techcrunch.com reports Windows 10 Technical Preview will be available for download today and the full OS will be available mid-2015. Meanwhile, The Verge has a video of desktop/tablet mode transitions that seem to make the new version of Microsoft's OS quite a bit less annoying than Windows 8 has been for users.
Cnet along with every other tech site are reporting that Microsoft is skipping Windows 9, officially announcing the next major version will be called Windows 10.
Originally codenamed Windows Threshold, the new operating system essentially does away with the tiled "Metro" user interface that Microsoft had attempted to implement across its entire device line, from desktop PCs to Surface tablets and Widows Phone devices. It is such a substantial leap, according to Microsoft's executive VP of operating systems, Terry Myerson, that the company decided it would be best to skip over Windows 9, the widely expected name for the next version.
While early reviews of pre-release candidates did have some pleasant surprises; the major changes seems to be a far more intelligent handling of tablets which have keyboards and mice that can come and go, be folded out of the way, and the OS switches seamlessly from a desktop oriented user interface to a touch oriented one. The Verge has an extensive writeup and a video of this in action.
Some may criticize the name change as desperation, others will simply announce "too little too late". Others trot out allegedly year old April Fools Joke stories that (if not totally tongue in cheek) predicted this name change on April fools day in 2013.
The changes shown seem to address the big issues in the interface previously known as Metro, in a rather well integrated way.
So what say Soylentils: Is this enough? Has Microsoft actually listening to the complaints since Windows 8 was first released? Has their self inflicted gunshot wound to the foot healed? Will this re-start the corporate customers on delayed upgrades? Or will they hold out for 11?
Or, is the best you have to say about it "too little too late"?
Pennsylvania authorities suspect that two men accused of stealing mobile phones were monitoring law enforcement. Local media reported Tuesday that when they were arrested last month, one of the two suspects was carrying a camera-equipped drone that police saw flying over the Upper Saucon Township's police headquarters the day before the arrests.
The accused are Duane Holmes, 44, of North Bergen, and Chaviv Dykes, 20, of Newark. Police said they had $50,000 in mobile phones allegedly stolen from a Verizon Wireless store and other outlets that NJ.com said were lifted "during a string of smash-and-grab burglaries."
raganwald.com has some interesting thoughts on the time it takes to be productive in different programming language (and programming language types), as well as what it means to be productive, in a an essay title "600 Months". It starts with this thought-provoking statement:
“I have personally found that LISP is unbelievably productive if you’re willing to invest in the 600-month learning curve.”-Paul Ford
That's 50 years - nearly the entire history of LISP as a language, and far more time than most of us have available for learning a new language.
What languages took you the longest to feel "fluent" in? What language concepts do you still have trouble grasping?
David P. Barash, an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington, writes in the NYT that every year he gives his students The Talk, not as you might expect, about sex, but about evolution and religion. According to Barash many students worry about reconciling their beliefs with evolutionary science and just as many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science, a substantial minority of his students are troubled to discover that their beliefs conflict with the course material. "There are a couple of ways to talk about evolution and religion," says Barash. "The least controversial is to suggest that they are in fact compatible." Stephen Jay Gould called them "nonoverlapping magisteria," noma for short, with the former concerned with facts and the latter with values." But Barash says magisteria are not nearly as nonoverlapping as some of them might wish. "As evolutionary science has progressed, the available space for religious faith has narrowed: It has demolished two previously potent pillars of religious faith and undermined belief in an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God."
The twofold demolition begins by defeating what modern creationists call the argument from complexity - that just as the existence of a complex structure like a watch demands the existence of a watchmaker, the existence of complex organisms requires a supernatural creator. "Since Darwin, however, we have come to understand that an entirely natural and undirected process, namely random variation plus natural selection, contains all that is needed to generate extraordinary levels of non-randomness. Living things are indeed wonderfully complex, but altogether within the range of a statistically powerful, entirely mechanical phenomenon." Next to go is the illusion of centrality. "The most potent take-home message of evolution is the not-so-simple fact that, even though species are identifiable (just as individuals generally are), there is an underlying linkage among them — literally and phylogenetically, via traceable historical connectedness. Moreover, no literally supernatural trait has ever been found in Homo sapiens; we are perfectly good animals, natural as can be and indistinguishable from the rest of the living world at the level of structure as well as physiological mechanism." Finally there is a third consequence of evolutionary insights: a powerful critique of theodicy, the effort to reconcile belief in an omnipresent, omni-benevolent God with the fact of unmerited suffering. "But just a smidgen of biological insight makes it clear that, although the natural world can be marvelous, it is also filled with ethical horrors: predation, parasitism, fratricide, infanticide, disease, pain, old age and death — and that suffering (like joy) is built into the nature of things. The more we know of evolution, the more unavoidable is the conclusion that living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator."
