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Open Source

Dropbox Open Sources New Lossless Middle-Out Image Compression Algorithm (dropbox.com) 135

Dropbox announced on Thursday that it is releasing its image compression algorithm dubbed Lepton under an Apache open-source license on GitHub. Lepton, the company writes, can both compress and decompress files, and for the latter, it can work while streaming. Lepton offers a 22% savings reductions for existing JPEG images, and preserves the original file bit-for-bit perfectly. It compresses JPEG files at a rate of 5MB/s and decodes them back to the original bit at 15MB/s. The company says it has used Lepton to encode 16 billion images saved to Dropbox, and continues to utilize the technology to recode its older images. You can find more technical details here.
Ubuntu

Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment can run in Windows (wordpress.com) 170

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "This is one of the coolest tickets I've seen on GitHub," writes Ubuntu developer Adolfo Jayme Barrientos, adding "this kind of surreal compatibility between platforms is now enabled...the fact that you can execute and use Linux window managers there, without virtual machines, is simply mind-blowing."

"The Windows 10 Anniversary Update coming in August includes an unusual feature aimed at developers: an Ubuntu sub-system that lets you run Linux software using a command-line interface," explains Liliputing.com "Preview versions have been available since April, and while Microsoft and Canonical worked together to bring support for the Bash terminal to Windows 10, it didn't take long for some users to figure out that they could get some desktop Linux apps to run in Windows. Now it looks like you can even load Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment, making windows 10 look like Ubuntu.

AI

California Researchers Build The World's First 1,000-Processor Chip (ucdavis.edu) 205

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the University of California, Davis about the world's first microchip with 1,000 independent programmable processors: The 1,000 processors can execute 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating only 0.7 Watts, low enough to be powered by a single AA battery...more than 100 times more efficiently than a modern laptop processor... The energy-efficient "KiloCore" chip has a maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second and contains 621 million transistors.
Programs get split across many processors (each running independently as needed with an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 gigahertz), "and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data." Imagine how many mind-boggling things will become possible if this much processing power ultimately finds its way into new consumer technologies.

Submission + - 31 Ways to Know Your Project is Doomed

Esther Schindler writes: We've all been there: The project went horribly wrong. Nobody was happy with the application or product (if it ever did ship). And you're ashamed to let anyone know you had anything to do with it. Especially since, with hindsight, you realize that the Signs Of Doom were there all along, and you missed them. When THIS happened, you should have known....!

This article shares 31 project danger signs you should recognize, so you can decide if it's possible to fix them or bail. But oh, we can be so certain that there are plenty more to add...!

Submission + - Don't be fooled by Opera browser claim of 150% battery life (computerworld.com)

richi writes: The Opera Web browser has a new 'power-saving' feature. Opera claims you can get 'up to' 50% more battery life — but is that likely? Uh, NO!

Yes, the actual software tweaks will make a difference, but the tests Opera's quoting are skewed, unscientific, and compare apples to oranges. But what do you expect from a company that's trying to get bought by a Chinese consortium for more than $1.2 billion?

Comment This isn't a victory for Behring-Breivik. (Score 3, Insightful) 491

Someone once pointed out that hoping a rapist gets raped in prison isn't a victory for his victim(s), because it somehow gives him what he had coming to him, but it's actually a victory for rape and violence. I wish I could remember who said that, because they are right. The score doesn't go Rapist: 1 World: 1. It goes Rape: 2.

What this man did is unspeakable, and he absolutely deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. If he needs to be kept away from other prisoners as a safety issue, there are ways to do that without keeping him in solitary confinement, which has been shown conclusively to be profoundly cruel and harmful.

Putting him in solitary confinement, as a punitive measure, is not a victory for the good people in the world. It's a victory for inhumane treatment of human beings. This ruling is, in my opinion, very good and very strong for human rights, *precisely* because it was brought by such a despicable and horrible person. It affirms that all of us have basic human rights, even the absolute worst of us on this planet.

Open Source

Infographic: Ubuntu Linux Is Everywhere 185

prisoninmate writes: To celebrate the launch of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, due for release later this month, on April 21, Canonical put together an interesting infographic, showing the world how popular Ubuntu is. From the infographic, it looks like there are over 60 million Ubuntu images launched by Docker users, 14 million Vagrant images of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS from HashiCorp, 20 million launches of Ubuntu instances during 2015 in public and private clouds, as well as bare metal, and 2 million new Ubuntu Cloud instances launched in November 2015. Ubuntu is used on the International Space Station, on the servers of popular online services like Netflix, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, Dropbox, PayPal, Wikipedia, and Instagram, in Google, Tesla, George Hotz, and Uber cars. It is also employed at Bloomberg, Weta Digital and Walmart, at the Brigham Young University to control the Mars Rover, and it is even behind the largest supercomputer in the world.
Privacy

There Are Some Super Shady Things In Oculus Rift's Terms of Service (gizmodo.com) 186

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: While the [Oculus Rift] is cool, like any interesting gadget, it's worth looking through the Terms of Service, because there are some worrisome things included. Quite a few of the items in the document are pretty typical in any sort of Terms of Service agreement. These include details like waiving your right to a juried trial and agreeing to go into arbitration instead. Oculus can also terminate your service for myriad reasons, and third parties can collect information on you. However, there are some even more devilish details in the Rift's full Terms of Service. If you create something with the Rift, the Terms of Service say that you surrender all rights to that work and that Oculus can use it whenever it wants, for whatever purposes. Basically, if you create something using the device, Oculus can't own it, but the company can use it -- and they don't have to pay you for for using it. Oculus can use it even if you don't agree with its use. Oculus can collect data from you while you're using the device. Furthermore, the information that they collect can be used to directly market products to you. As UploadVR noted, the Oculus Rift is a device that is always on (much like Microsoft's Xbox One Kinect feature) which leads to further concerns about when the information will be collected.

Comment Re:WTH is this? (Score 1) 28

2 30-second preroll ads? Barf. I've always considered 15 seconds -- or "skip ad after 5 seconds" -- the maximum that should be inflicted on readers/viewers. I'll check with our ad and tech people, see what's happening. I know a lot of publishers consider 30 seconds okay, but 2X30 seconds? Not good, but obviously not under the control of anyone who actually works on the site. Sigh.

GUI

Video Pet Wearables? But Seriously, Folks... (Video) 28

It sounds like a joke at first, but Risto Lähdesmäki, CEO of user interface design firm Idean (corporate motto: Life is too short for crappy UX), pointed us at DogTelligent and several other companies that are making pet wearables that seem to have real, practical uses. But Risto and his design crew work primarily on wearables and interface design for humans, and since their client list ranges from Sony and Samsung to Volkswagen and Rolls Royce, Risto is in a great position to spot future trends in the (maybe too) hot wearables market.

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