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The Military

Air Force Grounds $400 Billion F-35s Because of 'Peeling and Crumbling' Insulation (washingtonpost.com) 192

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes the Washington Post: Less than two months after declaring the controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ready for combat, the Air Force on Friday announced that it was temporarily grounding 15 of the jets after it discovered that insulation was "peeling and crumbling" inside the fuel tanks. The setback is the latest for the $400 billion system, the most expensive in the history of the Pentagon. The problem comes as the program, which for years faced billions of dollars in cost overruns and significant schedule delays, had begun to make strides.

The insulation problem affects a total of 57 aircraft, the Air Force said, 42 of which are still in production... In a statement, Lockheed Martin said that "the issue is confined to one supplier source and one batch of parts." It emphasized that "this is not a technical or design issue; it is a supply chain manufacturing quality issue..." It is unclear how long the aircraft would be grounded, how long the problem would take to fix or what the larger affect on the program would be.

âoeWhile nearing completion, the F-35 is still in development, and challenges are to be expected," said an Air Force spokeswoman, adding "The F-35 program has a proven track record of solving issues as they arise, and we're confident we'll continue to do so."

Comment A Tax Expert Takes Tim Cook's EU Letter Apart (Score 2) 410

To get the other side of the argument I went to Matt Gardner, the director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (the research umbrella for Citizens for Tax Justice). The CTJ is nonpartisan and nonprofit, and it's funded by some of the same foundations that fund NPR. As it turns out, Gardner energetically disagrees with many of the statements in Cook's letter. Here are his responses to Cook's main points.

A Tax Expert Takes Tim Cook's EU Letter Apart Point By Point

PlayStation (Games)

PlayStation 3 Games Are Coming To PC (cnet.com) 125

PlayStation 3 games are coming to Windows. Sony said Tuesday that it is bringing its PlayStation Now game-streaming program to Windows PCs. The service broadcasts PlayStation 3 games over the internet similar to the way Netflix beams movies to devices like Roku. CNET reports: This fall, you'll be able to play previously exclusive games like Uncharted 3 and Shadow of the Colossus on a Windows laptop. The catch: you'll be playing those games over the internet with Sony's streaming game service, PlayStation Now. Think Netflix. PlayStation Now has already been around for a couple of years on the PS4, PS3, PS Vita handheld, plus a handful of Blu-ray players and smart TVs. For $20 a month or $45 for three, the service gives players unlimited access to a long list of over 400 PlayStation 3 games. Like Netflix or any other streaming service, the quality can vary wildly depending on your internet connection -- Sony requires a solid 5Mbps connection at all times, and that doesn't change today. What changes is the size of Sony's audience. With a Windows laptop or tablet, you aren't tethered to a big-screen TV. You could theoretically take these PlayStation games anywhere -- and wherever you go, your save games stream with you.
Microsoft

Microsoft Wants To Pay You To Use Its Windows 10 Browser Edge (theguardian.com) 256

An anonymous reader shares a report by The Guardian: Microsoft has a new browser. It launched with Windows 10 and it's called Edge. The company says it's faster, more battery efficient and all-round better than Chrome or Firefox. You can even draw on websites with a stylus. Trouble is, not very many people are using it. So now Microsoft's trying to bribe you to switch. The newly rebranded Microsoft Rewards -- formerly Bing Rewards, which paid people for using Bing as their search engine (another product Microsoft says is better than a Google product but that very few people actually use) -- will now pay you for using Edge, shopping at the Microsoft store, or using Bing. Users of Edge who sign up to Microsoft Rewards, which is currently US-only, are then awarded points simply for using the browser. Microsoft actively monitors whether you're using Edge for up to 30 hours a month. It tracks mouse movements and other signs that you're not trying to game the system, and you must also have Bing set as your default search engine. Points can then be traded in for vouchers or credit for places such as Starbucks, Skype, Amazon and ad-free Outlook.com -- remember, if you're not paying for something, you are the product.

Comment My first programming job (Score 4, Interesting) 68

In the mid-eighties, I worked as an apprentice at a place where they used LOGO (M.I.T. Experimental LOGO #43 or some other number) on a mini running TSX (or RT-11, can't remember) to do bookkeeping for about 30 small businesses.

This mini ran about 12 terminals in text-mode (of course) and we had a small complement of clerks entering data.

This LOGO also had NO turtle, although we had an Apple-II that I was given to take home that did have the turtle-graphics.

What this LOGO did have were the list and word operators, which we used to write accounting software that had specialized rounding, which was more precise than using something like C floats because you could calculate precision to any arbitrary limit by simply breaking numbers apart as words and calculating their digits to the decimal place of your choosing. By being strings, they were immune to typical numerical-storage problem.

Another thing I did with LOGO was have almost-constant epiphanies about recursion and abstraction. LOGO was designed to light fires in young minds and it certainly did for me.

Seymour Papert has thus been a hero of mine since then and I've always longed to someday thank him for his work. I offer up my thanks to his spirit. Everything I ever went on to write in software is owed to him.

Thank you again, Mr. Papert and may God rest your soul.

PS - Sadly, one of the partners embezzled the business, which folded and I never got to program in LOGO again professionally, which is a real shame because LOGO was simply wonderful

Microsoft

Microsoft Finally Releases New Skype App For Linux (skype.com) 164

Four months after Linux users complained about issues with Skype app -- an update in March apparently broke the instant message and video calling app -- Microsoft announced a few minutes ago the launch of the Alpha version of a new Skype app for Linux, a move that "reaffirms the company's commitment to the Linux community." The blog post adds that there will be a two-hour Q&A session todat at 7AM PDT between Linux users and engineering team to welcome the new app. The alpha version uses the "latest, fastest and most responsive Skype UI." The company also says that users on Skype for Linux 4.3.37 will no longer be able to use the app to make or receive any calls -- so you really need to use this new app. In the blog post, Microsoft also adds that anyone with a Chromebook and Chrome for Linux can now visit web.skype.com to make one-to-one and group voice calls on top of text messaging feature. It is also an alpha version of Skype -- and is built on top of WebRTC standard.

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