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Comment they've got a console to get out the door... (Score 5, Interesting) 353

This is a byproduct of them working on a console they intend to ship. It'll run linux, so this beta is a nice way for them to test a bunch of their architectural design without actually putting the hardware in thousands of people's living rooms.

As far as bug reporting goes, I doubt they'll prioritize stuff that's not relevant to their expected console architecture. Issues like, "Hey, I have dual monitors and steam blacks one out and it never comes back" are going to be pretty well ignored because the console is unlikely to support dual monitors. This is more about testing out scaling issues for the servers and verifying that updates are working as expected. A more exciting bug report for them would be along the lines of, "XYZ game released an update, but it requires my Steam client to by version 123, and I upgraded Steam to 123, but the game refuses to update."

Oh, and the other thing that's important about this Linux release is that it be valid for the developers to test their ports on prior to the console being finalized. Those limited-run developer hardware kits are way more expensive to issue than just giving studios a Linux install CD and some basic hardware requirements. This beta is probably about making sure the Steam client on Linux isn't too buggy for the devs to work with. This way, when the console is released there will be a healthy selection of titles available right away.

Seth

Comment Valve's console .... related? (Score 2) 353

if Valve can get enough traction behind Linux gaming I can finally cut out Microsoft. It will take years for that to potentially happen but Steam on Linux it can only serve to help Linux in general.

Valve is openly discussing their forthcoming console. That sucker isn't going to include a Microsoft OS tax, so you better expect that Valve is going to set up strong incentives for developers to release on Linux. That's what their console is going to be built on top of.

Seth

AMD

Submission + - AMD Unveils Preliminary Radeon HD 8000M Series Mobile GPU Details (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "AMD has just released some preliminary information regarding the company’s upcoming Radeon HD 8000M series of mobile GPUs. Based on the naming convention alone, it may obvious that the Radeon HD 8000M series is AMD’s second generation of products featuring the GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture, which debuted in the Radeon HD 7000 series. Like its predecessors, the Radeon HD 8000M series targets gamers with full DirectX 11.1 support and improved gaming performance over the previous-gen, but the architecture also lends itself to GPU compute applications as well. The Radeon HD 8500M sports 384 Stream Processors with an Engine Clock up to 650MHz. Memory clocks will vary based on the use of GDDR3 or GDDR5 memory. The Radeon HD 8600M is essentially the same, but with a slightly higher Engine Clock up to 775MHz. The Radeon HD 8700M is also based on the same GPU, but will be clocked at up to 850MHz, for a further increase in performance over the 8600M. The Radeon HD 8800M series, however, is based on a larger, more powerful chip and will sport 640 Stream Processors with an engine clock of up to 700MHz. GDDR5 memory will be used exclusively with 8800M, at speeds up to 1125MHz. It will be interesting to see how these new GPUs stack up versus NVIDIA's latest GeForce 600M series of mobile chips."
Google

Submission + - Gmail drops support for connecting to pop3 servers with self signed certs (google.com) 2

DECula writes: In a move not communicated to it's users before hand, Google's Gmail servers were reconfigured to not connect to remote pop3 servers that have self-signed certificates, leaving folks with unencrypted connections, or no service when getting email from other services.
Not good for for the small folks. One suggestion was to allow placing the public keys on Googles side in the user configuration. That would be a heck of a lot better than just dropping users into never never land.

Microsoft

Submission + - Dell Executive Claims He Warned Microsoft About Windows RT (slashdot.org) 1

Nerval's Lobster writes: "As quoted in The Australian Financial Review, Dell vice-chairman Jeffrey Clarke told an audience at last week’s Dell World conference in Austin, Texas that he had warned Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about the Windows RT name. The “Windows” brand name, Clarke apparently told the CEO, was should be limited to operating systems capable of running Windows legacy software. As Windows RT does not, he felt it should be given a different moniker. While it’s unusual for executives from a Microsoft hardware partner to so candidly speak their mind about Windows, it’s not the first time it’s happened in the context of Windows 8. In the months heading up to the operating system’s release, an Acer spokesperson told Bloomberg: “We think that Microsoft’s launch of its own-brand products is a negative for the whole PC industry.” Intel also had to push back against rumors that CEO Paul Otellini had criticized Windows 8 in a private meeting with employees."

Submission + - HTML5 vs. Native apps: Developers offended by Zuckerberg knock on HTML5 make app (networkworld.com)

BButlerNWW writes: "A team of mobile app developers offended by Facebook czar Mark Zuckerberg dissing HTML5 have created a Facebook app that they say works better than native versions because of the HTML5 coding.

Zuckerberg famously knocked HTML5 in an interview this fall when he said relying too much on it instead of developing native mobile apps was "the biggest mistake we made as a company."

"When Mark Zuckerberg said HTML5 wasn't ready, we took a little offense to the comment," wrote developers at Sencha, a mobile app company that focuses on HMTL5 development.

Sencha Monday released Fastbook, a mobile app that performs almost the exact same functions as native Facebook apps for smartphones, but is built on an HMTL5 framework. The HTML5 version has faster load times, more responsive formatting and increased ability to toggle between different views without needing to reload information compared to the iOS and Android native Facebook apps, the developers claim. "We set out to show that you can build the challenging parts of the native Facbeook app in HTML5 and we built a framework that makes that possible," says Jamie Avins, an engineering manager at Sencha. "We believe HTML5 is the technology and it's ready right now.""

Science

Submission + - Single Microbe May Have Triggered World's Largest Mass Extinction (medicaldaily.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: About 251 million years ago, 90 percent of the Earth's species became extinct. The mass extinction, called the "Great Dying" or the more scientific-sounding Permian-Triassic extinction event, made 96 percent of marine animals and 70 percent of land-dwelling animals extinct in just a few thousand years, and it took the earth as much as 10 million years to regain the biodiversity that it had lost. Researchers believe that they may finally know why the event occurred, but the theory is not without controversy.
There are several theories, including the possibility of a meterorite hitting the planet. Previously, most researchers believed that the Permian mass extinction was a result of a series of volcanic eruptions in what is now Siberia. These eruptions would have caused a dramatic rise in the amount of greenhouse gases which would have, in turn, killed off a bulk of species.
However, Daniel Rothman from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is floating around a different theory. As he presented in a meeting for the American Geophysical Union, he believes that the mass extinction could have been caused by something much smaller. His theory is that the extinction was caused by a single strain of bacteria.

Comment Re:And yet... (Score 1) 2987

And why there is never one of these normal individuals around to put a quick stop to the idiot?

I wouldn't say there is never one of these normal individuals around.... In this incident, there were three of them.

October 29, 1994: Francisco Martin Duran fired at least 29 shots with a semi-automatic rifle at the White House from a fence overlooking the north lawn, thinking that President Bill Clinton was among the men in dark suits standing on the lawn (Clinton was in the White House Residence watching a football game). Three tourists, Harry Rakosky, Ken Davis, and Robert Haines, tackled Duran before he could injure anyone. Duran was found to have a suicide note in his pocket and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Comment Re:We are the 30% (Score 1) 724

The Apple store developer fee of $99 is miniscule. That is the equivalent of what three developers earn in a few hours working on an application.

The $99 is a nice way to reduce fraudulent accounts from being created. It's also worth considering that Apple has to staff actual humans who review all the apps that get submitted. There is no charge for the developers who submit 200 apps in a month, but Apple has to screen them to try to block malware from getting into the app store. Where do you think the cost for that comes from?

Seth

Comment MS executives have been touting this for years (Score 2) 635

Fromt the Wikipedia page on Windows Phone:

Microsoft's General Manager for Strategy and Business Development, Kostas Mallios, said that Windows Phone will be an "ad-serving machine", pushing advertising and brand-related content to the user.

It looks like this is a core component of Redmond's business plan in all their OS offerings.

Comment American Worker is Doomed (Score 2) 116

First it was self-serve gas pumps. That relegated the station attendant to a cash register operator.

Then they implemented gas pumps with credit card readers. No need to interact with a human running a cash register. Fully automated fuel stations.

Now, we've got a huge new industry being invented, and they're not even including humans in any part of this transaction. No one to ask what grade of fuel to use. No one to check the condition of the wiper blades or upsell the satellite owner on a new air filter. Probably going to have NFC chips on the satellites so there's not even a credit card to swipe to charge the customers for the fuel.

I gotta get on the horn to my congressman today. This is going to be too efficient at the cost of jobs. We need to employ a human operator up there or else there is no hope of the unemployment rate dropping below 7%.

Seth

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