Mandriva Goes Out of Business

Slashdot - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 6:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: After struggling for the past several years, Mandriva has finally gone out of business, and is in the process of being liquidated. The company was responsible for Mandriva Linux, itself a combination of Mandrake Linux and Conectiva Linux. When Mandriva fell upon hard times, many of the distro's developers migrated to Mageia Linux, which is still going strong and just putting the final touches on its next major version (5).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Samsung’s Tizen Z1 Smartphone Is Number One! (In Bangladesh)

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 6:28pm

From smartwatches and smartphones to smart televisions, Samsung is putting its homegrown Tizen operating system into as many products as it can. While Tizen has yet to take off in the way the company has hoped, a new report published by Counterpoint Research reveals that there’s one place that Tizen mania has struck at least one place: Bangladesh. 

The relatively small country is one of the most densely populated in the world, and its people are apparently crazy for Samsung's Tizen-powered Z1. The report says that, in Q1 2015, it was the top-selling smartphone in Bangladesh’s nascent mobile market. 

See also: Samsung Announces The First Tizen Smartphone, The Z1

This is a big win for Samsung, not just because rivals like Apple and others have been vying to own emerging markets, but because the South Korean tech maker desperately wants to validate Tizen apps and services. The company has been trying to jumpstart an app ecosystem to rival Android, but one that doesn’t share a nickel with Google. 

That’s usually the biggest hurdle for any rivals to Android or iOS; without users, there’s little incentive for developers to bother making apps for a given platform. It's the same conundrum Windows Mobile (née Windows Phone, née old Windows Mobile) has faced for years. 

Tizen is starting to look a lot more interesting on smartwatches. But can Samsung replicate that excitement on smartphones, and claim more markets?

Samsung has struggled to justify Tizen’s existence, and has more or less failed to do so. Recent hints provided by Samsung’s revamped Tizen smartwatch SDK seem to indicate a more careful approach towards its wearables. But what may work for wearables doesn't necessarily translate to smartphones. As TechCrunch points out, the Z1 has only captured about 1 percent of the smartphone market in its initial launch territory of India

In the end, the only way for Tizen to truly take off is for Samsung to prove it's worthwhile for users. With Bangladesh embracing the platform, at least the company now has data it can point to, which may give it a fighting chance, at least in the developing world. As for anywhere else, the jury is still out. 

Images courtesy of Samsung

Categories: Technology

Vox Media acquires Re/code in all-stock deal, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher to stay at Re/code after merger (Sydney Ember/New York Times)

TechMeme - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 5:56pm

Sydney Ember / New York Times:
Vox Media acquires Re/code in all-stock deal, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher to stay at Re/code after merger  —  Vox Media Acquiring ReCode  —  ReCode, the news website led by the veteran journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, is being acquired by Vox Media, a deal that reflects …

Categories: Technology

Russian Space Agency Misused $1.8 Billion, May Be Replaced

Slashdot - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 5:45pm
An anonymous reader writes: After a pair of high profile launch failures in the past few months, Russian space agency Roscosmos is making headlines again: this time for corruption. A public spending watchdog reported that the organization had misused 92 billion rubles ($1.8 billion) in 2014 alone. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said their space efforts have been undermined by rampant corruption. "We have uncovered acts of fraud, abuse of authority (and) document forgery. With such a level of moral decay, one should not be surprised at the high accident rate." He also said Roscosmos is to be "abolished," and replaced by a state corporation of the same name by the end of the year. "In its new, corporate identity, Roscosmos will be responsible not only for setting mission goals but managing wages for space industry workers and modernizing production facilities."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Oculus Acquires Computer Vision Company Surreal Vision for 3D Scene Reconstruction (Ben Lang/Road to VR)

TechMeme - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 5:10pm

Ben Lang / Road to VR:
Oculus Acquires Computer Vision Company Surreal Vision for 3D Scene Reconstruction  —  Oculus today announced that they've acquired Surreal Vision, a computer vision company that's using technology to interpret the real world in a way that can be visualized and interacted with within virtual reality.

