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04.13.14

Google’s Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Swisscom

FireTV

  • Koushik Dutta releases AllCast beta for Amazon FireTV

    It’s interesting to note that, according to Koush, the APK is the “regular Android APK,” and can be used to mirror your Android phone with any other suitable Android device. As we all know, the Fire TV does run on Android and although, on the surface, it may not be immediately familiar to most Android users, its roots are the same and have allowed the app to work seamlessly.

Android TV

  • Android TV: a brief history of Google’s battle for the living room
  • Leaked images and video show simplified Android TV UI

    Rumors of the impending sunsetting of Google TV have been around at least since September when Sony, Google’s most stalwart partner for its struggling, Android-based Google TV, announced a Bravia Smart Stick media player. Sony noted “Google services” but never mentioned Google TV. The trend was confirmed by several unnamed Google TV partners in an October report by GigaOM that cited the “Android TV” name. In December, when Marvell announced an Android 4.2.2-ready, Armada 1500 Plus SoC update to the official SoC of Google TV — the Armada 1500 — the Android TV term was used again.

  • Leaked Android TV screenshots show simplified UI

    Leaked images of Google’s new Android TV user interface show a more streamlined and intuitive approach to the big screen than Google TV.

  • Exclusive: this is Android TV
  • Android TV could rock Amazon and Apple’s worlds

    The Verge reports that Google is getting ready to launch Android TV, a set top box based on Android that comes complete with apps and games. The new device is said to have an entertainment-focused interface, and it will be geared toward getting content in front of the user with three clicks or less. Such a product could prove to be a very tough competitor for Amazon’s Fire TV and the Apple TV. It looks like Google is declaring war on Apple and Amazon for control of the living room.

Android in Home-centric Form Factors

  • How to Turn your Android Device into a Dynamic Photo Frame

    Photographs serve as our best memories. Through good times and some great times, photographs stay with us etching our emotions deftly onto a little piece of paper. Over the years, photographs have gone a major transformation. Few years ago, taking a photo meant that you had some memory that you thought would be worth sharing. You took a picture and then kept it with you for the rest of your life. These days, taking a picture is all about getting the maximum likes on Facebook or Instagram. Oh, and there’s the bizarre trend of “selfies” that well, isn’t that cool as you might think.

  • Hackable home automation controller runs Android

Laptops

  • Is Android good enough to be a laptop OS?

    So the question is, what would Android need to do to make it a great laptop operating system? The biggest thing missing, in my opinion, is bringing great desktop apps to this OS through the same Play Store. Just like you install Chrome for smartphones, there should be an option to install Chrome Desktop for the same touchscreen devices—this app, however, would need to be made for keyboard usage.

Tablets

Nikon (Microsoft-taxed)

  • Nikon launches Android powered Coolpix S810c

    Nikon has launched the Coolpix S810, which packs in all the technology Nikon is famous for along with the most popular operating for smart devices – Android. It is a simple point and shoot camera powered by Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

Samsung (Microsoft-taxed)

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 also region-locked, here are the details
  • Samsung adding anti-theft solutions to smartphones

    Samsung Electronics will add two safeguards to its latest smartphone in an effort to deter rampant theft of the mobile devices nationwide, the company said Friday.

  • Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone hits stores around the world

    Samsung Galaxy S5 is the fastest smartphone available in the market right now. Galaxy S5 has top of the line Qualcomm 2.5 GHz quad core Snapdragon 800 chipset along with 2GB of RAM. The internal storage include options for 16GB or 32GB expandable up to 64GB using microSD. It features a 5.1 inch Super AMOLED display with FULL HD resolution of 1920×1080. The smartphone is running the latest Android KitKat 4.4. Special features include fingerprint sensor, heart-rate monitor, health-centric apps and water- as well as dust-resistant body. The device is powered by a 3,000 mAh battery.

