Windows

Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-that-early-adopters dept.
whoever57 writes: In its announcement of Windows 10, Microsoft indicated not all devices would get the updated operating system. Now, Microsoft says its Surface devices running Windows RT won't be receiving full updates, though it does plan to roll some new functionality into them. "Given that Windows RT and RT 8.1 were designed for power economizing devices sporting 32-bit ARM architecture, and never had the same functionality — to many users' frustration — as full-blown Windows 8 and 8.1, it comes as little surprise that the RT versions of the operating system should be left out of the latest update loop. In fact, a week before Microsoft's big Windows 10 reveal on January 21, the company released firmware updates for all three models of its Intel-powered Surface Pro series, but neither of the ARM-based Surface tablets — the Surface 2 or Surface RT — received any new updates this month." The Surface Pro line of tablets, which run a normal version of Windows, will be getting an update to Windows 10.
Windows

Microsoft Announces Office 2016 and Office For Windows 10 Coming Later This Year 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the coming-soon dept.
An anonymous reader writes At its Windows 10 event yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the touch-optimized version of Office. Today, the company offered more details about that version, and then snuck in another announcement: the next desktop version is under development, it is called Office 2016, and it will be generally available "in the second half of 2015." Office for Windows 10 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook), meanwhile, is also slated to arrive later this year, though Microsoft has shared more about it and plans to offer a preview in the coming weeks. These new Office apps will be pre-installed (they will be free) on smartphones and small tablets running Windows 10. They will also be available to download from the Windows Store for other devices.
Government

Russia Says Drivers Must Not Have "Sex Disorders" To Get License 412

Posted by samzenpus
from the right-to-drive dept.
mrspoonsi writes Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licenses. Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as "mental disorders" now barring people from driving. The government says it is tightening medical controls for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents. "Pathological" gambling and compulsive stealing are also on the list. Russian psychiatrists and human rights lawyers have condemned the move. The announcement follows international complaints about Russian harassment of gay-rights activists.
United States

Obama Proposes 2 Years of Free Community College 703

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-the-grade dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news about a White House proposal that would provide 2 years of free community college for good students."President Barack Obama announced a proposal Thursday to provide two years of free community college tuition to American students who maintain good grades. 'Put simply, what I'd like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everyone who's willing to work for it,' Obama said in a video filmed Wednesday aboard Air Force One and posted to Facebook. He made the announcement as part of his pre-State of the Union tour and will formally lay out the proposal Friday in a speech in Tennessee. The White House estimated it would save the average community college student $3,800 annually and said it could benefit nine million if fully realized."
Open Source

Fluxbox 1.3.6 Released 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: After nearly two years since the previous release, the Fluxbox team has released version 1.3.6 to start off the new year. Like most Linux geeks already know, Fluxbox is the long-standing X window manager derived from Blackbox. The new version (announcement) puts emphasis on quality assurance and takes care of fixing a bunch of critical bugs: clocktool problems, rendering long text, race condition on shutdown, lost keypresses after workspace switch, corruption of fbrun-history, and resize and move problems. The two new features are an ArrangeWindowsStack action and treating Windows with a WM_CLASS as DockApp as DockApps. Translations for Bulgarian, Hebrew and Japanese also got updates. The Fluxbox project sends many thanks to all the contributors.
Transportation

Toyota Opens Patents On Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-you-go dept.
An anonymous reader writes that Toyota will share almost 6,000 hydrogen fuel cell patents. "Hoping to speed development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, Toyota said Monday that it would offer thousands of patents on related technologies to rival automakers, for free. The announcement, made at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, echoes a similar move by electric car maker Tesla in 2014, when Chief Executive Elon Musk made Tesla patents available to all, hoping to spur innovation in the electric vehicle world (and, perhaps, to draw publicity.) Toyota has similar goals for the fuel-cell car market. 'At Toyota, we believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen,' Bob Carter, senior vice president at Toyota, said before the announcement. 'The first generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical, requiring a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration.'"
Moon

Private Russian Company Proposes Lunar Base 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-to-the-neighborhood dept.
MarkWhittington writes According to an article in Sputnik, a private Russian company called Lin Industrial has announced that it is capable of building a lunar base. However, according to information contained to a recent post in Parabolic Arc, this announcement may be more the result of idle boasting than an objective assessment of actual ability. Nevertheless, Lin seems to be one of the few entrepreneurial startups in Russia in the style of much more robust enterprises in the West such as SpaceX and Blue Origin.
Android

Nokia's Back In the Tablet Business, With the Android Lollipop-Based N1 60

Posted by timothy
from the serious-side-talkin' dept.
Esra Erimez writes It's been a little over a year since the announcement of Microsoft Corp.'s acquisition of Finnish tech veteran Nokia Oyj.'s Devices unit. A year later Chinese leaks site SINA Tech says Nokia is back and ready to compete against its former unit, suggesting it will launch in China on Jan. 7. As one commenter on the Daily Tech story points out (as does this ExtremeTech article from last month), the not-yet-launched N1, with its "one piece aluminum body, 7.9", 2048*1536, [and] 3:4 aspect ratio" looks an awful lot like the iPad mini, but costs quite a bit less.
Upgrades

