One Year Since Assange Took Refuge in Ecuadorian Embassy
Daniel_Stuckey writes with an article marking the one year anniversary of Julian Assange
seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. From the article:
"Uninterested in facing U.S. justice, Assange said he's prepared to spend five years living there. If he goes out for a walk, he'll be extradited to Sweden to answer rape accusations —after which he has no promise from Sweden to deny further extradition efforts to America, where a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks awaits. This also means that London's Metropolitan Police have been devoting their resources to keeping tabs on Assange for a year. Yesterday, a spokesperson explained the updated costs of guarding the embassy over the phone: 'From July 2012 through May 2013, the full cost has been £3.8 million ($5,963,340),' he said. '£700,000 ($1,099,560) of which are additional, or overtime costs.' Julian has a treadmill, a SAD lamp, and a connection to the Internet, through which he's been publishing small leaks and conducting interviews. The indoor lifestyle has taken its toll on Julian, and it led to his contracting a chronic lung condition last fall."
Subversion 1.8 Released But Will You Still Use Git?
"Remember back in the day when we all used CVS? Then we moved to SVN (subversion) but in the last three yrs or so everyone and their brother seems to have moved to Git, right? Well truth is Subversion is still going strong and just released version 1.8. While Git is still faster for some things, Greg Stein, the former chair of the Apache Software Foundation, figures SVN is better than Git at lots of things. From the article: '"With Subversion, you can have a 1T repository and check out just a small portion of it, The developers don't need full copies," Stein explained. "Git shops typically have many, smaller repositories, while svn shops typically have a single repository, which eases administration, backup, etc."'" Major new features of 1.8 include switching to a new metadata storage engine by default instead of using Berkeley DB, first-class renames (instead of the CVS-era holdover of deleting and recreating with a new name) which will make merges involving renamed files saner, and a slightly simplified branch merging interface.
Google Patents Image-Capturing Walking Sticks
"GeekWire reports that Google has patented an image-capturing walking stick, which can boldly go where no Google Street View Car can. The walking stick has embedded cameras and location sensors, and a switch at the bottom that causes the device to snap pictures whenever the stick hits the ground. The patent also covers using canes and crutches in a similar fashion."
PDP-11 Still Working In Nuclear Plants - For 37 More Years
Taco Cowboy writes
"Most of the younger /. readers never heard of the PDP-11, while we geezers have to retrieve bits and pieces of our affairs with PDP-11 from the vast warehouse inside our memory lanes." From the article: "HP might have nuked OpenVMS, but its parent, PDP-11, is still spry and
powering GE nuclear power-plant robots and will do for another 37 years. That's right: PDP-11 assembler programmers are hard to find, but the nuclear industry is
planning on keeping them until 2050 — long enough for a couple of generations of programmers to come and go." Not sure about the OpenVMS vs PDP comparison, but it's still amusing that a PDP might outlast all of the
Lobster, a New Game Programming Language, Now Available As Open Source
"Lobster is a new programming language targeting game programming specifically, building on top of OpenGL, SDL 2 and FreeType. The language looks superficially similar to Python, but is its own blend of fun features. It's open source (ZLIB license) and available on GitHub."
Google's Crazy Lack of Focus: Is It Really Serious About Enterprise?
"Driverless cars. Balloon-based wireless networks. Face-mounted computers. Gigabit broadband networks. In recent months, Google has been unveiling a series of transformative side projects that paint a picture of the search pioneer expanding far beyond an online advertising company. At the same time, Google has been trying to convince enterprise software buyers that it's finally, really, truly serious about competing with Microsoft for their business. Which version of Google's future should you believe?"
Cat-like Robot Runs Like the Wind
"Researchers at the Biorob lab at Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), have announced a cat-like robot that is claimed to be the fastest quadruped robot under 30 kilograms. The Cheetah-cub Robot, which runs real-time Xenomai Linux on an x86-based RoBoard robot control board, mimics the biomechanics of a cat to increase the speed and stability of it quadroped legs, helping it achieve speeds of 1.42m/s. The goal of the still-early-stage project is to encourage research in biomechanics, with an aim toward building faster robots for search and rescue, or ground exploration. More info is available on EPFL's Cheetah page."
An anonymous reader writes
"A German computer scientist is taking a fresh look at the 46-year old Amdahl's law, which took a first look at limitations in parallel computing with respect to serial computing. The fresh look considers software development models as a way to overcome parallel computing limitations. 'DEEP keeps the code parts of a simulation that can only be parallelized up to a concurrency of p = L on a Cluster Computer equipped with fast general purpose processors. The highly parallelizable parts of the simulation are run on a massively parallel Booster-system with a concurrency of p = H, H >> L. The booster is equipped with many-core Xeon Phi processors and connected by a 3D-torus network of sub-microsecond latency based on EXTOLL technology. The DEEP system software allows to dynamically distribute the tasks to the most appropriate parts of the hardware in order to achieve highest computational efficiency.' Amdahl's law has been revisited many times, most notably by John Gustafson."
Altering Text In eBooks To Track Pirates
"According to Wired, 'German researchers have created a new DRM feature that changes the text and punctuation of an e-book ever so slightly. Called SiDiM, which Google translates to 'secure documents by individual marking,' the changes are unique to each e-book sold. These alterations serve as a digital watermark that can be used to track books that have had any other DRM layers stripped out of them before being shared online. The researchers are hoping the new DRM feature will curb digital piracy by simply making consumers paranoid that they'll be caught if they share an e-book illicitly.' I seem to recall reading about this in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games, when Jack Ryan used this technique to identify someone who was leaking secret documents. It would be so very difficult for someone to write a little program that, when stripping the DRM, randomized a couple of pieces of punctuation to break the hash that the vendor is storing along with the sales record of the individual book."