  • Samsung might have fixed the Gear Fit’s biggest problem

    The Gear Fit is the first wearable device from a major manufacturer to truly look like it’s come from the future, though its warm reception was colored by one universal complaint: the orientation of the screen. Displaying the time, messages, and all your health data horizontally makes the wrist-worn device somewhat awkward to read, but Samsung hasn’t been deaf to the criticism. The company’s issued a patch to enable vertical display orientation, making for a more familiar reading experience when consulting the fitness band. This could be a great boon in Korea — where the updated UI first appeared on Samsung’s official store blog — but the narrowness of the screen may pose a challenge when displaying longer pieces of text in the Latin alphabet.

Project Ara

Security

Misc.

  • Google Starts Early Dogfooding Of Android 4.4.3, Public Release Expected In Coming Weeks

    Android 4.4.3, also known as KitKat MR2 (Android 4.4.1 and 4.4.2 are known as KitKat MR1), has entered the dogfooding stage and has started rolling out to 1% of Google employees outside of the Android team. Currently, the dogfooding rollout is limited to the supported Nexus line (Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 2012, Nexus 7 2013, and Nexus 10), with GPE and Moto X updates to follow.

  • Huawei Ascend Y530, First Take: Entry-level smartphone with ‘simple’ Android UI option

    It isn’t easy being an Android smartphone maker these days. Your flagship handsets are scrutinised for cutting-edge features, yet they’re criticised if these features seem to be unnecessary, or are unnecessarily complicated.

    Ever faster multicore processors are sometimes deemed by reviewers to be faster than needed, with the trade-off between power consumption and responsiveness often cited. Higher-resolution screens can be dismissed, as there comes a point where pixel count goes beyond being a factor in smooth text and graphics rendition. What’s a manufacturer to do in the face of such criticism?

Chrome OS

  • Google adds more Android features to Chrome OS

    Chromebooks are also getting support for folders in launcher. What it means is that now, like Android, you can create folders and club your apps in a much organzied manner. Google has also implemented the “OK Google” search feature with the launcher and the voice search can be triggered with hotword “Ok Google”. Google has also implemented support for ‘Captive Portal’ which makes it easier for users when they try to connect to the wireless of cafes, hotels, airports, and other locations which requiers them to go to an authentication page.

  • We May See Chrome OS Tablets Arrive Soon

    As Chromebooks–portable computers based on Google’s Chrome OS platform–continue to carve out a healthy niche for themselves, there are strong signs that we are soon going to see Chrome OS tablets. This, of course, has been in the rumor mill for some time. Last October, I reported on a developer-focused version of Chrome OS that included an on-screen keyboard, which of course would be ideal for use on a tablet. Now, the Chrome OS team has confirmed that the latest Stable Channel version of Chrome OS has such a keyboard, and it’s likely we’ll see tablets based on Google’s operating system soon.

  • Do you need virus protection on a Chromebook?

    What I am trying to highlight from this post is that if you use a Chromebook you have given yourself a great chance to remain safe from viruses but it doesn’t mean you should go gung-ho and believe that you are invincible online.

Chrome

Free/Libre Databases News: MongoDB, NoSQL, and MySQL Branches/Forks

Posted in News Roundup at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MongoDB

NoSQL

MySQL

  • SQL and NoSQL come together with new MariaDB Enterprise offerings

    The products are based on MariaDB 10, which became generally available on Monday

  • Hyperscale Titans Team To Scale MySQL

    Four of the titans of hyperscale Web applications – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – have teamed up to create a set of common extensions aimed specifically at running the open source MySQL relational database at scale.

  • Has SkySQL MariaDB pulled off the NoSQL + SQL combo challenge?

    There is something of a war of words (and code) going on between the NoSQL and SQL database camps.

  • MariaDB Enterprise 2 Bridges The Gap Between SQL And NoSQL

    The latest release of MariaDB Enterprise removes the need to choose between different database technologies, says SkySQL

  • Oracle doubles the speed of MySQL query handling

    For the next release of its open source MySQL, Oracle is making a number of changes designed to vastly boost the speed of the open source relational database management system.

