connects to 810 different user tracking sites." The researchers plan to publish their software for users to try out on Google Play soon.
Link to Original Source
Graphics

Pixar Releases Free Version of RenderMan 198

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-as-in-beer dept.
jones_supa writes: A year ago, animation studio Pixar promised its RenderMan animation and rendering suite would eventually become free for non-commercial use. This was originally scheduled to happen in the SIGGRAPH 2014 computer graphics conference, but things got delayed. Nevertheless, today Pixar is releasing the free version into the wild. Free, non-commercial RenderMan can be used for research, education, evaluation, plug-in development, and any personal projects that do not generate commercial profits. This version is fully featured, without a watermark or any kind of artificial limits. Featuring Pixar's new RIS technology, RenderMan delivers extremely fast global illumination and interactive shading and lighting for artists. The software is available for Mac, Linux, and Windows. In conjunction with the release, Pixar has also launched a new RenderMan Community site where users can exchange knowledge and resources, showcase their own work, share assets such as shaders and scripts, and learn about RenderMan from tutorials.

+ - Stallman joins Internet, talks net neutrality, patents and more

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg writes: According to Richard Stallman, godfather of the free software movement, Facebook is a “monstrous surveillance engine,” tech companies working for patent reform aren’t going nearly far enough, and parents must lobby their children’s schools to keep data private and provide free software alternatives. The free software guru touched on a host of topics in his keynote Saturday at the LibrePlanet conference, a Free Software Foundation gathering at the Scala Center at MIT.
PC Games (Games)

Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the year-of-linux-on-the-console dept.
An anonymous reader writes: This week the Steam Linux client has crossed the threshold of having more than 1,000 native Linux games available while Steam in total has just under 5,000 games. This news comes while the reported Steam Linux market-share is just about 1.0%, but Valve continues brewing big plans for Linux gaming. Is 2015 the year of the Linux gaming system?

Comment: Software as a Service (Score 1, Interesting) 150

by ptaff (#49200119) Attached to: The Abandoned Google Project Memorial Page

Let this be a reminder of why Software as a Service should be avoided when local software can be used instead. How much user data is now lost forever(1) because Google suddenly decided it didn't want to bother?

1) Well, it's kept away from the user; what Google decided to keep is entirely up to Google.

+ - NetHack: Still The Greatest Game Ever Written

Submitted by M-Saunders
M-Saunders writes: While everyone obsesses about frame rates and polygon counts, there's one game that hasn't changed visually since for decades. NetHack may look incredibly primitive today, but it's still arguably the best game of all time, with an unmatched level of depth, creativity and replayability. Linux Voice looks at this fascinating dungeon romp, explaining what makes it great, how to get started with it, and how to discover some of its secrets.
Advertising

Why the Time Is Always Set To 9:41 In Apple Ads 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the ticking-away-the-moments-that-make-up-a-dull-day dept.
jones_supa writes If you have looked carefully, the clock has traditionally been always set to 9:42 in Apple advertisements. You could see it across various commercials, print ads, and even on Apple's website. The explanation is simple: That's the time in the morning that Steve Jobs announced the very first iPhone in 2007. Around 42 minutes into his keynote address he said "Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone." The picture of the phone was carefully scheduled to pop up at that moment. "We design the keynotes so that the big reveal of the product happens around 40 minutes into the presentation", Apple's Scott Forstall confirms. The time was even slightly tweaked in 2010, when the very first iPad was released, so that when it was revealed, it displayed a different time: 9:41.

+ - The Internet Archive launches its arcade: Classic games in a browser-> 1

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan writes: Today, The Internet Archive launched The Internet Arcade, a free, emulated, browser-compatible collection comprising arcade games from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Of course, while some games in the archive have been effectively abandoned and even forgotten, others are still popular and actively exploited by their creators, such as games in the Pac-Man franchise. Games from well-known companies such as Capcom, Konami, Namco, Taito, and Sega appear in the list, among many others — around 900, in total.

Archivist Jason Scott writes about the process of getting the Arcade up and running on his personal blog. He explains its purpose like this: "... my hope is that a handful, a probably tiny percentage [of players], will begin plotting out ways to use this stuff in research, in writing, and remixing these old games into understanding their contexts."

Link to Original Source
Sony

How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor 296

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-in-the-day dept.
smaxp writes In 2007, Sony's supply chain lessons, the network effect from the shift to Intel architecture, and a better OS X for developers combined to renew the Mac's growth. The network effects of the Microsoft Wintel ecosystem that Rappaport explained 20 years ago in the Harvard Business Review are no longer a big advantage. By turning itself into a premium PC company with a proprietary OS, Apple has taken the best of PC ecosystem, but avoided taking on the disadvantages.
OS X

If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data 313

Posted by timothy
from the so-they-can-notify-next-of-kin dept.
fyngyrz (762201) writes It would seem that no matter how you configure Yosemite, Apple is listening. Keeping in mind that this is only what's been discovered so far, and given what's known to be going on, it's not unthinkable that more is as well. Should users just sit back and accept this as the new normal? It will be interesting to see if these discoveries result in an outcry, or not. Is it worse than the data collection recently reported in a test version of Windows?

+ - Are the world's religions ready for ET?-> 2

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado writes: At the current rate of discovery, astronomers will have identified more than a million exoplanets by the year 2045. That means, if life is at all common in the Milky Way, astronomers will soon detect it. Realization that the nature of the debate about life on other worlds is about to fundamentally change lead Vanderbilt astronomer David Weintraub to begin thinking seriously about how people will react to such a discovery. He realized that people's reactions will be heavily influenced by their religious beliefs, so he decided to find out what theologians and leaders from the world's major religions have to say about the matter. The result is a book titled "Religions and Extraterrestrial Life" published by Springer this month. http://www.springer.com/social... He discovered that from Baptists to Buddhists, from Catholics to Mormons, from Islam to the Anglican Communion religious views differ widely.
Link to Original Source
Communications

Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier 267

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-for-you dept.
lurker412 writes Yesterday, and without previous warning, all Mac users running Leopard or earlier versions of OS-X have been locked out of Skype. Those customers are given instructions to update, but following them does not solve the problem. The Skype Community Forum is currently swamped with complaints. A company representative active on the forum said "Unfortunately we don't currently have a build that OS X Leopard (10.5) users could use" but did not answer the question whether they intend to provide one or not.

+ - Potentially Immortal Single Cell Life form Eats, Breathes, Electrons ->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks writes: University of Southern California, Los Angeles researchers are studying forms of bacteria, found on the sea bed, which can feed directly on electrons from electric current. Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. NewScientist reports on cells which make ATP, a molecule that acts as an energy storage unit for almost all living things. This life form needs no sugar or protein, it can consume electrons, from electricity, directly.

"To grow these bacteria, the team collects sediment from the seabed, brings it back to the lab, and inserts electrodes into it. First they measure the natural voltage across the sediment, before applying a slightly different one. A slightly higher voltage offers an excess of electrons; a slightly lower voltage means the electrode will readily accept electrons from anything willing to pass them off. Bugs in the sediments can either "eat" electrons from the higher voltage, or "breathe" electrons on to the lower-voltage electrode, generating a current. That current is picked up by the researchers as a signal of the type of life they have captured."

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