Categories: Technology

The Force (Touch) May Be Strong With iOS 9

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 5:05pm

Force Touch, one of Apple’s newest and most unique features, may end up in the next version of its iPhone and iPad, according to a recent report on 9to5Mac

The feature, which can trigger actions based on the amount of force users apply in tapping a display or touchpad, first showed up in the Macbook and the Apple Watch, and it could become an important part of the upcoming Apple TV remote. We suspected that the iPhone might be next in line, and now the site's unnamed sources claim that Apple will imbue iOS 9, the next major update to its mobile software, with Force Touch support. 

See also: How The New Apple MacBook Retired Steve Jobs’s Vision Of Computing

If true, the move, which would require Force Touch-capable displays going into the new Apple smartphone and tablet, could wind up being limited to the company's homegrown features only. But the site seems convinced that Apple will give app makers access to the feature—which could change the way we interact with games and other iPhone apps. 

Show Of Force

Force Touch is essentially a pressure-sensitive twist on the touch-based gestures that have become standard on trackpads and smart-device displays. Instead of merely touching or pressing to hold an icon, button or other element on the screen, people can change the weight of their taps to perform different actions on their displays. 

An Apple Support page offers all kinds of examples of how to use Force "click" on the new Macbook, with options ranging from quick-editing a file’s name, or seeing a Maps preview of an address or location. 

The feature also lets you know when it registers the input using "haptic feedback," or small vibrations that alert you when something happens. Those can be simple buzzes that acknowledge a Force Touch entry, or a shake that tells you when you've reached the end of an iMovie clip.

New Macbook owners have more options for how they want to set up Force Touch

The addition of pressure-sensitive touches and taps may not sound like a big deal on the face of it. But there are no shortage to the ways developers might take advantage of the new feature. For proof, we can look back to the year 2000, when Sony released the PlayStation 2 game console and its controller with pressure-sensitive buttons.

In the console’s flagship racing title, Gran Turismo 4, players could more subtly apply gas or brakes to their cars depending on how hard they pushed each button. Other games like Metal Gear Solid 2 and MLB the Show offered improvements to gameplay based on similar touch features. However, by the time the PlayStation 4 came out, Sony had dropped pressure-sensitive buttons.

The DualShock 3 was the second PlayStation controller to feature pressure-sensitive buttons. Sony dropped the feature for the PS4's gamepad, however.

Apple, on the other hand, is not likely to drop Force Touch anytime soon, especially since it just spread the feature across its device categories. 

Use The Force, Devs

With straight taps—read: without Force Touch—the experience is pretty binary. You’re either touching the screen, or you’re holding your finger on the screen. Adding varying degrees of pressure means that developers can start thinking of more creative ways to connect users with their software. 

If iOS 9 delivers the feature, as rumored, then it could bring a shift in the fundamental ways we experience apps. Take game apps, for instance. An iPhone user might find playing a baseball game on a Force Touch-equipped iPad more engaging, since they could control the strength at which they hit the ball. Players could change the speed of their pitches based on how hard they touch the screen. 

Force Touch could also open up new ways for developers to take advantage of the iPhone’s small screen real estate. If you're trying to move spreadsheet items around, a Force Touch could present more options than a simple tap. Developers could add new contextual menu options, and make other features more accessible, all based on how hard people hit their screens. 

Apple may or may not reveal its intentions next month, when it shows off iOS 9 at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. If the company sticks with its typical pattern, the new iPhones (likely named the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus) may not offer very many hardware changes, so new Force Touch hardware might be the star of the show during its fall press event. The company may not be willing to tip that ahead of time, even to show off the new software tools that would go along with it. 

Then again, Apple may want to tempt them with it sooner rather than later, if it wants developers to "use the Force." 

