SmartAboutThings writes "A month ago, Microsoft was involved in a legal battle in the United Kingdom, when the court found that there was a conflict between Microsoft's SkyDrive and a trademark owned by the British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB). Back then, the UK court ruled that Microsoft was infringing the BSkyB's trademark. And now we have confirmation that Microsoft will be forced to change the SkyDrive brand name. This is quite a big branding issue for Microsoft. What are they going to call it? DriveSky? And chances are that the name change will be worldwide and not only in the United Kingdom."
Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
A recent forum post at Beyond3D made an interesting claim: that the Samsung Galaxy S4's GPU ran at 532 MHz for certain whitelisted benchmark applications, and at 480 MHz for everything else. The folks at AnandTech decided to investigate and found out that the phone does indeed let its GPU run at a higher frequency when particular benchmark software is running. They found a similar oddity with the CPU — it wasn't restricted for other apps, but it was forced to run at max speed during benchmarks. Then they decided to look for direct evidence that this was intentional. "Poking around I came across the application changing the DVFS behavior to allow these frequency changes – TwDVFSApp.apk. Opening the file in a hex editor and looking at strings inside (or just running strings on the .odex file) pointed at what appeared to be hard coded profiles/exceptions for certain applications. The string 'BenchmarkBooster' is a particularly telling one. ... Quadrant standard, advanced, and professional, linpack (free, not paid), Benchmark Pi, and AnTuTu are all called out specifically. Nothing for GLBenchmark 2.5.1 though, despite its similar behavior."
Zothecula writes "The additive layer process of conventional 3D printers means they are usually limited to bottom up fabrication on three axes. Now, the LA-based NSTRMNT team has created a 3D printing process called suspended disposition that gets around gravity by printing objects within a gel. Not only does this allow freeform additive fabrication on six axes, it also enables an 'undo' function."
freddienumber13 writes "In another patent surprise, a patent application by Apple for pinch-to-zoom has been rejected by the USPTO on the grounds that its claims were either anticipated by previous patents or simply unpatentable. This will be welcome news for Samsung, who back in April asked for a stay of the trial. However, Apple has a short period of time in which they can appeal this finding."
alphadogg writes "The first heady rush of support for Canonical's crowd-funded Ubuntu Edge smartphone appears to have tapered off, as donations for the eye-catching device have slowed substantially over the past several days. The project sits just above the $7 million mark at the time of this writing – a large sum by the standards of crowd-funded projects, to be sure, but the $32 million goal is still a long way off. The Edge is slightly, but measurably, behind schedule – by about $600,000, according to a tracking graph made by Canonical's Gustavo Niemeyer. However, there's speculation that wealthy Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth might contribute some of his personal fortune to the project." The campaign has already broken records with its spectacular first few days. I hope that Shuttleworth does kick in to make production feasible, because the idea and the design are impressive — but I'm leery of spending quite so much on any phone.
renai42 writes "If you've been in the IT industry for a while, you'll know that Lenovo's ThinkPad brand has a strong reputation with large organisations for quality, dating back to the brand's pre-2005 ownership by IBM. However, all that may be set to change with the news that the defence agencies of key Western governments such as Australia, the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have banned Lenovo gear from being used in sensitive areas, because of concerns that the Chinese vendor has been leaving back doors in its devices for the Chinese Government. No evidence has yet been presented to back the claims, but Lenovo remains locked out of sensitive areas of these governments. Is it fearmongering? Or is there some legitimate basis for the ban?"
Zothecula writes "Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible. It's a challenge for humans, so how would robots fare? In an effort to push the boundaries of robotic agility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to find out by teaching their RHex robot some Parkour moves." See the Kod*lab homepage for much, much more on the RHex family.
storagedude writes "As more and more companies move to virtualized, or software-defined, data centers, cost savings might not be one of the benefits. Sure, utilization rates might go up as resources are pooled, but if the end result is that IT resources become easier for end users to access and provision, they might end up using more resources, not less. That's the view of Peder Ulander of Citrix, who cites the Jevons Paradox, a 150-year-old economic theory that arose from an observation about the relationship between coal efficiency and consumption. Making a resource easier to use leads to greater consumption, not less, says Ulander. As users can do more for themselves and don't have to wait for IT, they do more, so more gets used. The real gain, then, might be that more gets accomplished as IT becomes less of a bottleneck. It won't mean cost savings, but it could mean higher revenues."