    Such a sizeable performance bump could help organizations save money in server purchases, because it would require fewer servers to run large jobs. Or, it will allow them to run complex queries that might have taken too long to run on earlier versions of the database system, said Tomas Ulin, Oracle vice president of MySQL engineering.

    On Monday, the company released the latest development version of the software, MySQL Development Milestone 5.7.4, along with a number of associated programs for managing the database. The last major version of MySQL, version 5.6, was released in February 2013.

  • The MariaDB Foundation Announces General Availability of MariaDB 10

    London, United Kingdom – 31 March 2014 – The MariaDB Foundation, an independent body which promotes the popular open source database MariaDB, today announced the much-anticipated general availability of MariaDB 10, providing today’s generation of application developers with enhanced performance and functionality.

WebScaleSQL

CitusDB. Oracle, PostgreSQL…

Open Access on the Rise: Textbooks, Journals, Etc.

Posted in News Roundup at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sharing textbooks

  • New open-source strategy would drop textbook costs to $0

    These open-source textbooks have different features that electronic versions sold by traditional publishers

  • University Of Maryland Explores Open Source Textbooks

    Why not jump aboard the open source bandwagon since the world does seem to be moving in that general direction as well in tech matters? That is what the University of Maryland is currently considering, to make use of open source textbooks since textbooks happen to be the single fastest growing expense for college students, apart from the constant twin thorns of rent and cost of living. Many other universities too, are looking for a solution when it comes to textbooks, and the University of Maryland would not be the first to implement such an idea since both the University of California and the University of Washington have already kicked off programs to offer their students a catalog of free and freely available open source textbooks.

  • Open education resources combat high textbook prices

    Eben Upton is best known as the man behind the Raspberry Pi, a tiny, $25 computer designed to help turn kids into programmers. Upton priced it at $25 because he thought that’s around what an average textbook cost: “I now understand that’s an incorrect estimate. If we had a better idea of what school textbooks cost we would have had an easier job with the engineering over the years,” he joked to Wired years later.

  • The inside story of MIT and Aaron Swartz
  • Open-source textbooks in policy focus

    Fed up with academic textbooks making constant but minor updates, adding unnecessary chapters and providing unwanted worksheets, Scott Roberts was desperate for a new way to teach his PSYC 100: Introduction to Psychology class.

    In the fall of 2010, he found a solution that not only relieved his frustrations but also saved his students money.

  • New ‘open-source’ strategy would drop college textbook costs to zero

    Holding a whiteboard, the University of Maryland-College Park students scrawled their complaints and posed for a picture.

    “My name is Justin and I spent $114 on ONE textbook,” a student wrote. “My name is Jeff and I spent $736 on textbooks,” wrote another.

Academia

  • London Book Fair 2014: Open Source for an Open Publishing Ecosystem: Readium.org Turns One

    Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the formation of the Readium Foundation (Readium.org), an independent nonprofit launched in March 2013 with the objective of developing commercial-grade open source publishing technology software. The overall goal of Readium.org is to accelerate adoption of ePub 3, HTML5, and the Open Web Platform by the digital publishing industry to help realize the full potential of open-standards-based interoperability. More specifically, the aim is to raise the bar for ePub 3 support across the industry so that ePub maintains its position as the standard distribution format for e-books and expands its reach to include other types of digital publications.

  • Shame On Nature: Academic Journal Demanding Researchers Waive Their Own Open Access Policy

    We’ve been talking a lot about the power and importance of open access for academic (and especially government funded) research. More and more universities have agreed, with some even having general open access policies for their academics, requiring them to release research under open access policies. This makes sense, because one of the key aspects of education and knowledge is the ability to share it freely and to build on the work of others. Without open access, this is made much more difficult. So it’s immensely troubling to discover that one of the biggest science publishers out there, Nature Publishing Group, has started telling academics that they need to get a “waiver” from their university’s open access policies. The issue was raised by Duke’s Scholarly Communications Officer, Kevin Smith, though it’s likely happening at other universities as well:

  • German University Tells Elsevier ‘No Deal’

    In the latest skirmish between academia and publishers over the costs of academic journals, the University of Konstanz in Germany has broken off negotiations over a new licensing agreement with the scientific publisher Elsevier. The publisher’s prices are too high, said university Rector Ulrich Rüdiger in a statement, and the institution “will no longer keep up with this aggressive pricing policy and will not support such an approach.”