Lead photo by Pauli Carmody; Macbook trackpad image courtesy of Apple; DualShock 3 image courtesy of Sony

Categories: Technology

IRS: Personal Info of 100,000 Taxpayers Accessed Illegally

Slashdot - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 5:03pm
An anonymous reader writes: The Associated Press reports that an online service provided by the IRS was used to gather the personal information of more than 100,000 taxpayers. Criminals were able to scrape the "Get Transcript" system to acquire tax return information. They already had a significant amount of information about these taxpayers, though — the system required a security check that included knowledge of a person's social security number, date of birth, and filing status. The system has been shut down while the IRS investigates and implements better security, and they're notifying the taxpayers whose information was accessed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Amtrak Installing Cameras To Watch Train Engineers

Slashdot - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 4:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: In the aftermath of the derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago, the company has caved to demands that it install video cameras to monitor and record the actions of the engineers driving their trains. The National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending such cameras for the past five years. Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman says the cameras will improve train safety, though the engineers' union disagrees. In 2013, the union's president said, "Installation of cameras will provide the public nothing more than a false sense of security. More than a century of research establishes that monitoring workers actually reduces the ability to perform complex tasks, such as operating a train, because of the distractive effect."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

iOS 9 Maps Transit navigation to include San Francisco, New York City, Toronto, London, Paris, and Berlin, in addition to China, at launch (Mark Gurman/9to5Mac)

TechMeme - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 4:15pm

Mark Gurman / 9to5Mac:
iOS 9 Maps Transit navigation to include San Francisco, New York City, Toronto, London, Paris, and Berlin, in addition to China, at launch  —  iOS 9 Transit Maps to launch in a handful of cities in North America, Europe & China  —  While Apple plans to debut its own mass transit directions service …

Categories: Technology

Charter’s Time Warner Bid Could Create a True Comcast Rival

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 3:39pm

A merged Time Warner and Charter wouldn't top Comcast. But their combined heft could set up a showdown.

The post Charter’s Time Warner Bid Could Create a True Comcast Rival appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Microsoft Bringing Cortana To iOS, Android

Slashdot - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 3:37pm
An anonymous reader writes: While many big tech companies have their own personal assistant software these days, few of them are available on a broad variety of devices. Microsoft has now announced that it's becoming one of those few: Cortana will be available for iOS and Android devices later this year. It's part of an initiative by the company to ensure Windows 10 plays well with all sorts of devices, even phones made by the other major manufacturers. Microsoft said, "Regardless of the operating systems you choose across your devices – everything important to you should roam across the products you already own – including your phone." This led them to develop a "Phone Companion app," built into Windows 10, that's designed to help sync a user's PC with his phone.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Bruce Schneier on Privacy and the Data Free-for-All

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 3:02pm

Over the past two decades, few voices have shouted louder from the rooftops about global cybersecurity and digital privacy concerns than Bruce Schneier. He’s the CTO of Resilient Systems, a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and has authored 14 books—his latest, Data and Goliath, was published in March. As Facebook and Google have infiltrated our every […]

The post Bruce Schneier on Privacy and the Data Free-for-All appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Linux/Moose Worm Targets Routers, Modems, and Embedded Systems

Slashdot - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 2:54pm
An anonymous reader writes: Security firm ESET has published a report on new malware that targets Linux-based communication devices (modems, routers, and other internet-connected systems) to create a giant proxy network for manipulating social media. It's also capable of hijacking DNS settings. The people controlling the system use it for selling "follows," "likes," and so forth on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Facebook, and Google+. Affected router manufacturers include: Actiontec, Hik Vision, Netgear, Synology, TP-Link, ZyXEL, and Zhone. The researchers found that even some medical devices were vulnerable to the worm, though it wasn't designed specifically to work with them.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

What Jony Ive’s Fancy New Title As Chief Design Officer Means

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 2:40pm

Apple’s move to bring its product designer extraordinaire, Jony Ive, into its "C suite” should surprise no one, given how large he looms over the company’s products. At the same time, the news of Ive’s new position as Chief Design Officer—which broke on Memorial Day—seems to have come out of left field.

Three years ago, CEO Tim Cook gave Ive dominion over Apple’s mobile software interfaces and hardware design. The new responsibilities gave him control over the way the company’s devices looked and behaved, from the inside out. Now, according to The Telegraph, he will head back to his native England (to raise his family), leaving his old responsibilities split between two Apple middle men. Reportedly, Ive’s new assignment will have him working with London's Foster and Partners to design Apple's Spaceship Campus 2 and weighing in on the growing Apple Retail Stores springing up worldwide.

See also: Why Apple Just Wasn't Feeling It For The TV Set

Despite the fancier title, the new designation seems like a goodbye, which is notable because Ive always represented the "old guard," a remaining legacy of Steve Jobs’ rule at Apple. Sentimentality aside, though, the larger concern is over what the move means to Apple devices.

