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Submission + - Software Goes Through 'Beta Testing.' Should Online College Courses? (Some Do) (edsurge.com)

jyosim writes: Coursera has recruited a volunteer corp of more than 2,500 beta testers to try out MOOCs before they launch. Other free online course providers have set up systems that catch things like mistakes in tests, or just whether videos are confusing.

Traditional colleges have shied away from checking online course content before going live, citing academic freedom. But some colleges are developing checklists to judge course design and accessibility.

“It would be lovely if universities would consider ways of adopting the practice of beta testing,” says Phillip Long, chief innovation officer and associate vice provost for learning sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. One factor, though, is cost. “How do you scale that at a university that has thousands of courses being taught,” he asks.

EdSurge asks: How much beta testing makes sense for courses, and what’s the best way to do it?

Submission + - Is Your TV Watching You? Vizio Busted for Spying on Customers (audioholics.com)

Audiofan writes: On February 6, Vizio went from being the toast of TV buyers everywhere to an electronic spy inside the homes of millions. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Vizio will pay out a settlement of $2.2 million for illegally selling data collected on some 11-million consumers including viewing habits as well as demographic info on customers. Learn how to protect yourself from your own smart TV, because it's not just Vizio, just about brand of smart TV has similar capabilities.

Submission + - ASUS takes on Raspberry Pi with its 4K-capable, Kodi-ready Tinker Board (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: If you love Raspberry Pi, but require a little more power for your projects, then ASUSâ(TM)s Tinker Board could be just what youâ(TM)re looking for.

Although thereâ(TM)s no shortage of Raspberry Pi alternatives, the low-cost Tinker Board is better than most because its quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A17 processor has the oomph to handle 4K video and 24-bit audio, and it comes with twice as much RAM as the latest Pi.

Submission + - SPAM: Deepest water found 1000km down, a third of way to Earth's core

schwit1 writes: JULES VERNE’s idea of an ocean deep below the surface in Journey to the Centre of the Earth may not have been too far off. Earth’s mantle may contain many oceans’ worth of water – with the deepest 1000 kilometres down.

“If it wasn’t down there, we would all be submerged,” says Steve Jacobsen at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, whose team made the discovery. “This implies a bigger reservoir of water on the planet than previously thought.”

This water is much deeper than any seen before, at a third of the way to the edge of Earth’s core. Its presence was indicated by a diamond spat out 90 million years ago by a volcano near the São Luíz river in Juina, Brazil.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Old DOS games inspires visual artist's work (wordpress.com)

farrellj writes: For all you old DOS Gaming fans!

Here is what the artist has to say about the micro-paintings:
"The 90s were the golden age of graphic adventures for LucasArts, Westwood Studios, Sierra and many more. These were games written by playful geeks for geeks – entertainment for the emergent technocracy that was daring, quirky and intelligent.

To commemorate early PC gaming heroes and heroines, I’ve created this series of tiny paintings of some of my favourite DOS games."

Check it out here:
https://synescape.wordpress.co...

Submission + - Barnes & Noble to release a $50 Android tablet for Black Friday

Robotech_Master writes: Barnes & Noble has decided to imitate Amazon yet again, as it comes out with a $50 Android tablet just in time for the holidays. The specs are similar to slightly better than the $50 Fire, but the kicker is this tablet will ship with plain-vanilla Marshmallow Android 6.0 and the Google Play utilities--unlike the Fire, which limits its users to only those apps Amazon deems suitable to offer. Might this be enough to rescue the ailing Nook brand?

Submission + - Groundbreaking Paper on arXiv derives Gravity from Holographic Principle (arxiv.org)

vikingpower writes: Dutch prodigy and Amsterdam University Professor Erik Verlinde published a paper on arXiv, yesterday November 7, titled "Emergent Gravity and the Dark Universe". In the paper, Verlinde derives gravity from the so-called Holographic Principle, which — simply put — states that gravity emerges from the interplay between and entropy re-arrangement of sub-atomic "strings" that live in a negatively curved space-time. At that level, "...spacetime and gravity are emergent from an underlying microscopic description in which they have no a priori meaning" . Most importantly, Verlinde's paper has as a consequence that Dark Matter, nemesis of many an astronomer, is nothing more than an illusion. Verlinde, who was awarded the Dutch national Spinoza science prize in the recent past, already completed the tour de force of deriving Newtonian gravity from the same principles in a 2010 paper, also on arXiv. We are probably looking at Nobel-prize material here, as Verlinde is acknowledged by his peers to "go one better than Einstein's General Theory of Relativity".

Submission + - The NES Mini is a $60 single board computer (and it runs Linux)

romiz writes: As the first samples of the NES Mini reach reviewers, its hardware specifications are now easy to find. With a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7, 256 MiB of RAM, and 512 MiB of NAND Flash, it is typical of the hardware found in Linux single board computers, like the RaspberryPi 2. Surprisingly for Nintendo, there does not seem to be any custom components in it, and it looks like it even does run Linux. The GPL license for the kernel and many other open source components is visible in the legal information screen. The source, however, is not available on Nintendo's open source page yet.

But it is the re-edition a 1980s video console: there is no network access, no hardware expansion port, and the 30 games cannot be changed. Changing the system runnning on it will probably be difficult.

Submission + - China Launches New Heavy Lifting Rocket (space.com)

hackingbear writes: China launched its second new rocket in the year. The Long March 5 rocket, lifted off from the Wenchang launch center on Hainan Island, off China's southern coast, at 8:43 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT; 8:43 p.m. Beijing time), carring to orbit an experimental satellite called Shijian-17, which is designed to test electric-propulsion technology. Capable of 25 metric ton payload to LEO, LM 5 is among the most powerful rockets in service. Besides scheduled launch of China's upcoming space station, the Long March 5 will also loft Chang'e-5, a robotic sample-return mission to the moon. Chang'e-5 is currently scheduled to lift off sometime next year, Chinese space officials have said.

Submission + - Mimicking nature turns sewage into biocrude oil in minutes (newatlas.com) 1

Big Hairy Ian writes: Biofuels are often touted as an alternative to fossil fuels, but many depend on raw materials that would quickly become scarce if production were scaled up. As an alternative to these alternatives, the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has found a way to potentially produce 30 million barrels of biocrude oil per year from the 34 billion gal (128 billion liters) of raw sewage that Americans create every day.

Submission + - Poll: Should Samsung update old phones an extra year?

tacarat writes: Since people can't update their phones to the newer model, should Samsung provide an extra year of meaningful firmware and security updates?
1) Yes
2) No
3) I switched manufacturers
4) Cowboy Neal

Comment Re:$$$ Workstations (Score 1) 310

... basically we need a technology that re-enables single threaded performance.

And we need lower prices. Low prices drove the computer boom, not raw power.

In the past, process shrinks led to cheaper CPUs. This is not happening any more.

Tablets/(smart)phones are selling good, because they got cheep. Then their power increased somewhat, and that led two more expensive phones. Beside that, they wear out more quickly and brake more often -- this is what sustains their sales.

Submission + - Google Chrome memory tweaks in next version

justthinkit writes: Google Chrome is arguably the best browser and the biggest memory hog. Presently. But the Google engineers are hard at work, optimizing the next version of Chrome. Will this be an important, or just another incremental, upgrade?

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