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OS X

A FreeBSD "Spork" With Touches of NeXT and OS X: NeXTBSD 57

There are a lot of open source operating systems out there; being open source, they lend themselves to forks, clones or near clones, and friendly offshoots. There are even services to let you customize, download, and (if you choose) bulk-install your own OS based on common components. Phoronix notes a new project called NeXTBSD that might turn more heads than most new open source OSes, in part because of the developers behind it, and in part because of the positive thoughts many people have toward the aesthetics of NeXTSTEP and Mac OS X. (And while it might be a fork of FreeBSD, the developers would rather call it a spork, instead.) NeXTBSD was announced last week by Jordan Hubbard and Kip Macy at the Bay Area FreeBSD Users Group (BAFUG). NeXTBSD / FreeBSD X is based on the FreeBSD-CURRENT kernel while adding in Mach IPC, Libdispatch, notifyd, asld, launchd, and other components derived from Apple's open-source code for OS X. The basic launchd/notifyd/asld/libdispatch stack atop their "fork" of FreeBSD is working along with other basic components of their new design. You can watch a recording of the announcement as well as a longer introduction linked from Phoronix's story.
Businesses

Wuala Encrypted Cloud-Storage Service Shuts Down 128

New submitter craigtp writes: Wuala, one of the more trusted cloud-storage services that employed encryption for your files, is shutting down. Users of the service will have until 15th November 2015 to move all of their files off the service before all of their data is deleted. From the announcement: "Customers who have an active prepaid annual subscription will be eligible to receive a refund for any unused subscription fees. Your refund will be calculated based on a termination date effective from today’s date, even though the full service will remain active until 30 September 2015 and your data will be available until 15 November 2015. Refunds will be automatically processed and issued to eligible customers in coming weeks. Some exceptions apply. Please visit www.wuala.com for more information."
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: Best Big Battery Phone? 208

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung's announcement today of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6+ was a disappointment to a lot of power users. The phones both use a 3,000 mAh, non-removable battery. This is presumably part of Samsung's quest for thinner and thinner phones, but it's bad news for those who prize function over form — particularly from a phone line that is ostensibly made for power users. So, those of you who have the pulse of the mobile industry: what's my best bet for a high end phone that doesn't compromise on battery life? Are there any devices on the horizon that are likely to have big batteries? I'm also wondering if I should just get a cheap phone to tide me over to the next generation of flagships. My current device is old and doesn't have the fast/quick-charge tech that modern ones do — does that work as advertised?
Google

Google Is Restructuring Under a New Company Called Alphabet 235

Mark Wilson writes: Sundar Pichai is the new CEO of Google as the company undergoes a huge restructuring. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are moving to a new company called Google Alphabet which will serve as an umbrella company for Google and its various projects. Google itself is being, in Page's words, "slimmed down" and the change is quite an extraordinary one. Page quotes the original founders' letter that was written 11 years go. It states that "Google is not a conventional company", and today's announcement makes that perfectly clear. There's a lot to take in...Google Alphabet is, essentially, the new face of Google. Page chose to make the announcement in a blog post that went live after the stock markets closed. This is more than just a rebranding, it is a complete shakeup, the scale of which is almost unprecedented.
Science

A Fermilab First: Detecting Oscillating Neutrinos 43

An announcement at last week's American Physical Society's Division of Particles and Fields conference revealed that Fermilab's NOvA experiment has for the first time observed oscillating neutrinos, which have long been predicted but -- as a case even more special than observing neutrinos in general, not an easy task -- never before detected. The research team fired trillions of of muon neutrinos from an accelerator at the Fermilab, outside Chicago. The neutrinos travel 500 miles through Earth's crust to a detector at Ash River, Minnesota. There, scientists were able to filter through millions of cosmic ray strikes and hone in on neutrino interactions. The arriving neutrinos featured some electron neutrinos, suggesting they had oscillated along their path through Earth. "Basically, it shows that we know what we're doing," said Patricia Vahle, associate professor of physics at the College of William & Mary.
IOS

Microsoft Open-Sources Windows Bridge For iOS 48

An anonymous reader writes: Previously known as Project Islandwood, Microsoft today released an early version of Windows Bridge for iOS, a set of tools that will allow developers to port iOS apps to Windows. The announcement reads in part: "We're releasing the iOS bridge as an open-source project under the MIT license. Given the ambition of the project, making it easy for iOS developers to build and run apps on Windows, it is important to note that today's release is clearly a work-in-progress — some of the features demonstrated at Build are not yet ready or still in an early state. Regardless, we'd love for the interested and curious to look at the bridge, and compare what we're building with your app's requirements. And, for the really ambitious, we invite you to help us by contributing to the project, as community contributors — with source code, tests, bug reports, or comments. We welcome any and all participation in building this bridge." The source code is available now on Github.
Role Playing (Games)

World of Warcraft's Next Expansion: Legion 129

Today at Gamescom in Germany, Blizzard unveiled the next expansion for World of Warcraft, called Legion. The expansion will raise the level cap to 110 and bring adventurers to a new continent: the Broken Isles. This will include several new zones and be the source of a new demonic invasion. The story will delve deeply into the game world's history and let players use customizable 'artifact' weapons. To fight the invasion, Blizzard is introducing a new class, Demon Hunter, who will start out at a high level and can perform tank- and damage-centric roles.

The PVP system will be getting revamped, and they're introducing Class-specific halls and followers. The expansion will contain the requisite new raids and world bosses, of course. Small dungeons will be getting increased focus in Legion. As with the previous expansion, players will be given a free level boost for one character to the current level cap in order to get started on the new content right away. Blizzard has posted an cinematic teaser, and the full announcement trailer on YouTube. A beta test will start sometime later this year, but no release date has been announced. MMO-Champion has a post full of details known about the expansion.
Businesses

Amazon Cuts Down On Prime Sharing 79

An anonymous reader writes: Tech Crunch reports that Amazon quietly rolled out changes to how their Prime subscriptions can be shared. The good news is that existing members aren't immediately losing their current sharing setups. It used to be that Amazon would let Prime subscribers share free shipping and a few other benefits with up to four other "household" members, with little restriction on what counted as a "household." The bad news: as of last weekend, Amazon now limits sharing to one other adult and four "child" profiles. The adults will need to authorize each other to use credit/debit cards associated with the account. Amazon didn't make any announcement about this, so it's unknown how long existing Prime shares will stay in effect. They could disappear when the subscription is up for renewal, or earlier if Amazon decides to crack down on it.
China

China To Impose Export Control On High Tech Drones and Supercomputers 67

hackingbear writes: Following similar hi-tech export restriction policies in the U.S. (or perhaps in response to the U.S. ban on China,) China will impose export control on some drones and high performance computers starting on August 15th, according to an announcement published on Friday by China's Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs. The ban includes (official documents in Chinese) drone that can take off in wind speed exceeding 46.4km/hour or can continuously fly for over 1 hour as well as electronic components specifically designed or modified for supercomputers with speed over 8 petaflops. Companies must acquire specific permits before exporting such items. Drones and supercomputers are the two areas where China is the leader or among the top players. China is using its rapidly expanding defense budget to make impressive advances in (military) drone technology, prompting some to worry that the United States' global dominance in the market could soon be challenged. The tightening of regulations comes two weeks after an incident in disputed Kashmir in which the Pakistani army claimed to have shot down an Indian "spy drone", reportedly Chinese-made. China's 33-petaflops Tianhe-2, currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, while still using Intel Xeon processors, makes use of the home-grown interconnect, arguably the most important component of modern supercomputers.
Microsoft

Microsoft Taps PBS To Advance Its National Talent Strategy With 'Code Trip' 43

theodp writes: You don't have to be Mitt Romney to question PBS's announcement that it will air the Microsoft-funded 'reality' show Code Trip, in which Roadtrip Nation and Microsoft YouthSpark will send students across the U.S. for a "transformative journey into computer science." Of the partnership, Roadtrip Nation co-founder Mike Marriner said, "Roadtrip Nation is proud to partner with Microsoft's YouthSpark initiative not only to inform others of the many career routes one can take with a computer science background, but also to engage in the much-needed conversation of diversifying the tech field with more pluralistic perspectives." YouthSpark is part of Microsoft's National Talent Strategy (pdf), which the company describes as "a two-pronged approach that will couple long-term improvements in STEM education in the United States with targeted, short-term, high-skilled immigration reforms." The Official Microsoft Blog reports that filming of Code Trip began this week, with the three students traveling around the country to speak with leaders including Hadi Partovi, the co-founder of Code.org and 'major supporter' of FWD.us, who coincidentally once reported to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and is the next door neighbor of Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and a jogging partner of Steve Ballmer.
Input Devices

Nokia Announces OZO 360-Degree Camera For Filming Virtual Reality 23

New submitter Sepa Blackforesta writes: Nokia has unveiled Ozo, a next-generation camera for capturing audio and video in 360 degrees. It is built for professional content creators and the company hopes the camera will become the leading device for shooting virtual-reality experiences for Hollywood. A formal launch and price announcement is planned for the fall. A Nokia press release reads in part: "OZO captures stereoscopic 3D video through eight (8) synchronized global shutter sensors and spatial audio through eight (8) integrated microphones. Software built for OZO enables real-time 3D viewing, with an innovative playback solution that removes the need to pre-assemble a panoramic image - a time-consuming process with solutions currently in the marketplace. OZO's filmed content can be published for commercially available VR viewing hardware such as head mounted displays (HMDs), with immersive, full 360-degree imaging and spatially accurate original sound. OZO also integrates into existing professional workflows and works with third-party tools, dramatically simplifying content production at all stages."
Debian

Debian Drops SPARC Platform Support 152

jones_supa writes: SPARC isn't exactly a highly-used architecture anymore, so the Debian operating system is dropping support for the platform, according to Joerg Jaspert last week in the "debian-sparc" mailing list. He noted that this does not block a later comeback as "sparc64." Following that announcement, a new post today tells us that SPARC support was just removed from the unstable, experimental and jessie-updates channels.
Businesses

LinkedIn (Temporarily) Backs Down After Uproar At Contact Export Removal 42

Mark Wilson writes: LinkedIn caused a storm a couple of days ago when it removed the option to instantly download contacts. Many users of the professional social network were more than a little irked to discover that while contact exporting was still available, a wait of up to three days had been put in place. Unsurprisingly, users revolted, having been particularly upset by the fact the change was implemented with no warning or announcement. But the company has managed to turn things around by quickly backtracking on its decision after listening to a stream of complaints on Twitter.
HP

HP R&D Starts Enforcing a Business Casual Dress Code 480

An anonymous reader writes: HP was once known as a research and technology giant, a company founded in a garage by a pair of engineers and dominated by researchers. Whilst a part of that lives on in Agilent any hope for the rest of the company has now died with the announcement that HP R&D will have to dress in business "smart casual" with T-shirts, baseball caps, short skirts, low cut dresses and sportswear all being banned.
Games

Pro Gamers To Be Tested For Doping 155

An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Sports League is the biggest organization for running video game competitions. The league has now announced that they will begin testing professional video gamers for performance-enhancing drugs. The league is getting help in making policies from anti-doping agencies that help regulate athletes in traditional sports. They say, "[W]e will be administering the first PED skin tests at ESL One Cologne this August, with a view to performing these tests at every Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and ESL ESEA Pro League event thereafter as soon as the official PED policy is established and tournament rules updated accordingly." This announcement comes after a high-profile Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player admitted last week that he and many other players used Adderall to gain an advantage in tournaments.
Businesses

