Ask Slashdot: What's The Most Useful 'Nerd Watch' Today?

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 8:34pm
He's worn the same watch for two decades, but now Slashdot reader students wants a new one. For about 20 years I've used Casio Databank 150 watches. They were handy because they kept track of my schedule and the current time. They were very cheap. They required very little maintenance, since the battery lasts more than a year and the bands last even longer. Since they were waterproof, I don't even have to take them off (or remember where I put them!) They were completely immune to malicious software, surveillance, and advertising. However, their waterproof gaskets have worn out so they no longer work for me. Casio no longer makes them or any comparable product (their website is out of date). Today's watches include everything from heart rate monitors to TV remote controls, and Casio even plans to release a new version of their Android Wear watch with a low-power GPS chip and mapping software. But what's your best suggestion? "I don't want a watch that duplicates the function of my cell phone or computer," adds the original submission -- so leave your best answers in the comments. What's the most useful nerd watch today?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Nokia Finally Returns To The Smartphone Market (In China)

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 7:34pm
An anonymous reader quotes Mashable: To little fanfare, the Finnish technology company HMD Global Sunday unveiled the Nokia 6, a mid-range Android smartphone for the Chinese market. HMD owns the rights to use Nokia's brand on mobile phones. The Nokia 6, which runs the newest version of Google's mobile operating system, Android Nougat, sports a 5.5-inch full HD (1920x1080 pixels) display. With metal on the sides and a rounded rectangular fingerprint scanner housed on the front, the Nokia 6 seems reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S7. The new Nokia smartphone is powered by a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor and will compete with the likes of Samsung's Galaxy A series models and other mid-end smartphones... The smartphone is priced at 1,699 Chinese Yuan (roughly $250).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Richard Stallman Acknowledges Libreboot Is No Longer A Part of GNU

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 6:34pm
Libreboot became an official GNU project in May. Now an anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Richard Stallman has officially announced that Libreboot is no longer a GNU package. The maintainer of Libreboot had tried to leave the GNU project in September 2016, but the departure was not acknowledged until January 2017. Libreboot is a replacement for proprietary BIOS systems, effectively a distribution of coreboot without any binary blobs and adding an automated build/install process. In the post titled "Goodbye to GNU Libreboot," Stallman wrote that "When a package's maintainer steps down, that doesn't by itself break the relationship between GNU and the package. If it is left without a maintainer but is still useful, the GNU Project will usually look for new maintainers to work on it. However, we can instead drop ties with the package, if that seems the right thing to do. "A few months ago, the maintainer of GNU Libreboot decided not to work on Libreboot for the GNU Project any more. That was her decision to make. She also asserted that Libreboot was no longer a GNU package -- something she could not unilaterally do. The GNU Project had to decide what to do in regard to Libreboot. We have decided to go along with the former GNU maintainer's wishes in this case, for a combination of reasons: (1) it had not been a GNU package for very long, (2) she was the developer who had originally made it a GNU package, and (3) there were no major developers who wanted to continue developing Libreboot under GNU auspices."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

A Federal Judge's Decision Could End Patent Trolling

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 5:34pm
"Forcing law firms to pay defendants' legal bills could undermine the business model of patent trolls," reports Computerworld. whoever57 writes: Patent trolls rely on the fact that they have no assets and, if they lose a case, they can fold the company that owned the patent and sued, thus avoiding paying any of the defendant's legal bills. However in a recent case, the judge told the winning defendant that it can claim its legal bills from the law firm. The decision is based on the plaintiff's law firm using a contract under which it would take a portion of any judgment, making it more than just counsel, but instead a partner with the plaintiff. This will likely result in law firms wanting to be paid up front, instead of offering a contingency-based fee. The federal judge's decision "attacks the heart of the patent-troll system," according to the article, which adds that patent trolls are "the best evidence that pure evil exists."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Huawei Snubs Google, Ships An Android Phone With Alexa