hypnosec writes "Samsung has announced the world's fastest NAND memory that supports the eMMC 5.0 standard. The new memory chips are based on 10nm class NAND flash technology and feature an interface speed of 400MB/s. Further, the 32GB and 64GB densities have a random read and write speed of 7,000 IOPS (inputs/outputs per second) while the sequential read and write speeds stand at 250MB/s and 90MB/s respectively. The chips will provide for better multitasking, HD video recording, gaming and browsing."
kkleiner writes "An artistic robotic system named e-David has been developed that produces paintings that appear to be created by humans. Using an iterative process of brush strokes and image comparison, e-David's assembly line welder arm can paint in up to 24 colors and add shading where needed. The robot even cleans its five brushes along the way, according to University of Konstanz researchers who developed the system as an exercise in machine learning."
Via Engadget comes the news that Google's latest (and quickly sold-out) toy, the Chromecast, may soon be hacked out of one-trick-pony status; just a few days after it came out, the folks at GTV Hacker have successfully turned their attention to the Chromecast, and managed to exploit the device's bootloader and spawn a root shell. Some interesting findings, as explained in their blog post: "[I]t’s actually a modified Google TV release, but with all of the Bionic / Dalvik stripped out and replaced with a single binary for Chromecast. Since the Marvell DE3005 SOC running this is a single core variant of the 88DE3100, most of the Google TV code was reused. So, although it’s not going to let you install an APK or anything, its origins: the bootloader, kernel, init scripts, binaries, are all from the Google TV. We are not ruling out the ability for this to become a Google TV 'stick.'"
Not all 3-D printed guns can encounter the smooth, uneventful success of Cody Wilson's Liberator; Daniel_Stuckey writes with this excerpt: "A Canadian has just fired the first shot from his creation, 'The Grizzly,' an entirely 3D-printed rifle. In that single shot, CanadianGunNut (his name on the DefCad forum), or "Matthew," has advanced 3D-printed firearms to yet another level. Sort of: According to his video's description, the rifle's barrel and receiver were both damaged in that single shot."
An anonymous reader writes "I'm an Engineer with a need for 3 large monitors on the one PC. I want to run them as 'one big desktop' so I can drag windows around between all three monitors (Windows XP style). I run Debian and an nVidia NVS450. Currently I have been able to do what I want by using Xinerama which is painfully slow (think 1990s), or using TwinView which is hardware accelerated but only supports 2 monitors. I can live without 3D performance, but I need a hardware accelerated 2D desktop at the minimum. What are my options? I will happily give up running X and run something else if I need to (although I would like to keep using Xfce — but am open to anything). I am getting so desperate that I am starting to think of running Windows on my box, but that would be painful in so many other ways given my work environment revolves around the Linux toolset."
An anonymous reader writes "IEEE Spectrum has a story about a robot that uses infra red and ultrasound to image veins, picks the one with best bloodflow, and then sticks a needle in. (video included). Veebot started as an undergrad project and the creators are aiming for better performance than a human phlebotimist before going for clinical trials. Robodracula anyone?"
First time accepted submitter MrClappy writes "I manage the network for a defense contractor that needs a cloud-based storage service and am having a lot of trouble finding an appropriate solution that meets our requirements. We are currently using DropBox and I am terrified of seeing another data leak like last year. Some of our data is classified under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) which requires that all data to remain inside the US, including any cloud storage or redundant backups. We tried using Box as a more secure replacement but ended up canceling the service due to lack of functionality; 40,000 file sync limit, Linux-based domain controller compatibility issues and the fact that the sync application does not work while our computers are locked (which is an explicit policy for my users). I've been calling different companies and just can't seem to find a decent solution. Unless I'm severely missing something, I'm just blown away that no one offers this functionality with today's tech capabilities. Am I wrong?"
adeelarshad82 writes "While it's more limited than the Roku 3 and by no means Google's answer to Airplay, Chromecast sets itself apart from other similar products simply based on its price and potential of bringing Internet HDTV streaming to many more people than before. Priced at only $35, it's a direct stick that plugs into your HDTV's HDMI port and lets you stream media from Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play through your smartphone, tablet, or notebook. Unlike the Roku Stick, it uses a separate micro-USB port instead of MHL to power it. This on one hand means you need to run a cable from the stick to a USB port, making it much less neat than it would seem. On the other hand, it means the stick works with any HDTV, whether it has an MHL-capable HDMI port or not. Once connected, the setup itself is fairly simple and entirely app-controlled. Past the setup, your streaming content choices are currently limited, though Google released an API for the Chromecast, so more apps could support it in the future. For now Android users can stream media from Google Play Movies and Music, as well as Netflix and YouTube whereas iOS users can watch Netflix and YouTube via the Chromecast. From a computer, users can stream media from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome. Unlike Apple TV and AirPlay, Chromecast doesn't let you stream your locally stored media. In fact Google Play Music gives an error message when you try to play music you loaded on your device yourself and not through the Google Play store. All in all, at $35 it's the most affordable way to access online media services on your HDTV." El Reg also got their hands on one. Alas, one perk of grabbing the Chromecast is gone: Google ended the free three month Netflix bundle that was worth almost as much as the cost of the Chromecast itself after sales were much higher than expected (so high it looks like they ran out of them after only a day). Update: 07/26 21:20 GMT by U L : iFixIt posted a teardown of the Chromecast.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple's had a small, very secretive office in Cambridge, MA for a few months now. And we finally know what they're doing: Building a team that works on speech technology for Siri. Sure, it's interesting for Apple to have a remote engineering team. And hiring from MIT is a no-brainer. But here's why this is a bigger deal: Apple has always relied on Nuance, a Boston-area company, for the speech-recognition technology behind Siri. By branching out with its own speech team — stocked with former Nuance scientists, no less — Apple could very well be signaling a move away from relying on Nuance for this core technology. And the speech wars are just heating up: Microsoft and Amazon both have speech engineering offices in the Boston area too."
A few days ago, the CyanogenMod teamed teased a new project named Nemesis, a series of planned improvements to the user interface. An anonymous reader writes with news of the first part: a new camera application designed to replace the neglected stock Android camera app. From the article: "As cameras and camera software becomes an increasingly important part of our mobile experience, a great photography experience on your smartphone can make all the difference. The CyanogenMod project has decided to take smartphone photography a lot more seriously with the release of Focal, and all new camera app for CM users everywhere." Android Police also has an early look with screenshots. The menu system in particular looks a lot nicer to use than the current cumbersome interface to white balance/exposure/scene settings. Focal should be merged into nightly releases soon.
First time accepted submitter ormembar writes "I have a laptop with a 1 TB hard disk. I use rsync to perform my backups (hopefully quite regularly) on an external 1 TB hard disk. But, with such a large hard disk, it takes quite some time to perform backups because rsync scans the whole disk for updates (15 minutes in average). Does it exist somewhere a kind of asynchronous RAID-1 free software that would record in a journal all the changes that I perform on the disk and replay this journal later, when I plug my external hard disk on the laptop? I guess that it would be faster than usual backup solutions (rsync, unison, you name it) that scan the whole partitions every time. Do you feel the same annoyance when backing up laptops?"
After a Chinese woman was earlier this month evidently electrocuted while talking on her iPhone while it was plugged in to charge, Apple is warning users to avoid counterfeit chargers. From CNet: "Last week, reports surfaced in China that suggested the woman, Ma Ailun, might have been using a third-party charger designed to look like the real thing. Although third-party chargers are not uncommon, they vary widely in terms of safety and quality. Earlier this year, safety consulting and certification company UL issued a warning that counterfeit Apple USB chargers were making the rounds and that consumers should be on the lookout for them due to their lower quality and possibly dangerous defects. The company posted the guidance on its site after a woman was allegedly electrocuted while answering a call on her iPhone."