Barash concludes The Talk by saying that, although they don’t have to discard their religion in order to inform themselves about biology (or even to pass his course), if they insist on retaining and respecting both, they will have to undertake some challenging mental gymnastic routines. "And while I respect their beliefs, the entire point of The Talk is to make clear that, at least for this biologist, it is no longer acceptable for science to be the one doing those routines."
EBay said on Tuesday that it would spin off its PayPal payments unit into a separate publicly traded company, taking a step the activist hedge fund magnate Carl C. Icahn first demanded nine months ago.
The move will cleave eBay almost in half, separating it from the payments processor it acquired 12 years ago and built into a giant that generates almost half of the company’s revenue.
The spinoff is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015.
The Intercept reports:
A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.
“I’m working on a story about congressional oversight of drone strikes that can present a good opportunity for you guys,” Dilanian wrote in one email to a CIA press officer, explaining that what he intended to report would be “reassuring to the public” about CIA drone strikes.
[...] The emails also show that Dilanian shared his work with the CIA before it was published, and invited the agency to request changes. On Friday April 27, 2012, he emailed the press office a draft story that he and a colleague, David Cloud, were preparing. The subject line was “this is where we are headed,” and he asked if “you guys want to push back on any of this.”
It appears the agency did push back. On May 2, 2012, he emailed the CIA a new opening to the story with a subject line that asked, “does this look better?”
From Aeon Magazine:
Musk did not give me the usual reasons. He did not claim that we need space to inspire people. He did not sell space as an R & D lab, a font for spin-off technologies like astronaut food and wilderness blankets. He did not say that space is the ultimate testing ground for the human intellect. Instead, he said that going to Mars is as urgent and crucial as lifting billions out of poverty, or eradicating deadly disease.
‘I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary,’ he told me, ‘in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen, in which case being poor or having a disease would be irrelevant, because humanity would be extinct. It would be like, “Good news, the problems of poverty and disease have been solved, but the bad news is there aren’t any humans left.”’
Would SN Members like to predict the outcome of upcoming events?
In the Microsoft Prediction Lab you can make predictions about upcoming events and view the combined predictions of the crowd. The Microsoft Prediction Lab team is excited to push the boundaries of forecasting technology, including how to ask questions (data collection), how to keep billions of related likelihoods consistent (data analytics), and how to convey complex quantitative information usefully (data visualization).
On monday morning at 9:00am, lawyers from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will ask a judge in a Kansas City federal courtroom to impose a preliminary injunction on Butterfly Labs (BFL), the embattled Bitcoin miner manufacturer. This would extend the temporary restraining order set down earlier this month, leaving the company controlled by a court-appointed receiver.
The FTC believes the three named members of the company’s board of directors—Jody Drake (aka Darla Drake), Nasser Ghoseiri, and Sonny Vleisides—spent millions of dollars of corporate revenue on non-corporate expenses like saunas and guns, while leaving many customer orders either wholly unfulfilled or significantly delayed.
In a slew of new court documents filed Saturday, FTC lawyers allege for the first time that not only did BFL engage in deceptive practices, it specifically used customer-ordered machines to mine its own bitcoins before shipping the machines out. (BFL has specifically denied mining for its own benefit.) The FTC also claims that BFL had its employees mine for personal gain using machines that had been refused by their purchasers or that had been returned after having arrived too late to be worthwhile.
The head of a Pakistani company which created an app called StealthGenie allowing users to spy on other people's mobile devices was indicted on US criminal charges, officials said Monday.
The Justice Department said the indictment of Hammad Akbar, 31, of Lahore, Pakistan, is the first-ever criminal case concerning the advertisement and sale of a mobile device spyware app.
Akbar is chief executive of InvoCode Pvt Ltd, which advertises and sells StealthGenie online and which uses a data center based in Virginia.
The app enables the monitoring of voice calls and chats on mobile devices such as the Apple iPhone and Android handsets.
According to officials the business plan of the group was to market the app to people who suspected cheating by a spouse or partner.
Steve Ballmer is bringing his same manic intensity to his new role as owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, which he once delivered as CEO of Microsoft. He's leading the team by example, leaving no stone unturned as he focuses on dominating the enemy.
That enemy is Apple.
