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Submission + - Ubuntu exits Unity & Mobile / Convergence strategy, Gnome to return with 18. (

Qbertino writes: A blogpost by Mark Shuttleworth lays out his assesment of the attempts to unify the desktop and mobile spaces with Ubuntus Unity. In general he states that the convergence thing hasn't panned out as expected but Ubuntu Desktop is going strong. Apparenty Canocical, the company behind Ubuntu, will now focus on that strength and drop the mobile and convergence ambitions.

Submission + - Coping With the Do-It-From-Everywhere Workforce (

mirandakatz writes: A distributed workforce can get disorganized, quickly: Between timezone differences and gaps in company culture, it can be easy for employees based outside the central office to start feeling like they're being left out. At Backchannel, Silicon Valley expert Karen Wickre offers up some sage advice for companies dealing with remote employees, as well as those making use of temps and independent contractors. The key is that regardless of any organizational chart, it’s imperative that companies work hard to build connections and share the company culture across all kinds of workers. Here's exactly how to make that happen.

Submission + - Intel Kaby Lake-Y Benchmarked In Dell's Silent, Passively Cooled XPS 13 2-In-1

bigwophh writes: Until very recently, Intel's lowest powered Kaby Lake variant, known as Kaby Lake-Y, hasn't made much of an appearance in market. Kaby Lake-Y is the the 4.5 — 7 Watt series of Intel's 7th gen processor family intended for thin and light, fanless 2-in-1 devices. What's interesting is that Intel has done away almost completely with the "Core m" moniker with Kaby Lake, choosing instead to denote the series in the root of the model number, like it does with the more common U series chips that are employed in full-featured ultrabooks. However, the company does list lower-end Core m3 7th gen variants of Kaby Lake as such, while i5 and i7 higher-end SKUs are only distinguishable by the Y in the root of the model number. Clear as mud right? There may be a reason for this, as early introductions of Intel's Core m were met with mixed reviews. However, with early Kaby Lake-Y systems, like Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1, performance with higher end SKUs like the Core i7-7Y75, with aggressive TDP-up tuning, is more in line with lower-end Core i5 variants of Intel's previous gen Skylake U series that was so prevalent in last year's full-fledged notebook designs. With boost clock speeds as high as 3.6GHz for some Kaby Lake-Y chips, this isn't the same Core m kind of performance of previous generations from Intel.

Submission + - Bitcoin Not Money, Rules Miami Judge In Dismissing Laundering Charges (

An anonymous reader writes: Bitcoin does not actually qualify as money, a Miami-Dade judge ruled Monday in throwing out criminal charges against a Miami Beach man charged with illegally selling the virtual currency. The defendant, Michell Espinoza, was charged with illegally selling and laundering $1,500 worth of Bitcoins to undercover detectives who told him they wanted to use the money to buy stolen credit-card numbers. But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled that Bitcoin was not backed by any government or bank, and was not “tangible wealth” and “cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars.” “The court is not an expert in economics, however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, the Bitcoin has a long way to go before it the equivalent of money,” Pooler wrote in an eight-page order. The judge also wrote that Florida law – which says someone can be charged with money laundering if they engage in a financial transaction that will “promote” illegal activity – is way too vague to apply to Bitcoin. “This court is unwilling to punish a man for selling his property to another, when his actions fall under a statute that is so vaguely written that even legal professionals have difficulty finding a singular meaning,” she wrote.

Submission + - MIT Made a Movie Screen That Brings Glasses-Free 3D To All Seats (

An anonymous reader writes: MIT has developed a glasses-less 3D display for movie theaters. The Nintendo 3DS is one of a handful of devices to feature glasses-less 3D, but it is designed for a single users where the user is looking at the display head-on at a relatively specific angle. It's not something made for a movie theater with hundreds of seats, each of which would have a different viewing angle. What's neat about MIT's 3D display is that it doesn't require glasses and it lets anyone see the 3D effect in a movie theater, no matter where they are sitting. The MIT Computers Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) created the prototype display called 'Cinema 3D' that uses a complex arrangement of lenses and mirrors to create a set number of parallax barriers that can address every viewing angle in the theater based on seat locations. It works in a movie theater because the seats are in fixed locations, and people don't tend to move around, change seats or alter their viewing angle too much. What's also neat about the Cinema 3D is that is preserves resolution, whereas other glasses-less 3D displays carry cots in terms of image resolution. The prototype is about the size of a letter-sized notepad, and it needs 50 sets of mirrors and lenses. It should be ready for market once researchers scale it up to a commercially viable product.