Thanks For Everything, Sir Jony

When the company shunted software chief Scott Forstall aside in 2012, it essentially added those duties to Ive’s plate. The changes were positioned as the company marrying its software and hardware efforts, which seems to have paid off. Apple just can’t stop bragging about its monster iPhone sales. From its initial October to December timeframe, iPhone shipments amounted to 74.5 million units, up 46% against a year earlier.

Now we’re on the precipice of what looks like a divorce between Apple’s hardware and software development, at least when it comes to the daily nuts and bolts. Effective July 1, Alan Dye will become VP of UI design, and Richard Howarth moves into the VP of industrial design role. 

See also: "Virtual Rooms" For The Apple Smart Home Sound Like A Great Idea

Ive supposedly won't step completely back, according to what appears to be an Apple internal memo from Cook to staffers about the change. From 9to5Mac: 

His new role is a reflection of the scope of work he has been doing at Apple for some time. Jony’s design responsibilities have expanded from hardware and, more recently, software UI to the look and feel of Apple retail stores, our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company...

As Chief Design Officer, Jony will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives. On July 1, he will hand off his day-to-day managerial responsibilities of ID and UI to Richard Howarth, our new vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, our new vice president of User Interface Design. 

Translation: Ive will still weigh in on the broad strokes on both sides. But it won't be his hands guiding and managing daily development. 

The impact of this re-shuffling likely won't show up right away, at least not for the iPhone 6S (or whatever the new model will be called) or for the next version of iOS that Apple will showcase next month at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Those changes, if any, will likely materialize in the company’s following product development cycle. 

The only thing we might be able to count on in the short term is that Dye and Howarth will probably take on bigger roles at the company’s WWDC keynote. We'll see then if they can wax as breathlessly poetic about Apple products. 

Photo courtesy of Apple

Categories: Technology

Penny Dreadful GIF and a Graf: Underwear Shopping Is Awkward

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 2:37pm

Being the devil's plaything leaves little time for levity, so when Vanessa Ives got to have this laugh it was hard not to call it the episode's highlight.

The post Penny Dreadful GIF and a Graf: Underwear Shopping Is Awkward appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

From Moonshots to Android M: What to Expect From Google I/O

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 2:32pm

It's that time again: Google I/O 2015 is upon us, and as usual, there's a lot to cover. Let's dig in.

The post From Moonshots to Android M: What to Expect From Google I/O appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Building Hospitable Open Source Communities (Video)

Slashdot - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 2:10pm
This is an 11 minute excerpt from an hour-long video, contributed by long-time Slashdot user Erik Möller. This video is the moving picture equivalent of the typical Slashdot summary of a text article, complete with a link to the main article, which in this case is a video (over an hour long) at Erik's interviewee, Sumana Harihareswara, is also a long-time Slashdot reader who claims (admits?) that she met her husband through a Slashdot link, albeit indirectly. She's spent most of the past decade working with open source, much of it as a community leader. If you are in a leadership role in an open source community or plan to lead one someday, you may want to listen to the complete interview. Sumana has many useful things to say about how open source communities should -- and shouldn't -- be run.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School

Slashdot - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 1:27pm writes with news that Elon Musk has established "Ad Astra," a small, private school for grade-school-age kids. His goal for the school is to eliminate actual differences between the grades. The school had only 14 students for the past year, but will likely expand to 20 next September. Musk says, "It's important to teach problem solving, or teach to the problem and not the tools." As an example, he says teaching kids about tools should be more about taking an engine apart and learning about neccessary tools as the need arises, rather than just dumping information on them about a bunch of tools in an abstract way. "Musk's approach to delete grade level numbers and focus on aptitude may take the pressure off non-linear students and creates a more balanced assessment of ingenuity."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Veep GIF and a Graf: Amy’s Got Herself a ‘Daddy’ Issue

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 1:19pm

There were great bits on last night's Veep. But since Amy has been consistently killing it this season, she won.

The post Veep GIF and a Graf: Amy’s Got Herself a ‘Daddy’ Issue appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology