Artem Tashkinov writes: To this date the researches behind Google's DeepMind company have been creating the AI algorithms which could hardly be applied in real life aside from pure entertainment purposes, the Go game being the most recent example, however their most recent development, a speech synthesis AI algorithm called WaveNet beats the two existing methods of generating human speech by a long shot — at least 50% by Google's own estimates. The only problem with this new approach is that it's very computationally expensive. The results are even more impressive considering the fact that WaveNet allows to mimic breathing, mouth movements, intonation and other features of human's speech, and it can be easily trained to generate any voice using a very small sample database.
Artem Tashkinov writes: Just when you thought that the speed of software/hardware development has decreased owning to the fact that both software and hardware nowadays are good enough for pretty much everything and everyone, GTK developers decided they do not want to confine themselves to long term API/ABI compatibility and they will release new major incompatible releases every two years (4.0, 5.0, etc) and every six months they will release point releases which will be binary compatible with previous point releases (read 4.0, 4.2, 4.4, etc) but as a user or a software developer you won't be able to compile previous point releases software (say 4.0) on newer point releases (say 4.2, 4.4, 4.6, etc).
People frequently bemoan the fact the Linux is still not gaining any traction on the desktop but unfortunately Linux developers still do not want to develop anything resembling a long term supported platform which guarantees API/ABI compatibility between distros.
Artem Tashkinov writes: The Go game has been considered the toughest to crack game for AI to this date, and various researchers estimated it would take at least ten more years for AI algorithms to master it and beat the best human players on the planet. However according to a recent Nature publication (PDF) by the team behind Google DeepMind, their AI algorithm manages to beat 99% of all other Go playing applications and also it beat Fan Hui, the best European Go player.
Artem Tashkinov writes: It looks like as of lately Microsoft's policy in regard to Windows 10 is to do first, apologize later. It was discovered recently that the company had made Windows 10 a recommended update for Windows 7/8.1 users and since most people have recommended updates installed automatically, many people received a... Windows 10 upgrade as part of a normal Windows update cycle. Microsoft has issued an apology:
"As part of our effort to bring Windows 10 to existing genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers, the Windows 10 upgrade may appear as an optional update in the Windows Update (WU) control panel. This is an intuitive and trusted place people go to find Recommended and Optional updates to Windows. In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing the check."
Artem Tashkinov writes: Researchers from Dutch and Singapore universities have successfully carried out an initial attack on the SHA-1 hashing algorithm by finding a collision at the SHA1 compression function.They describe their work in the paper "Freestart collision for full SHA-1". The work paves the way for full SHA-1 collision attacks, and the researchers estimate that such attacks will become reality at the end of 2015. They also created a dedicated web site called ironically The SHAppening.
Perhaps the call to deprecate the SHA-1 standard in 2017 in major web browsers seems belated and this event has to be accelerated.
Artem Tashkinov writes: We've all known for a very long time that DCMA takedown requests are often dubious and even more often outright wrong but in a new turn of events a Universal Pictures contractor which does web censorship has requested a takedown of an IMDB page and the 127.0.0.1 address. I myself has seen numerous times that pages which barely include the title of an infringing work of art get removed from search engines.
Artem Tashkinov writes: Luke Wolf, a KDE developer, argues that PC-BSD might become a serious desktop OS contender in year 2020, since Linux so far has failed to grasp any serious market share. He writes, "Consider this: In the past 10 years has the distribution you run changed significantly in what it offers over other distributions? I think you'll find the answer is largely no. I do have to give a shout out to openSUSE for the OBS, but otherwise I've used my desktop in the same exact way that I have always used it within the continuity of distribution X,Y, or Z since I started using them. Distributions simply aren't focused on desktop features, they're leaving it up to the DEs to do so." He continues, "PC-BSD on the other hand in fitting with the BSD mindset of holistic solutions is focused on developing desktop features and is moving rapidly to implement them."