Finance Watch (Watching What’s Not Being Watched): Economic Warfare/Class Injustice

Posted in News Roundup at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Deregulation

US

  • Michael Lewis hits back: “There’s been a lot of people mouthing off without actually thinking about the book”

    Oh, and during that same week the FBI, the New York state attorney general’s office and the U.S. Department of Justice all coincidentally announced investigations into the potential improprieties and fraud associated with the topic of Lewis’ book, “high-frequency trading.” When Michael Lewis appears on “60 Minutes” and declares that the U.S. stock market “is rigged,” people pay attention.

  • A Landfill of Poor People: 1 Million Bodies Dumped in Mass Grave on New York Island

    In the heart of New York, a forbidden island houses the corpses of America’s poor, homeless, addicted and abandoned – their graves dug by convicts – creating a landfill of poor people.

    Every year, nearly 1,500 fresh corpses of America’s forgotten souls arrive for internment on this lonely island, says visual artist Melinda Hunt, who heads the Hart Island Project, which campaigns to make the cemetery visible and accessible.

  • Another Study Shows Charters Do No Better Than Public Schools

    An examination of every score that Chicago students earned on state-mandated standardized tests last year reveals that charter schools — which Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) has been promoting — don’t perform any better than traditional public schools.

Workers’ Welfare/Basic Income

Protest

Climate and Ecology Watch: News About a World Being Destroyed

Posted in News Roundup at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Climate Change

Sealife/Pollution

Oilsands

Fracking/Gas

  • Fracking safety: report warns of ‘significant unknowns’

    Sparse public data on onshore oil and gas drilling makes full extent of failures in hydrocarbon wells unknown, experts say

  • Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine

    The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin’s fossil fuels, and enhancing US national security.

  • Geologists: Fracking Likely Cause of Ohio Earthquakes

    Geologists have for the first time linked earthquakes deep under Ohio’s Appalachian Mountains to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue strict permit conditions Friday on the gas extraction process.

    Researchers found that five small tremors last month near Youngstown, Ohio were likely the result of the injection of sand and water that occurs during the hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — process, the Associated Press reports. Fracking involves injecting rocks with pressurized water or other liquids in an effort to extract gas which can be turned into usable fuel.

    Because the geology of each shale formation is different, the discovery in Ohio may not apply everywhere across the country. However, other instances of fracking causing small earthquakes have been recorded elsewhere, including in Oklahoma, England and British Columbia, Canada.

  • Replacing Russian Gas Deliveries with US Shale Gas? Washington Lies to the EU

    After his recent meeting with EU leaders Obama issued the incredible statement that the secret Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is being secretly negotiated behind closed doors by the major private multinational companies would make it easier for the United States to export gas to Europe and help it reduce its dependency on Russian energy: “Once we have a trade agreement in place, export licenses for projects for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe would be much easier, something that is obviously relevant in today’s geopolitical environment,” Obama stated.

    That bit of political opportunism to try to push the stalled TTIP talks by playing on EU fears of Russian gas loss after the US-orchestrated Ukraine coup of February 22, ignores the fact that the problem in getting US shale gas to the EU does not lie in easier LNG licensing procedures in the USA and EU.

    In other recent statements, referring to the recent boom in unconventional US shale gas, Obama and Kerry have both stated the US could more than replace all Russian gas to the EU, an outright lie based on physical realities. At his Brussels meeting Obama told EU leaders they should import shale gas from the US to replace Russian. There is a huge problem with that.