Submission + - Intel Skull Canyon NUC Tested: Skylake And Iris Pro Graphics In Tiny 1" Thick PC (

Deathspawner writes: Intel first teased their forthcoming NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini PC, codenamed Skull Canyon, back at CES in January. However, systems have only just started shipping earlier this month. Styled with a new, thinner (but longer) all black chassis and Intel's classic Skull-branded logo, this NUC is targeted squarely at enthusiasts. The Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK not only boasts a Skylake quad-core CPU that boosts to 3.5GHz, but also Intel's fastest Iris Pro Graphics 580 integrated graphics core with 128MB of on-chip eDRAM (embedded DRAM). With the Skylake platform, Skull Canyon also sports DDR4-2133MHz memory, up to two M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives, four USB 3 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port and a built-in SD card reader. It's a fair amount of computing horsepower in a roughly 8-inch by 4-inch, by 1-inch thick form factor. NUCs have been fairly popular in the market due to their size and convenience, though they've historically not be designed for higher-end workloads and gaming. However, in testing, this performance-built NUC, with its DX12 compatible graphic core, showed the ability to run most current-gen game titles at up to 1080p resolutions with medium image quality. The barebones kit is a bit on the pricey side at $650 street, but it's definitely one of the faster tiny PCs on the market.

Submission + - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Launched, Benchmarks Show Great Perf Per Watt (

MojoKid writes: A couple of weeks ago, NVIDIA CEO Jen Hsun-Huang unveiled the company's new high-end graphics cards, the GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070. Huang claimed the cards represented a true generational leap in performance and efficiency, thanks to NVIDIA's new Pascal GPU architecture. Yesterday, the official launch of the GeForce GTX1080 took place, with full specs revealed and the benchmarks results are in. The GPU at the heart of the GeForce GTX 1080 Founder's Edition has a base clock of 1607MHz and a boost clock of 1733MHz, though boost clocks actually shot a little higher right out of the box in some game tests (one test card went up to 1823MHz occasionally, without overclocking). The GDDR5X memory on the card is clocked at 5GHz for an effective data rate of 10Gbps. At its reference clocks, the GTX 1080 offers up to 320GB/s of memory bandwidth and a peak texture fillrate of 257.1 GigaTexels/s, all within a 180 watt power envelope and the card only needs a single, 8-pin power feed. In the benchmarks GeForce GTX 1080 is roughly 20 -25 percent faster than a Titan X and 10 – 15 percent faster than a factory overclocked GeForce GTX 980 Ti. It was also significantly faster than AMD's Radeon R9 Fury X, in both DirectX 11 and Direct X 12 game titles.

Submission + - Microsoft And Canonical Bash Efforts Produce Linux GUI App For Windows Desktop (

macbookemdanno writes: After Microsoft made the surprising announcement that Linux's BASH terminal would be supported on Windows 10, many began to wonder if it'd be possible to initiate an X server (the accelerated window manager for Linux) to run GUI applications. In its shipping form, both Microsoft and Canonical expect people to use only command-line based applications in the BASH terminal, but as it happens, you are able to run some GUI apps, as long as you don't mind the experience being less-than-intuitive. Some users have managed to run the xeyes toy and the GUI version of VIM. Neither of those are that impressive, but check out Firefox. While no one would run Firefox this way, given that there's a native Windows client, the fact that loading the Linux version on Windows is possible really does highlight how powerful this BASH functionality can be. Firefox requires quite a number of dependencies and it could have easily broke right from the get-go. Instead, it appears to be running just fine. Running Windows apps in Linux has been done for ages, but vice versa? It's impressive to see that in action.

Submission + - Would You Ride the 'Death Simulator'? writes: Ryan O'Hare writes in the Daily Mail that a business in China is offering people the chance to be virtually cremated before being reborn through a latex womb. The Samadhi Death Simulator allows visitors to be "killed off" by their peers, before they are "cremated" in an oven, and then "resurrected" — experiencing birth through a giant latex "womb" chute. The virtual crematorium opening in Shanghai asks people to discuss a life and death scenario before deciding if they would put one of their fellow philosophers forward for death, or if they would sacrifice their own life. The person with the worst explanation is selected for death, climbs inside the giant simulator and is fed through the machine feet first, with screens all around projecting images of rolling flames. After the virtual cremation, the person moves from the slab and crawls through a latex womb on their hands and knees, simulating their rebirth.