Artem Tashkinov writes: The recent out of the blue TrueCrypt discontinuation got many people thinking what had happened to the project and inquiring minds suddenly found a hidden message in TrueCrypt's kind of awkward announcement, "(U)sing (T)rueCrypt (i)s (n)ot (s)ecure (a)s (i)t (m)ay (c)ontain (u)nfixed (s)ecurity (i)ssues", which means, "uti nsa im cu si". Translated from Latin it means, "If I wish to use the NSA". Even if this message is real and its author wanted to warn us about TrueCrypt use implications, it's still unclear whether he meant to avoid all existing TrueCrypt releases or only future ones.
Artem Tashkinov writes: According to rumors Bill Gate's first day at his office in Redmond turned out to be a complete disaster mixed with ostensibly curse words no one had expected from him. He tried to install the Windows 8.1 upgrade but the updater failed continuously asking to reboot the PC. Microsoft's new C.E.O. Satya Nadella who came to help resolve the situation couldn't sort it out. In the end Gates said he would be returning to Windows 7 for the foreseeable future.
Artem Tashkinov writes: The terrifying legislation that allows for Americans to be arrested, detained indefinitely, tortured and interrogated — without charge or trial — passed through the Senate on Thursday with an overwhelming support from 93 percent of lawmakers. Only seven members of the US Senate voted against the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, despite urging from the ACLU and concerned citizens across the country that the affects of the legislation would be detrimental to the civil rights and liberties of everyone in America. Under the bill, Americans can be held by the US military for terrorism-related charges and detained without trial indefinitely.
Artem Tashkinov writes: Ever since the invention of silicon transistor pundits have predicted that one day due to the laws of physics, companies which produce integrated circuits won't be able to shrink transistors, because at one point wires and gates become so small electrons will begin to stray freely and short circuit the chip. Intel has already plans for 11nm chips, but according to the current estimate the gate length of 5nm poses the ultimate limit of the silicon technology due to huge off-leakage current. So the question is, what happens next? Will the electronics industry and advancement in computing performance come to a screeching halt? Will we see the advent of photonic or quantum computers or something completely different? Or maybe computations will move to the cloud where CPUs will be plugged in on demand? Share your vision of the future.
Artem Tashkinov writes: Two Italians, Professor Sergio Focardi and Eng. Andrea A. Rossi, both of the University of Bologna, announced to the world that they have a cold fusion device capable of producing more than 10 kilowatts of heat power, while only consuming a fraction of that. This is the first public demonstration of a nickel-hydrogen fusion reactor capable of producing a few kilowatts of thermal energy. At its peak, it is capable of generating 15,000 watts with just 400 watts input required. Licensees are mentioned, with contracts in the USA and in Europe. Mass production should escalate in 2-3 years. Presently Rossi says they are manufacturing a 1 megawatt plant composed of 125 modules.
Artem Tashkinov writes: Recently scientists have reexamined a 100kg meteorite that hit Australia in 1969 and discovered that the rock which originated in the early days of the Solar System or even earlier contains a soup of highly complex organic chemistry. These findings further prove a theory of a primordial life possibly boosted by extra-terrestrial material. The researchers found 14,197 distinct elemental formulas. Taking into account the limitation of the instrument used, the researchers estimate that there may actually be more than 50,000.
Artem Tashkinov writes: Maggie Jackson wrote a book in which she is proving that "compared to past generations, we are in fact less capable of quality analytical thinking, more ignorant about many issues, and more fragmented as a community." As a a result of infinite and distracting flow of information coming from the Internet, mail, TV and and medias "it becomes nearly impossible to utilize our capacity for sustained attention, and the implications are felt in business, the home, and society at large."
Jackson notes that the average worker switches tasks every three minutes and once interrupted takes nearly half an hour to go back to the original task. Families and friends find it increasingly difficult to meet face-to-face and even more difficult to do so without interruption or willful multitasking. News segments bombard us with superficially simple pieces of information. We have essentially been ushered into a world of constant distraction in which reflective thinking and undivided attention (single-tasking) has become exceedingly rare.