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 4:34pm
Huawei announced its flagship handset will gives users access to Amazon's Alexa assistant in the U.S., suggesting a new worry for Google, according to Reuters. An anonymous reader writes: "The adoption of Alexa by a prominent Android manufacturer indicates that Amazon may have opened up an early lead over Google as the companies race to present their digital assistants to as many people as possible, analysts said." Analyst Jan Dawson at Jackdaw Research even told Reuters that if Google's personal assistant lags in popularity when voice becomes the most popular interface, "that's a huge loss for Google in terms of data gathering, training its AI, and ultimately the ability to drive advertising revenue." Tension may have started when Google decided to debut Google Assistant on their own Pixel smartphones. "While Google has expressed an interest in bringing its assistant to other Android smartphones, the decision to debut the feature on its own hardware may have strained relations with manufacturers, Dawson said. 'It highlights just what a strategic mistake it can be for services companies to make their own hardware and give it preferential access to new services.'" Nvidia announced this week at CES that they'd be using Google Assistant for their Shield TVs, while Whirlpool and Ford both announced Alexa-enabled products. But this article argues Google Assistant has one thing that Alexa doesn't have: a search engine.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

US Government Offers $25,000 Prize For Inventing A Way To Secure IoT Devices

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 3:34pm
An anonymous reader writes: America's Federal Trade Commission has announced a $25,000 prize for whoever creates the best tool for securing consumers' IoT devices. The so-called "IoT Home Inspector Challenge" asks participants to create something that will work on current, already-on-the-market IoT devices, with extra points also awarded for scalability ad easy of use. "Contestants have the option of adding features, such as those that would address hard-coded, factory default, or easy-to-guess passwords," according to the official site, but "The tool would, at a minimum, help protect consumers from security vulnerabilities caused by out-of-date software." The winning submission can't be just a policy (or legal) solution, and will be judged by a panel which includes two computer science professors and a vulnerability researcher from Carnegie Mellon University's CERT Coordination Center. Computerworld points out that "This isn't the first time the FTC has offered cash for software tools. In 2015, it awarded $10,500 to developers of an app that could block robocalls."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

New Study Finds 'Mediterranean' Diet Significantly Reduces Brain Shrinkage

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 2:34pm
schwit1 writes that 562 elderly research subjects cut their brain shrinkage in half just by changing their diet. (Paywalled article here). The BBC reports: A study of pensioners in Scotland found that those with a diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and olive oil had healthier brains than those with different eating habits. They suffered less brain shrinkage than those who regularly ate meat and dairy products. The study was carried out by University of Edinburgh researchers.... Scientists found that those who adhered most closely to the diet retained significantly greater brain volume after three years than those who did not... Lead researcher Dr Michelle Luciano said: "As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells, which can affect learning and memory. This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Dark Nebula Glows Red in Amateur Astronomer's Photo

Space.com - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 1:00pm
Astrophotographer Jeffrey O. Johnson took this image of Barnard 343 from his backyard in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Categories: Science

How to Build Beautiful 3-D Fractals Out of the Simplest Equations

Wired News - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 12:00pm
By folding fractals into 3-D objects, a mathematical duo hopes to gain new insight into simple equations. The post How to Build Beautiful 3-D Fractals Out of the Simplest Equations appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

The Navy’s New Robot Boats Swarm the Enemy on Their Own

Wired News - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 12:00pm
Like a swarm of bees, these boats work together to defend their territory. The post The Navy's New Robot Boats Swarm the Enemy on Their Own appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Best of CES 2017: The Show’s 10 Sharpest Designs

Wired News - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 12:00pm
The most intriguing products from this year's show. The post Best of CES 2017: The Show’s 10 Sharpest Designs appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Is The C Programming Language Declining In Popularity?