"When we do not fully understand and take in [death], saying goodbye is really quite a complicated and difficult task," says the attraction's founder, Ding Rui. "So I thought of how to be able to come up with a premise on how to educate people on life, so as one approaches the moment just before they they face death, they don't have to think about these problems constantly." Ding and his partner Huang Wei-ping went to great lengths researching their game, investigating the cremation process that typically awaits 50% of Chinese people after death. The pair visited a real crematorium and asked to be sent through the furnace with the flames turned off. When it came to Huang's turn, he found it unbearable. "It was getting really hot. I couldn't breathe and I thought my life was over."

Submission + - NASA begins planning the first human mission to cislunar space (

MarkWhittington writes: With the first launch of the heavy-lift Space Launch System drawing nigh for no later than November 2018, NASA is already trying to plan the first crewed space mission beyond low Earth orbit for the early 2020s. However, budget uncertainties plus a couple of congressional mandates are causing uncertainty for the launch manifest for the SLS.

Submission + - Software-Defined Vehicles Will Dominate at CES (

Lucas123 writes: Carmakers and their tier 1 parts suppliers at this year's CES in January are expected launch an unprecedented number of software advances centered around cloud services and over-the-air updates as the number of in-vehicle processors grow and consumers have come to expect their car to mimic smartphone functionality. As hardware becomes more of a commodity, increasingly cars will be defined by software. There will be about 464 automotive electronics exhibitors at this year's CES — a record number, according to IHS Automotive. Machine-human interface (HMI) will be a core technology at the show and augmented reality and virtual reality in the form of gesture recognition and heads up displays is expected to be among the most cutting-edge features on display. Cloud-based speech recognition technology that uses machine learning skills to identify speech patterns more quickly will also be more commonplace. One development the analysts said they're "crossing their fingers" to see at the show is Modular Infotainment Platforms, which allow carmakers to offer the latest electronic systems prior to a model launch. Today, car models are often launched with years-old electronics. Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto are also increasingly undermining the native [IVI] system makers business. Analyst believe all carmakers will eventually offer both APIs in future car models.

Submission + - IRS: We Used Stingray Devices To Track 37 Phones (

An anonymous reader writes: In October, we discussed the troubling revelation that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service had its own stingray devices, which are commonly used by law enforcement to intercept phone signals and track criminal suspects. The IRS has now addressed these allegations (PDF), confirming that they do indeed have one of the devices, and are trying to get a second. The agency said it tracked 37 phones across 11 different grand jury investigations, and the devices were also used in four non-IRS investigations. They say, "IRS use of cell-site simulation technology is limited to the federal law enforcement arm of the IRS, our Criminal Investigation division. Only trained law enforcement agents have used cell-site simulation technology, carrying out criminal investigations in accordance with all appropriate federal and state judicial procedures."

Submission + - Hospitals Can 3D Print A Patient's Vasculature For Aneurism Pre-Op Practice (

Lucas123 writes: University of Buffalo physicians and researchers from two institutes working with 3D printer maker Stratasys have successfully 3D printed anatomically correct models of patients' vascular systems — from their femoral artery to their brain — in order to test various surgical techniques prior to an actual operation. The new 3D printed models not only precisely replicate blood vessels' geometry, but the texture and tissue tension, allowing surgeons a realistic preoperative experience when using catheterization techniques. The printed models are also being used by physicians in training.

Submission + - Daimler Builds Massive Industrial Energy Storage Systems From Used EV Batteries (

Lucas123 writes: German carmaker Daimler AG is building large battery storage systems for industrial use from the used lithium-ion batteries of its all-electric and hybrid vehicles. The first of Daimler's "2nd use battery storage units" will consist of 1,000 smart electric drive vehicle batteries and have a 13MWh of capacity. It is expected to be connected to the electrical grid in Lünen, Germany early next year. All of Daimler's battery storage units are currently planned to be greater than a megawatt in capacity, meaning they'll only be for commercial, not residential use, but the company said it does expect those batteries to be cost competitive with the ones Tesla announced earlier this year.

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