Samsung Announces Production of 20nm Mobile LPDDR4, Faster Than Desktop DDR4 42

Posted by timothy
from the leapfrog-is-fun dept.
MojoKid writes Samsung announced today that it has begun volume production of its 8Gb LPDDR4 memory chips, with expected commercial shipments in 2015. The announcement is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, one of the most important characteristics of a modern mobile device is its battery life, and moving to a new memory standard should significantly reduce the memory subsystem's power consumption. Second, however, there's the clock speed. Samsung is claiming that its LPDDR4 will hit 3.2GHz, and while bus widths on mobile parts are significantly smaller than the 64-bit channels that desktops use, the higher clock speed per chip will help close that gap. In fact, multiple vendors have predicted that LPDDR4 clock speeds will actually outpace standard DDR4, with a higher amount of total bandwidth potentially delivered to tablets and smartphones than conventional PCs will see. In addition, the power savings are expected to be substantial.
Security

Hackers Compromise ICANN, Access Zone File Data System 110

Posted by timothy
from the that-should-be-a-boss-level dept.
Trailrunner7 writes with this news from ThreatPost: Unknown hackers were able to compromise vital systems belonging to ICANN, the organization that manages the global top-level domain system, and had access to the system that manages the files with data on resolving specific domain names. The attack apparently took place in November and ICANN officials discovered it earlier this month. The intrusion started with a spear phishing campaign that targeted ICANN staffers and the email credentials of several staff members were compromised. The attackers then were able to gain access to the Centralized Zone Data System, the system that allows people to manage zone files. The zone files contain quite bit of valuable information, including domain names, the name server names associated with those domains and the IP addresses for the name servers. ICANN officials said they are notifying any users whose zone data might have been compromised." (Here's ICANN's public note on the compromise.)
Google

Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain 191

Posted by timothy
from the what's-english-for-bully? dept.
English-language site The Spain Report reports that Google's response to mandated payments for linking to and excerpting from Spanish news media sources — namely, shutting down Google News in Spain — doesn't sit well with Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association, which issued a statement [Thursday] night saying that Google News was "not just the closure of another service given its dominant market position," recognising that Google's decision "will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses. Given the dominant position of Google (which in Spain controls almost all of the searches in the market and is an authentic gateway to the Internet), AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies." Irene Lanzaco, a spokeswoman for AEDE, told The Spain Report by telephone that "we're not asking Google to take a step backwards, we've always been open to negotiations with Google" but, she said: "Google has not taken a neutral stance. Of course they are free to close their business, but one thing is the closure of Google News and quite another the positioning in the general index." Asked if the newspaper publishers' association had received any complaints from its members since Wednesday's announcement by Google, Mrs. Lanzaco refused to specify, but said: "Spanish publishers talk to AEDE constantly."
Google

Google Earth API Will Be Retired On December 12, 2015 75

Posted by timothy
from the so-be-on-that-bus-to-mars dept.
An anonymous reader writes Google [on Friday] announced it plans to retire the Google Earth API on December 12, 2015. The reason is simple: Both Chrome and Firefox are removing support for Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) plugins due to security reasons, so the API's death was inevitable. The timing makes sense. Last month, Google updated its plan for killing off NPAPI support in Chrome, saying that it would block all plugins by default in January and drop support completely in September. The company also revealed that the Google Earth plugin had dropped in usage from 9.1 percent of Chrome users in October 2013 to 0.1 percent in October 2014. Add dwindling cross-platform support (particularly on mobile devices), and we're frankly surprised the announcement didn't come sooner.
Space

The Moment of Truth For BICEP2 52

Posted by Soulskill
from the drumroll-please dept.
StartsWithABang writes: Earlier this year, the BICEP2 team shook up the world by announcing the discovery of primordial gravitational waves: a signal from the earliest stages of the Universe, going all the way back to before the Big Bang! By looking at the photon polarization data, they claimed to have surpassed the gold "5 Sigma" standard for announcing a discovery in physics. But recently, that's been walked back, as there could have been a systematic error at play: simple emission from our own Milky Way. Later this month, the Planck team will release their results, and either confirm or refute BICEP2. Here's where we stand on the eve of that announcement.
Earth

Harvard Scientists Say It's Time To Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate 367

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-ask-kim-stanley-robinson-what-to-do dept.
merbs writes: Harvard has long been home to one of the fiercest advocates for climate engineering. This week, Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences published a research announcement headlined "Adjusting Earth's Thermostat, With Caution." That might read as oxymoronic — intentionally altering the planet's climate has rarely been considered a cautious enterprise — but it fairly accurately reflects the thrust of several new studies published by the Royal Society, all focused on exploring the controversial field of geoengineering.
Transportation

Martin Jetpack Closer To Takeoff In First Responder Applications 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the when-you-have-to-get-there-in-a-hurry dept.
Zothecula writes Last year's redesign of the long-awaited Martin Jetpack was accompanied by plans to begin commercial sales in 2014, starting with emergency response services and individual sales to follow thereafter. The release date for the first responder Jetpack has since been revised to 2016, a prediction bolstered by the fresh announcement of a partnership between Martin Aircraft Company and US company Avwatch to develop air-based, first responder solutions for the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense.
Google

Google Wallet API For Digital Goods Will Be Retired On March 2, 2015 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-the-line dept.
An anonymous reader points out that Google plans to shut down Google Wallet API for third-party digital purchases. "Google has quietly revealed it plans to retire the Google Wallet API for digital goods on March 2, 2015. The company plans to continue supporting the sale of apps on Google Play as well as in-app payments, but users will not be able to purchase any virtual items offered on the Web through Google Wallet. We say "quietly" because there is no official announcement from Google. Furthermore, Google says it has no plans to proactively communicate the change to Google Wallet users; buyers will simply get 404 errors when trying to check out after support is pulled."
Google

Google's Lease of NASA Airfield Criticized By Consumer Group 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-sir-I-don't-like-it dept.
Spy Handler writes Yesterday's announcement that Google will lease Moffett Field from NASA for 60 years drew criticism from a group called Consumer Watchdog, which stated "This is like giving the keys to your car to the guy who has been siphoning gas from your tank. It is unfairly rewarding unethical and wrongful behavior. These Google guys seem to think they can do whatever they want and get away with it – and, sadly, it looks like that is true.”
Earth

U.S. and China Make Landmark Climate Deal 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-scratch-our-back-and-i'll-scratch-ours dept.
An anonymous reader writes: After extended talks on the issue of climate change, the U.S. and China have reached a landmark accord to curb emissions in the near future. The two countries are the top carbon polluters, so their actions are likely to have a major effect on world pollution levels and also set the standard for other countries. The agreement includes China's first-ever commitment to stop the growth of its emissions by 2030. They plan on shifting a big chunk of their energy production to renewables in that time. The U.S. agreed to emit 26-28% less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. Their efforts could spur greater enthusiasm for a new global climate agreement in 2015. Reader jones_supa adds details of another interesting part of the U.S.-China talks: Technology products look likely to gain more access to international markets as a result of upgrade between the U.S. and China on a 1996 tariff-eliminating trade agreement that President Obama announced Tuesday in Beijing. The agreement is expected to lower prices on a raft of new technology products by eliminating border tariffs — a price impact that's expected to be larger outside the United States, since U.S. tariffs on high-tech goods are generally lower than those overseas. "This is a win-win-win agreement for information and communication technology industries in the U.S., Europe, Japan and China, for businesses and consumers who purchase IT products and for the global economy."
Technology

Amazon's Echo Chamber 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-build-a-robot-that-will-help-people-buy-things dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The announcement this Thursday of another dubious piece of hardware from Amazon led Dustin Curtis to write an article critical of Amazon's hardware strategy, saying the company just doesn't understand what makes a device good or bad. Curtis says, "With Amazon.com, it can heavily and successfully promote and sell its products, giving it false indicators of success. It's an echo chamber. They make a product, they market the product on Amazon.com, they sell the product to Amazon.com customers, they get a false sense of success, the customer puts the product in a drawer and never uses it, and then Amazon moves on to the next product. Finally, with the Fire Phone, customers have been pushing back.

The media strategy that seems to be driving Jeff Bezos to make mobile consumption devices (with Amazon's media stores and Prime video/music) is flawed. No one makes money selling media for consumption anymore. That market is quickly and brutally dying. The media market is now so efficient that all profit is completely sucked out of the equation by the time you get to the consumption delivery system, to the point that it is barely possible to break even."
Operating Systems

Fedora 21 Beta Released 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Fedora Project has been critical to the development Red Hat Enterprise Linux — RHEL version 7 was largely based off Fedora version 19. Fedora is continuing to evolve with the announcement of Fedora 21 Beta, now available from the Fedora Project website. To make the release ready for Beta testing required addressing 50 beta blocker bugs. If the Fedora Project developers are able to keep up with the final release blocker bugs, then Fedora 21 is expected to be released on December 9th. As a result, support for Fedora 19 is expected to end around the beginning of 2015. Released back in July 2013, Fedora 19 will have been supported for over 540 days by 2015. Previously, the longest a Fedora release was supported was Fedora Core 5 at 469 days. Users of Fedora 19 will be encouraged to upgrade to Fedora 20 or 21 to continue to get critical updates.