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 11:34am
An anonymous reader writes: Java overtook C as the most popular language in mid-2015 on the TIOBE Programming Community index. But now over the last 13 months, they show C's popularity consistently dropping more and more. C's score had hovered between 15% and 20% for over 15 years but as 2016 ended, the language's popularity is now down to 8.7%. "There is no clear way back to the top," reports the site, asking what happened to C? "It is not a language that you think of while writing programs for popular fields such as mobile apps or websites, it is not evolving that much and there is no big company promoting the language." But the Insights blog at Dice.com counters that TIOBE "has hammered on C for quite some time. Earlier this year, it again emphasized how C is 'hardly suitable for the booming fields of web and mobile app development.' That being said, job postings on Dice (as well as rankings compiled by other organizations) suggest there's still widespread demand for C, which can be used in everything from operating systems to data-intensive applications, and serves many programmers well as an intermediate language." i-programmer suggests this could just be an artifact of the way TIOBE calculates language popularity (by totaling search engine queries). Noting that Assembly language rose into TIOBE's top 10 this year, their editor wrote, "Perhaps it is something to do with the poor state of assembly language documentation that spurs on increasingly desperate searches for more information." Maybe C programmers are just referring to their K&R book instead of searching for solutions online?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Apple Could Finally Sell More Devices Than Microsoft In 2017

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 8:34am
Gartner predicts Apple will ship more iOS and macOS devices in 2017 than Windows-powered devices "for the first time this century," and then increase their lead over the next two years. An anonymous reader quotes Computerworld: Gartner predicted that iOS + macOS, unlike Windows, will recover in 2017. Apple's OSes will climb 8% to 268 million this year, add 3% in 2018 to reach 276 million, then increase another 3% in 2019, with that year's device shipment forecast at 285 million. Windows will dip this year, then stagnate for the following two years... The gap between Microsoft and Apple -- 12 million last year, with Microsoft atop -- will widen to 27 million by 2019, advantage Apple. "The global devices market is stagnating," said Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal in a statement Wednesday. Mobile phone shipments are growing only in emerging markets in the Asia and Pacific markets, Atwal added, and noted that "The PC market is just reaching the bottom of its decline." The PC industry's troubles have affected Microsoft most of all; Windows is almost entirely dependent on PC shipments, which have been stuck in a protracted slump. Future shipments were further hit when Microsoft walked away from the smartphone business last year. The article also points out that even in 2016, Windows devices came in second, and "accounted for approximately 11.2% of the total devices, which overwhelmingly ran Google's Android."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Google Boosts Python By Turning It Into Go

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 5:34am
An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld: Grumpy, an experimental project from Google, transpiles Python code into Go, allowing Python programs to be compiled and run as static binaries using the Go toolchain... In a blog post announcing the open source release, Google stated the project stemmed from its efforts to speed up the Python-powered front end for YouTube. But Google hit an obstacle that's familiar to folks who've deployed Python in production: It's hard to get CPython -- the default Python interpreter written in C -- to scale efficiently. "We think Grumpy has the potential to scale more gracefully than CPython for many real world workloads," writes Google... Because it doesn't support C extensions, Grumpy doesn't have CPython's Global Interpreter Lock, which is commonly cited as a roadblock to running Python concurrent workloads smoothly. Grumpy also uses Go's garbage collection mechanisms to manage memory under the hood, instead of CPython's. Grumpy creates close interoperation between Python and Go by allowing Go packages to be imported and used with the same syntax as Go modules.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

TV News Broadcast Accidentally Activates Alexa, Initiates Orders

Slashdot - Sun, 08/01/2017 - 2:37am
ShaunC writes: In San Diego, TV news anchor Jim Patton was covering a separate story about a child who accidentally ordered a doll house using her family's Echo. Commenting on the story, Patton said "I love the little girl, saying 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.'" Viewers across San Diego reported that in response to the news anchor's spoken words, their own Echo devices activated and tried to order doll houses from Amazon. Amazon says that anyone whose Echo inadvertently ordered a physical item can return it at no charge. Meanwhile, Engadget reports that a team of Twitch streamers has convinced one Google Home device to answer questions from another, and they're livestreaming the surreal conversation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Hisense Wants to Make Cheap 4K HDR Look Expensive

Wired News - Sat, 07/01/2017 - 6:34pm
The new H9 has a wider color gamut to go along with its $700 price tag. The post Hisense Wants to Make Cheap 4K HDR Look Expensive appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Thu, 01/01/1970 - 12:00am