NY Mayor Commits To Reduce Emissions 40% By 2030 80

dkatana writes: New York mayor Bill de Blasio pledged this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. He made the announcement at the start of a two-day conference on climate change at the Vatican. He was in Rome by invitation of Pope Francis, who has become a hero to the environmental movement and has used his moral authority and enormous popularity to focus world attention on climate change and its effects on the poor. "I believe fundamentally in the notion of giving our private sector friends an opportunity to come along peacefully. And if that's not going to work, to put strong mandates and clear mandates on. And I believe, but the way, that that has tremendous public support." de Blasio said. Nearly three quarters of New York City's greenhouse gas emissions come from energy used to heat, cool, and power buildings, making building retrofits a central component of any plan to dramatically reduce emissions.
Businesses

Toshiba CEO, 8 Others, Resign Over $1.2 Billion Accounting Cover-Up 85

The BBC reports that Toshiba president and chief executive Hisao Tanaka, along with vice-chairman Norio Sasaki, former chief executive Atsutoshi Niched, and six other executives, has resigned from the company in the wake of an accounting scandal: On Monday, an independent panel appointed by Toshiba said the firm had overstated its operating profit by a total of 151.8bn yen ($1.22bn, £780m). The overstatement was roughly triple an initial estimate by Toshiba. Asia Times has an article that delves into the pressure which drove Tanaka and others to misstate their revenue figures so drastically. From that piece: Top management and the heads of in-house companies acted on “the shared goal of padding nominal profits,” the report said. President Hisao Tanaka and immediate predecessor Norio Sasaki, now vice chairman, denied intentionally delaying loss-booking, but those who worked below them thought they were being instructed to do so, according to the report. Top management would assign “challenges,” or earnings improvement targets, at monthly meetings with the heads of in-house companies and subsidiaries. These targets were especially aggressive in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012, when Sasaki was president. In-house company chiefs felt enormous pressure to meet the goals, the committee concluded. After the announcement of Tanaka's resignation, the company's stock actually rose six percent. CNBC explains: Getting the bad news out appears to have eased investors' concerns about the stock. "The total problem has been quantified and there's a likely chance the CEO will have to quit. That's been seen as the end of that," said Amir Anvarzadeh, director of Japan equity sales at BGC Securities.
Businesses

Netflix Hoping For Free Network Access From ISPs 85

sabri writes: Netflix soared on Wall Street today after their earnings announcement. They also stated that they hope to get more free network access arrangements (aka "free peering"). Fortune reports: "Netflix hopes the Charter peering pledge could serve not only its own interests, but establish an industry-wide practice for internet TV. Hastings said he hopes free peering will spare the emerging industry from the sort of battles that continue to plague the cable TV industry industry, in which stations go dark whenever distributor and content owner haggle over a 'retransmission' price."
GNU is Not Unix

The Free Software Foundation's Statement On Canonical's Updated Licensing Terms 75

New submitter donaldrobertson writes: After two years of negotiations, Canonical has updated the intellectual property rights policy for Ubuntu Linux to address a disagreement over how the software is licensed. The FSF announcement reads in part: "In July 2013, the FSF, after receiving numerous complaints from the free software community, brought serious problems with the policy to Canonical's attention. Since then, on behalf of the FSF, the GNU Project, and a coalition of other concerned free software activists, we have engaged in many conversations with Canonical's management and legal team proposing and analyzing significant revisions of the overall text. We have worked closely throughout this process with the Software Freedom Conservancy, who provides their expert analysis in a statement published today." Richard Stallman thinks there are still other issues to address saying: "While the FSF acknowledges that the first update emerging from that process solves the most pressing issue with the policy ... the policy remains problematic in ways that prevent us from endorsing it as a model for others."
Businesses

Neil Young Says His Music Is Too Good For Streaming Services 574

An anonymous reader writes: After years of complaining about modern music formats Neil Young today announced that he's pulling his music from all streaming services. He made the announcement on his official Facebook page saying: "Streaming has ended for me. I hope this is ok for my fans. It's not because of the money, although my share (like all the other artists) was dramatically reduced by bad deals made without my consent. It's about sound quality. I don't need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution. I don't feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It's bad for my music. For me, It's about making and distributing music people can really hear and feel. I stand for that. When the quality is back, I'll give it another look. Never say never."