NVIDIA To License Its GPU Tech
An anonymous reader writes
"Today in a blog post, NVIDIA's General Counsel, David Shannon, announced that the company will begin licensing its GPU cores and patent portfolio to device makers. '[I]t's not practical to build silicon or systems to address every part of the expanding market. Adopting a new business approach will allow us to address the universe of devices.' He cites the 'explosion of Android devices' as one of the prime reasons for this decision. 'This opportunity simply didn't exist several years ago because there was really just one computing device – the PC. But the swirling universe of new computing devices provides new opportunities to license our GPU core or visual computing portfolio.' Shannon points out that NVIDIA did something similar with the CPU core used in the PlayStation 3, which was licensed to Sony. But mobile seems to be the big opportunity now: 'We'll start by licensing the GPU core based on the NVIDIA Kepler architecture, the world's most advanced, most efficient GPU. Its DX11, OpenGL 4.3, and GPGPU capabilities, along with vastly superior performance and efficiency, create a new class of licensable GPU cores. Through our efforts designing Tegra into mobile devices, we've gained valuable experience designing for the smallest power envelopes. As a result, Kepler can operate in a half-watt power envelope, making it scalable from smartphones to supercomputers.'"
MySQL Man Pages Silently Relicensed Away From GPL
An anonymous reader writes
"The MariaDB blog is reporting a small change to the license covering the man pages to MySQL. Until recently, the governing license was GPLv2. Now the license reads, 'This software and related documentation are provided under a license agreement containing restrictions on use and disclosure and are protected by intellectual property laws. Except as expressly permitted in your license agreement or allowed by law, you may not use, copy, reproduce, translate, broadcast, modify, license, transmit, distribute, exhibit, perform, publish, or display any part, in any form, or by any means. Reverse engineering, disassembly, or decompilation of this software, unless required by law for interoperability, is prohibited.'"
Verizon Accused of Intentionally Slowing Netflix Video Streaming
"A recent GigaOm report discusses Verizon's 'peering' practices, which involves the exchange of traffic between two bandwidth providers. When peering with bandwidth provider Cogent starts to reach capacity, Verizon reportedly isn't adding any ports to meet the demand, Cogent CEO Dave Schaffer told GigaOm. 'They are allowing the peer connections to degrade,' Schaffer said. 'Today some of the ports are at 100 percent capacity.' Why would Verizon intentionally disrupt Netflix video streaming for its customers? One possible reason is that Verizon owns a 50% stake in Redbox, the video rental service that contributed to the demise of Blockbuster (and more recently, a direct competitor to Netflix in online streaming). If anything threatens the future of Redbox, whose business model requires customers to visit its vending machines to rent and return DVDs, it's Netflix's instant streaming service, which delivers the same content directly to their screens."
Oculus Rift Raises Another $16 Million
"It seems that the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset caught the attention of investors after its showing at E3 this year. Spark Capital and Matrix Partners were able to push $16 million at Oculus VR in the hopes that the product will live up to the hype. The HD unit looks a bit more slick than the ski-goggles-with-a-tablet-glued-to-it prototype, but the device would look even more appealing if the next-gen consoles would commit to supporting it. (We all know how well the PS3's 'wave-stick' did as an afterthought.) That said, major titles like the 9-year-old Half-Life 2 and the 6-year-old Team Fortress 2 are getting full support for the device. Hopefully some developers are looking into support for the Oculus Rift as a launch feature, rather than an addition years after the fact. IA bit like the EAX standard from Soundblaster. That worked out well too."
KWin Maintainer: Fanboys and Trolls Are the Cancer Killing Free Software
An anonymous reader writes
"Martin Gräßlin, maintainer of the KWin window manager, writes an informative blog post about his experiences with the less favorable pockets of the Free Software community. Quoting: 'Years ago I had a clear political opinion. I was a civil-rights activist. I appreciated freedom and anything limiting freedom was a problem to me. Freedom of speech was one of the most important rights for me. I thought that democracy has to be able to survive radical or insulting opinions. In a democracy any opinion should have a right even if it's against democracy. I had been a member of the lawsuit against data preservation in Germany. I supported the German Pirate Party during the last election campaign because of a new censorship law. That I became a KDE developer is clearly linked to the fact that it is a free software community. But over the last years my opinion changed. Nowadays I think that not every opinion needs to be tolerated. I find it completely acceptable to censor certain comments and encourage others to censor, too. What was able to change my opinion in such a radical way? After all I still consider civil rights as extremely important. The answer is simple: Fanboys and trolls.'"
Google Files First Amendment Challenge Against FISA Gag Order
The Washington Post reports that Google has filed a motion challenging the gag orders preventing it from disclosing information about the data requests it receives from government agencies. The motion
cites the free speech protections of the First Amendment. "FISA court data requests typically are known only to small numbers of a company’s employees. Discussing the requests openly, either within or beyond the walls of an involved company, can violate federal law." From
the filing (PDF): "On June 6, 2013, The Guardian newspaper
published a story mischaracterizing the scope and nature of Google's receipt of and compliance with foreign intelligence surveillance requests. ... In light of the intense public interest generated by The Guardian's and Post's erroneous articles, and others that have followed them, Google seeks to increase its transparency with users and the public regarding its receipt of national security requests, if any. ... Google's reputation and business has been harmed by the false or misleading reports in the media, and Google's users are concerned by the allegation. Google must respond to such claims with more than generalities. ... In particular, Google seeks a declaratory judgment that Google as a right under the First Amendment to publish ... two aggregate unclassified numbers: (1) the total number of FISA requests it receives, if any; and (2) the total number of users or accounts encompassed within such requests."