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+ - It's Time to Revive Hypercard

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "HyperCard, an application program and programming tool released for the Apple Macintosh in 1987, represented the ‘computing for the people’ philosophy that enabled users to go past the pre-built software that came on their machines, and to program and build software of their own. "Mac users could use Hypercard to build their own mini-programs to balance their taxes, manage sports statistics, make music – all kinds of individualized software that would be useful (or fun) for individual users." Now Jer Thorp writes that the end of HyperCard left a huge gap that desperately needs to be filled – a space for an easy to use, intuitive tool that will once again let average computer users make their own tools. According to Throp, this type of plain-language programming makes sense, particularly in an application that was designed specifically for non-programmers. "I find the largest concern for learners to be not with the conceptual hurdles involved in writing a program, but with obscure and confusing syntax requirements. I would love to be able to teach HyperTalk to my students, as a smooth on-road to more complex languages like JavaScript, Java or C++." By putting the tools of creation into the hands of the broader userbase, we would allow for the creation of ultra-specific personalized apps that, aside from a few exceptions, don’t exist today."

HyperTalk wasn’t just easy, it was also fairly powerful. Complex object structures could be built to handle complicated tasks, and the base language could be expanded by a variety of available external commands and functions (XCMDs and XFCNs, respectively), which were precursors to the modern plug-in. But ultimately, HyperCard would disappear from Mac computers by the mid-nineties, eclipsed by web browsers and other applications which it had itself inspired. The last copy of HyperCard was sold by Apple in 2004. "One thing that's changed in the intervening decades is that the hobbyist has largely gone by the wayside. Now you're either a user or a full-fledged developer, and the gulf is wider than ever," writes Peter Cohen. "There's really nothing like it today, and I think the Mac is lesser for it.""

+ - Tao3D: a new open-source programming language for real-time 3D animations->

Submitted by descubes
descubes (35093) writes "Tao3D is a new open-source programming language designed for real-time 3D animations. With it, you can quickly create interactive, data-rich presentations, small applications, proofs of concept, user interface prototypes, and more. The interactivity of the language, combined with its simplicity and graphical aspects, make it ideal to teach programming.

Tao3D also demonstrates a lot of innovation in programming language design. It makes it very easy to create new control structures. Defining if-then-else is literally a couple of lines of code. The syntax to pass pass blocks of code to functions is completely transparent. And it is fully reactive, meaning that it automatically reacts as necessary to external events such as mouse movements or the passage of time.

The source code was just made available under the GNU General Public License v3 on SourceForge, GitHub and Gitorious."

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+ - Khrushchev's 1959 Visit to IBM->

Submitted by harrymcc
harrymcc (1641347) writes "In September of 1959, Nikita Khrushchev, the premier of the Soviet Union, spent 12 days touring the U.S. One of his stops was IBM's facilities in San Jose, which helped to create the area later known as Silicon Valley. The premier got to see the first computer which came with a hard disk, which IBM programmed to answer history questions. But what he was most impressed by was IBM's modern cafeteria. Over at Fast Company, I've chronicled this fascinating and little-known moment in tech history, which will be covered in an upcoming PBS program on Khrushchev's U.S. trip."
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+ - Facebook Wants You to Vote Tuesday

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Six years in the making, Facebook's get-out-the-vote tool — a high-profile button that proclaims "I'm Voting" or "I'm a Voter" — will on Tuesday give many of the social network's more than 150 million American users a gentle but effective nudge to vote. "If past research is any guide," writes Micah L. Sifry in Mother Jones, "up to a few million more people will head to the polls partly because their Facebook friends encouraged them. Yet the process by which Facebook has developed this tool — what the firm calls the 'voter megaphone' — has not been very transparent, raising questions about its use and Facebook's ability to influence elections. Moreover, while Facebook has been developing and promoting this tool, it has also been quietly conducting experiments on how the company's actions can affect the voting behavior of its users." Sifry adds, "There may be another reason for Facebook's lack of transparency regarding its voting promotion experiments: politics. Facebook officials likely do not want Republicans on Capitol Hill to realize that their voter megaphone isn't a neutral get-out-the-vote mechanism. It's not that Facebook uses this tool to remind only users who identify themselves as Democrats to vote — though the company certainly has the technical means to do so. But the Facebook user base tilts Democratic." So, it's probably worth mentioning again that Facebook caught flack last summer for deliberately experimenting on users' emotions without their consent. And just last June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC put out a call for "pissed off Data Scientists" to data mine critical legislative districts and "growth hack" ways to motivate "registered voters who are registered Republicans who we think are likely to support immigration reform.""

Google News Sci Tech: China completes first mission to moon and back - The News International->

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Daily Mail

China completes first mission to moon and back
The News International
BEIJING: China completed its first return mission to the moon early Saturday with the successful re-entry and landing of an unmanned probe, state media reported, in the latest step forward for Beijings ambitious space programme. The probe landed safely in...
China completes first moon-and-back missionBrisbane Times
Chinese unmanned lunar orbiter returns homeBusiness Standard

all 60 news articles

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+ - Boo! The House Majority PAC is watching you.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I received some interesting mail this week from the House Majority PAC. First, a "voter report card" postcard telling me my voting record was "excellent" (I'm a good citizen!), but also letting me know that they "plan to update this report card after the election to see whether you voted". OK, so one of the Democratic Party's super PACs want me to vote, but it seems to be something of an attempt at intimidation. Today, I received a letter in which they really put the pressure on. Here are some excerpts: "Who you vote for is secret. But whether or not you vote is public record. Our organization monitors turnout in your neighborhood, and we are disappointed that many of your neighbors do not always exercise their right to vote." So why contact me instead of them? Voting is a civic duty, but it isn't illegal to abstain. That's my neighbors' business, not mine. It's one way of expressing dissatisfaction, isn't it? And if there are no candidates you wish to vote for, then why should you vote for someone you don't want? But Big Brother PAC has other ideas: "We will be reviewing the Camden County [NJ] official voting records after the upcoming election to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014. If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not." The letter is signed "Joe Fox Election day Coordinator". So what happens if I don't vote? Well, at least I got a scare this Halloween. Are PACs using similar tactics in other states?"
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+ - NASA Spacecraft Images Crash Site of Retired LADEE Probe->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In April, NASA ended the mission of its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission by de-orbiting (read: crashing) it on the far side of the moon. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has now directly imaged the crash site, showing a small crater and the spray of rocks and dust caused by the crash. "LADEE's grave lies about 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) from the eastern rim of the larger Sundman V crater, just 0.2 miles (0.3 km) north of the spot where mission team members predicted the spacecraft would go down based on tracking data, NASA officials said. ... The new crater is less than 10 feet (3 meters) wide. It's so small because LADEE was just the size of a washing machine, and the probe was traveling relatively slowly (3,800 mph, or 6,116 km/h) when it impacted the surface. The LROC team was able to spot LADEE's impact crater after developing a new tool that compared before-and-after images of the same lunar sites, researchers said.""
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+ - LG's 0.7mm Smartphone Bezel is World's Narrowest, Almost Non-Existent

Submitted by SmartAboutThings
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "LG Display has announced that it has developed a 5.3-inch Full HD LCD panel for smartphones with the world’s narrowest bezel at 0.7mm. It's even thinner than a credit card, making the screen give you the impression that it 'overflows'. This has been made possible thanks to the Neo Edge technology that uses an adhesive instead of double-sided tape to attach and completely seal the total area and edges of the panel’s circuit board and backlight unit."

Techdirt: After Protests Continue, Hungary Dumps Stupid Internet Tax Idea->

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Earlier this week, we wrote about widespread demonstrations against a monumentally stupid plan by the Hungarian government to tax internet usage on a per-gigabyte-downloaded plan. The protests caused the government to "modify" the plan and put a cap on how much tax would be charged, but that seemed to do little to stop the complaints -- and thus, the government is shelving the plan entirely, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban announcing that the "tax in its current form cannot be introduced." Of course, that leaves open the possibility of it coming back in "another" form. But perhaps Orban is learning not to take on the internet. An analysis from the BBC talks about why Orban backed down:

Viktor Orban does not often back down, but he has done so on this occasion for several reasons.
  • He saw how unpopular the tax was. He managed with one stroke to do something which opposition leaders had tried and failed to do for five years: unify his opponents
  • He took on the best-organised community in the country - internet users - and lost
  • The government's communication methods failed again - as they have with almost every major decision since Fidesz came to power
  • "We are not Communists. We don't go against the will of the people," he said - a sign that growing comparisons between Fidesz and the old Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party are hitting the mark.
At the very least, this is yet another example of how the public is not willing to just roll over when politicians attack the internet.

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+ - Free Broadband For NYC Public Housing Sought

Submitted by nomad63
nomad63 (686331) writes "Earlier this week, the NY Times reported that a group of city and leaders, with NYC public advocate Letitia James at the helm, are pushing for a commitment from Comcast to provide free broadband to the city’s public housing and to extend its low-cost Internet Essentials plan (which was created as a condition of the NBC deal). While New York City might be the center of finance and commerce in the U.S., about 1/3 of households don’t have an Internet connection, highlighting the huge “digital divide” between the city’s wealthy residents and those who can’t afford broadband service.In addition to the free service for public housing, the group wants gratis access at shelters for the city’s homeless and its victims of domestic violence.

Looks like, after our tax dollars have been providing little blue pills to the less fortunate, now they are closing the loop by providing free access to pr0n as well. Must be very good to have that "Mission Accomplished" feeling."

+ - Reactions to Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology->

Submitted by LuxuryYacht
LuxuryYacht (229372) writes "A new study shows that the way your brain responds to photos of of maggots, mutilated carcasses, and gunk in the kitchen sink gives a pretty good indication of whether you're liberal or conservative.

"Remarkably, we found that the brain's response to a single disgusting image was enough to predict an individual's political ideology," Read Montague, a Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute psychology professor who led the study, said in a written statement.

83 men and women viewed a series of images while having their brains scanned in a functional MRI (fMRI) machine. The images included the disgusting photos described above, along with photos of babies and pleasant landscapes.

Afterward, the participants were asked to rate how grossed out they were by each photo. They also completed a survey about their political beliefs, which included questions about their attitudes toward school prayer, gun control, immigration, and gay marriage.

There was no significant difference in how liberals and conservatives rated the photos. But the researchers noted differences between the two groups in the activity of brain regions associated with disgust recognition, emotion regulation, attention and even memory. The differences were so pronounced that the researchers could analyze a scan and predict the person's political leaning with 95 percent accuracy."

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+ - A mysterious piece of Russian space junk does maneuvers

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "What was first thought to be a piece of debris left over from the launch of three Russian military communication satellites has turned out to be a fourth satellite capable of maneuvers.

The three satellites were designated Kosmos-2496, -2497, -2498. However, as in the previous launch on December 25, 2013, the fourth unidentified object was detected orbiting the Earth a few kilometers away from “routine” Rodnik satellites.

Moreover, an analysis of orbital elements from a US radar by observers showed that the “ghost” spacecraft had made a maneuver between May 29 and May 31, 2014, despite being identified as “debris” (or Object 2014-028E) in the official US catalog at the time. On June 24, the mysterious spacecraft started maneuvering again, lowering its perigee (lowest point) by four kilometers and lifting its apogee by 3.5 kilometers. Object E then continued its relentless maneuvers in July and its perigee was lowered sharply, bringing it suspiciously close to the Briz upper stage, which had originally delivered all four payloads into orbit in May.

This is the second time a Russian piece of orbital junk has suddenly started to do maneuvers. The first time, in early 2014, the Russians finally admitted five months after launch that the “junk” was actually a satellite. In both cases, the Russians have not told anyone what these satellites are designed to do, though based on the second satellite’s maneuvers as well as its small size (about a foot in diameter) it is likely they are testing new cubesat capabilities, as most cubesats do not have the ability to do these kinds of orbital maneuvers.

Once you have that capability, you can then apply it to cubesats with any kind of purpose, from military anti-satellite technology to commercial applications."

+ - Why is this company trying to make you afraid of flashlight apps?->

Submitted by Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh (3774987) writes "Flashlight apps have been around as long as smartphones themselves, so why are we just now hearing about their seemingly obvious dangers? You can thank SnoopWall, which bills itself as a privacy firm looking out for your best interests. The company released what it called a “Threat Assessment Report” earlier this month investigating flashlight apps on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. But who exactly is SnoopWall?"
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+ - Can doctors be trained to use open source to save hospitals from bankruptcy?->

Submitted by jenwike
jenwike (2888285) writes "Luis Ibanez is a software engineer at Google and before that worked on open science at Kitware. He lays out the financial crisis many US hospitals are in after they have purchased closed, proprietary Electronic Health Records systems they cannot maintain and do not understand. So, how much would it cost to implement VistaA, an open source software EHR system developed by the VA? Zero dollars. And, how many developers would it take to employ to run and maintain VistA in hospitals across the country? Four. Do the math."
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Google News Sci Tech: Russian Official Wants to Ban Tim Cook - PC Magazine->

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Wall Street Journal

Russian Official Wants to Ban Tim Cook
PC Magazine
Hours after the Apple CEO came out, Vitaly Milonov said he wants a lifetime prohibition on Cook's entrance into Russia. 0shares. tim cook responds. Reaction to Tim Cook's decision to publicly come out in a Bloomberg Businessweek op-ed has been mostly...
Apple CEO publicly acknowledges that he's gaySFGate
Apple CEO Tim Cook: I'm Proud to Be GayBloomberg
What Tim Cook's essay means to meFortune
Register-New York Times-RetailWire
all 2,386 news articles

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UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn

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