Ballmer also told reporters he plans to revamp the 'fan experience', but seems to be keeping the details of his plans under wraps; for example, there was no mention of upgrading the Jumbotron in Staples Center to run Windows.
Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 as employee number 30, and was CEO from 2000 until February 2014, when he resigned under pressure from the board. He bought the Clippers for $2 billion in May, in a sale orchestrated by the wife of disgraced owner Donald Sterling. Ballmer resigned from the Microsoft board shortly thereafter, but is still the company's largest individual shareholder.
Several major tech firms are in talks with Tor to include the software in products that can potentially reach over 500 million Internet users around the world. One particular firm wants to include Tor as a “private browsing mode” in a mainstream Web browser, allowing users to easily toggle connectivity to the Tor anonymity network on and off.
“They very much like Tor Browser and would like to ship it to their customer base,” Tor executive director Andrew Lewman wrote, explaining the discussions but declining to name the specific company. “Their product is 10-20 percent of the global market, this is of roughly 2.8 billion global Internet users.”
The author elaborates:
The product that best fits Lewman’s description by our estimation is Mozilla Firefox, the third-most popular Web browser online today and home to, you guessed it, 10 to 20 percent of global Internet users.
The story appears to have gleaned most of its information from a tor-dev mailing list post. An interesting reply from Tor developer Mike Perry explains how Tor can be modified so that the network can handle the extra load.
It’s time to face the naked truth. According to the New York Daily News the latest celebrity phone hacking scandal hasn't stopped or even slowed people down from taking naked selfies. In fact the McAfee security company’s 2014 Love, Relationships & Technology survey reveals that 54% of their respondents regularly send or receive intimate photos, videos, texts and emails, and that number spikes to 70% when it comes to those aged 18 to 24. "I can only think of two people my age who haven't done it. It becomes like a sort of weird correspondence. If I snapchat someone a pic, they would send one back," says Julia, a 22-year-old English student, "It's sort of like a flirty thing, you meet a boy on a night out, you'd snapchat him a picture instead of texting him."
“If you’re taking selfies on a regular basis, that is going to get boring,” says John Suler, a member of the editorial board for the journal, Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. “So it becomes more risque, and that eventually leads to nude photos.” The desire to capture the naked body and share it with others is nothing new. “Every new medium that comes along, from cave paintings onward, no sooner does the medium get invented then people start using it for nudes,” says Robert Thompson, a pop-culture historian at Syracuse University. “We’ve found very explicit nude paintings on the walls of Pompeii.” While abstaining from taking nudies altogether is the only way to guarantee they won’t leak, it’s not a realistic approach for many. It’s more practical to password protect your phone and photo storage, doublecheck the recipient before hitting “send,” and to only sext someone you trust completely. “We have decided that the things we like to do online are things we like so much that we’re willing to take the risk,” says Thompson. “I know my credit card is not totally secure anywhere online... but I am willing to take that chance because I want to be able to order things online.”
Several Britons agreed to give up their eldest child in return for the use of free wifi, in an experiment to highlight the dangers of public Internet, published on Monday.
Londoners were asked to agree to terms and conditions as they logged on to use free wifi in a cafe in a busy financial district and at a site close to the houses of parliament.
The terms included a "Herod clause", under which the wifi was provided only if "the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity."
Only six people agreed to the terms and conditions, however:
In just 30 minutes, 250 devices connected to the hotspot -- some of them doing so automatically due to their settings.
The company was able to collect the text of emails they sent, the email addresses of the sender and recipient, and the password of the sender.
Gizmodo reports on the use of mesh network by the Hong Kong protesters:
Tens of thousands of protestors are gathering in Hong Kong's financial district to protest changes to election policy that would let a mainland Chinese committee vet the city's political candidates, and many use their phones to organize.
College students spearheaded the initial meetup, and this protest is appropriately tech-savvy. In addition to mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Hong Kong's activists are using iOS and Android app FireChat.
FireChat's parent company Open Garden reports 100,000 new users from Hong Kong within 22 hours, and 33,000 users on the app at once.
[...] FireChat helps people create what are known as "mesh networks." These connections go between devices, using a phone's hardware to link people in a daisy chain. Right now, FireChat can connect devices up to 200 feet apart. The geographic limit means the app is really only useful in crowds...
[...] Mesh networks are an especially resilient tool because there's no easy way for a government to shut them down. They can't just block cell reception or a site address. Destroying one part won't kill it unless you destroy each point of access; someone would have to turn off Bluetooth on every phone using FireChat to completely break the connection.