Copyright News: DRM, Censorship, Megaupload, Hypocrisy, and Impact on the Internet

Posted in News Roundup at 3:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DRM

Censorship and Links

Megaupload

Hypocrisy

  • 39% of Film Industry Professionals are Movie & TV Show Pirates

    Every month, reports condemn the general public for downloading movies and TV shows without permission, but perhaps those industries need to look a little closer to home. A new survey among film industry professionals suggests that almost 40% have downloaded movies and TV shows illegally.

Internet

  • The Next Five Years Could Determine Our Liberties

    There’s a European Election coming up. Voting starts in about one month, with the main election days on May 22-25. We’ve had many victories as activists and concerned citizens in the past five years to defend the net and its liberty, but the main showdown looks like it’ll come down in the next five years. Your vote is going to matter.

  • On The 20th Anniversary – An Oral History of Netscape’s Founding

    On April 4th, 1994, Mosaic Communications Corporation was officially incorporated as a going concern. If you don’t recognize the name, that’s because the company would eventually change its name to Netscape Communications Corporation when the University of Illinois (which owned the trademark on the name Mosaic) threatened legal action.

  • My thoughts on NETmundial and the Future of Internet Governance

    As the European Commission clearly stated in its Communication on Internet Policy and Governance of 12 February 2014, conflicting visions on the future of the Internet and on how to strengthen its multistakeholder governance in a sustainable manner have intensified recently. The next two years will be critical in redrawing the global map of Internet governance. Europe must contribute to finding a credible way forward for global internet governance; it must play a strong role in defining how the internet is run and ensuring it remains a single, un-fragmented network.

Sharing Works: Latest News Stories About Crowd-sourcing, Sharing, Transparency

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Voting/Government

ARM

Printers

  • Do 3D-Printed Guns Warrant a Limit on Open-Source Design?

    Guns don’t kill people, people kill people is what guns advocates say. But the guns, well, the guns do play an essential role in killing people. How much blame to place on objects of design is at the heart of MoMA’s Design and Violence ongoing online exhibition and was the subject of the series’ first debate.

  • Open source embroidery creates a niche stitch with the EmbroiderModder

    For those not in this niche of hobbies, embroidering your favorite image on something isn’t as simple as grabbing a crappy jpeg off the website and telling the machine “go.” You need an embroidery file, and making that file is called “digitizing.” It’s best to start with vector art, and then you need to understand things like stitch types and when the thread should be trimmed. It takes some effort to learn (like any skill), but to get better at it means sitting in front of that computer with the dongles in it. And with my travel schedule, let’s just say that doesn’t happen very often. I’m excited that now I can have the design software on my Linux laptop and work on digitizing anything anytime I want, whether I’m in an airport or a hotel or a beanbag in my house.

  • Mamba3D Open Source 3D Printer Announced (video)

    A new type of open source 3D printer called the Mamba3D has been unveiled this week and its creators MyMatics are shortly set to launch a new Kickstarter crowd funding campaign to help construct the first Mamba3D 3D printers.

  • Mamba3D May Just Raise The Bar For Open Source 3D Printers
  • Going to the extreme to make 3D printers open source

Beehives

NASA

Robotics

  • Glaucus, an open-source soft robot sea-slug, sort of

    “The Glaucus, named after the Blue Sea Slug (Glaucus Atlanticus), is an open source soft robotic quadruped from Super-Releaser { http://superreleaser.com }. It is a proof of concept for a method developed at Super-Releaser that can reproduce nearly any geometry modeled on the computer as a seamless silicone skin. The company hopes to apply these same techniques to practical problems in medicine and engineering as the technology develops.

  • Open-Source Robotic Arm Comes to Life

    There isn’t an engineer out there who hasn’t, at one point, wanted a robotic arm. Unfortunately, they’re quite costly. Dan Royer from Marginally Clever, however, has released an open-source 3DOF robotic arm that is sure to get many excited.

Drug Discovery

Starck/Furniture

Misc.

04.12.14

Links 12/4/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 3:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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