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Chrome

Chrome 39 Launches With 64-bit Version For Mac OS X and New Developer Features 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the almost-over-the-hill dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google today released Chrome 39 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The biggest addition in this release is 64-bit support for OS X, which first arrived in Chrome 38 beta. Unlike on Windows, where 32-bit and 64-bit versions will both continue to be available (users currently have to opt-in to use the 64-bit release), Chrome for Mac is now only available in 64-bit. There are also a number of security fixes and developer features. Here's the full changelog.
Education

Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program? 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-child-left-in-a-for-loop dept.
Binestar writes: I've been doing IT consulting for years, but I'm not a programmer beyond bash scripting, perl scripts to make administration easier, and batch files to make Windows easier. I recently found an online course for modding Minecraft that my 9-year-old daughter is really enjoying (she built a custom sword that shoots lightning). Does anyone have any recommendations on online courses that would be age appropriate and worth the investment? It's been easy to get her interested in the Minecraft modding course because, as any parent with young children knows, Minecraft is kinda popular...

The course she's taking now is teaching her Eclipse and Gimp, and I'm sure there are other tools installed that they haven't had her open yet. What other vendors have stuff worth introducing her to? I've also started looking at things like the Kano and Learn to Mod, but as a non-programmer, I'm not really sure which are most useful for introduction and which are accomplishing what they claim vs. being a waste of money/time.

Anyone have experience or suggestions to help sort this out?
Windows

Microsoft Releases Out-of-Band Security Patch For Windows 170

Posted by timothy
from the as-circumstances-warrant dept.
mrspoonsi writes Microsoft has announced that they will be pushing an out-of-band security patch today. The patch, which affects nearly all of the company's major platforms, is rated 'critical' and it is recommended that you install the patch immediately. The patch is rated 'critical' because it allows for elevation of privileges and will require a restart. The platforms that are affected include: Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1. Windows 10 Technical Preview customers are affected, too.
Data Storage

Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X 326

Posted by timothy
from the paying-more-for-the-exit-row dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes One of the disadvantages to buying an Apple system is that it generally means less upgrade flexibility than a system from a traditional PC OEM. Over the last few years, Apple has introduced features and adopted standards that made using third-party hardware progressively more difficult. Now, with OS X 10.10 Yosemite, the company has taken another step down the path towards total vendor lock-in and effectively disabled support for third-party SSDs. We say "effectively" because while third-party SSDs will still work, they'll no longer perform the TRIM garbage collection command. Being able to perform TRIM and clean the SSD when it's sitting idle is vital to keeping the drive at maximum performance. Without it, an SSD's real world performance will steadily degrade over time. What Apple did with OS X 10.10 is introduce KEXT (Kernel EXTension) driver signing. KEXT signing means that at boot, the OS checks to ensure that all drivers are approved and enabled by Apple. It's conceptually similar to the device driver checks that Windows performs at boot. However, with OS X, if a third-party SSD is detected, the OS will detect that a non-approved SSD is in use, and Yosemite will refuse to load the appropriate TRIM-enabled driver.
GNOME

GTK+ Developers Call For Help To Finish Cross-Platform OpenGL Support 89

Posted by timothy
from the gears-spinning dept.
jones_supa writes OpenGL support under GTK is getting into good shape for providing a nice, out-of-the-box experience by default on key platforms for the GTK+ 3.16 / GNOME 3.16 release in March. For a few weeks now within mainline GTK+ has been native OpenGL support and as part of that a new GtkGLArea widget for allowing OpenGL drawing within GTK applications. Since that initial work landed, there's been more GTK+ OpenGL code progressing that right now primarily benefits Linux X11 and Wayland users. While good progress is being made and improvements still ongoing to the GNOME toolkit, GNOME developers are requesting help in ensuring other GTK+ backends can benefit from this OpenGL support. If you are using or planning to use GTK+ 3 on Windows or OS X, and you know how to use OpenGL on those two platforms, please consider helping out the GTK+ developers by implementing the GdkGLContext API using WGL and AppleGL.
Android

Visual Studio 2015 Supports CLANG and Android (Emulator Included) 192

Posted by timothy
from the exigent-realities dept.
Billly Gates (198444) writes "What would be unthinkable a decade ago is Visual Studio supporting W3C HTML and CSS and now apps on other platforms. Visual Studio 2015 preview is available for download which includes support for LLVM/Clang, Android development, and even Linux development with Mono using Xamarin. A little more detail is here. A tester also found support for Java, ANT, SQL LITE, and WebSocket4web. We see IE improving in terms of more standards and Visual Studio Online even supports IOS and MacOSX development. Is this a new Microsoft emerging? In any case it is nice to have an alternative to Google tools for Android development."
Cellphones

Microsoft Aims To Offer Windows 10 Upgrades For All Windows Phone 8 Lumias 77

Posted by timothy
from the number-by-any-other-number dept.
An anonymous reader writes News suggesting that Microsoft plans to offer Windows 10 upgrades for all its Windows Phone 8 devices broke today. "It's our intention to enable a Windows 10 upgrade for Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones," a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat. "At this early stage in the development process, and given the vast portfolio of Windows devices worldwide, we can't predict that all devices will be upgradeable, but it is our intention that the Lumia smartphone line be upgradeable to Windows 10."
Robotics

Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach 203

Posted by samzenpus
from the does-not-compute dept.
HughPickens.com writes "Patrick McGeehan writes in the NYT that the image of a pair of window washers clinging to a scaffold dangling outside the 68th floor of 1 World Trade Center have left many wondering why robots can't rub soapy water on glass and wipe it off with a squeegee relieving humans of the risk of injury, or death, from a plunge to the sidewalk? The simple answer, several experts say, is that washing windows is something that machines still cannot do as well as people can. "Building are starting to look like huge sculptures in the sky," says Craig Caulkins. "A robot can't maneuver to get around those curves to get into the facets of the building." According to Caulkins robotic cleaning systems tend to leave dirt in the corners of the glass walls that are designed to provide panoramic views from high floors. "If you are a fastidious owner wanting clean, clean windows so you can take advantage of that very expensive view that you bought, the last thing you want to see is that gray area around the rim of the window."

Another reason for the sparse use of robots is that buildings require a lot more maintenance than just window cleaning. Equipment is needed to lower people to repair facades and broken windows, like the one that rescue workers had to cut through with diamond cutters to rescue the window washers. For many years, being a window cleaner in Manhattan was regarded as one of the most dangerous occupations in the world: by 1932, an average of one in every two hundred window cleaners in New York was killed each year. Now all new union window cleaners now take two hundred and sixteen hours of classroom instruction, three thousand hours of accredited time with an employer and their union makes sure workers follow rigorous safety protocols. In all, there are about 700 scaffolds for window washing on buildings in New York City, says union representative Gerard McEneaney. His members are willing to do the work because it pays well: as much $26.89 an hour plus benefits. Many of the window cleaners are immigrants from South America. "They're fearless guys, fearless workers."
Android

Popular Smartphones Hacked At Mobile Pwn2Own 2014 52

Posted by timothy
from the keep-it-in-a-faraday-cage dept.
wiredmikey writes Researchers have hacked several popular smartphones during the Mobile Pwn2Own 2014 competition that took place alongside the PacSec Applied Security Conference in Tokyo this week. The competition, organized by HP's Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) targeted the Amazon Fire Phone, iPhone 5s, iPad Mini, BlackBerry Z30, Google Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, Nokia Lumia 1520, and Samsung Galaxy S5. Using various attacks, some Mobile Pwn2Own 2014 Pwnage included: Apple's iPhone 5s (hacked via the Safari Web browser, achieving a full sandbox escape); Samsung's Galaxy S5 (hacked multiple times using near-field communications attacks); Amazon's Fire Phone (Web browser exploited); Windows Phone (partial hacks using a browser attack), andthe Nexus 5 (a Wi-Fi attack, which failed to elevate privileges). All the exploits were disclosed privately to the affected companies. HP promised to reveal details in the upcoming weeks.
Education

Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks 219

Posted by samzenpus
from the falling-beyond dept.
dkatana writes Microsoft's licensing scheme, the high cost of support and difficult management of devices are the key factors making schools drop Windows for better alternatives as iPads and Chromebooks. Google is making a dent in the education market with Chromebooks. The internet giant has been promoting the use of Chrome OS with specific tools for schools to manage the devices, their apps and users. Its Chromebooks for Education program is helping schools deploy large numbers of devices with an easy management system. While Google is successful with Chromebooks as school laptops the clear winner on tablets is Apple. iPads are a the preferred platform for schools deploying tablets as digital learning devices.
Programming

Microsoft To Open Source .NET and Take It Cross-Platform 524

Posted by Soulskill
from the april-fools-headlines-from-10-years-ago dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft today announced plans to open source .NET, the company's software framework that primarily runs on Windows, and release it on GitHub. Furthermore, Microsoft also unveiled plans to take .NET cross-platform by targeting both Mac OS X and Linux. In the next release, Microsoft plans to open source the entire .NET server stack, from ASP.NET 5 down to the Common Language Runtime and Base Class Libraries. The company will let developers build .NET cloud applications on multiple platforms; it is promising future support of the .NET Core server runtime and framework for Mac and Linux. Microsoft is also making Visual Studio free for small teams.
Microsoft

Microsoft Patches OLE Zero-Day Vulnerability 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the putting-right-what-once-went-wrong dept.
msm1267 writes: Microsoft today released a patch for a zero-day vulnerability under active exploit in the wild. The vulnerability in OLE, or Microsoft Windows Object Linking and Embedding, enables a hacker to remotely execute code on an infected machine, and has been linked to attacks by the Sandworm APT group against government agencies and energy utilities. Microsoft also issued a massive Internet Explorer patch, but warned organizations that have deployed version 5.0 of its Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) to upgrade to version 5.1 before applying the IE patches. Version 5.1 resolves some compatibility issues, in addition to several mitigation enhancements.
Security

First Victims of the Stuxnet Worm Revealed 39

Posted by Soulskill
from the patient-zero dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Analyzing more than 2,000 Stuxnet files collected over a two-year period, Kaspersky Lab can identify the first victims of the Stuxnet worm. Initially security researchers had no doubt that the whole attack had a targeted nature. The code of the Stuxnet worm looked professional and exclusive; there was evidence that extremely expensive zero-day vulnerabilities were used. However, it wasn't yet known what kind of organizations were attacked first and how the malware ultimately made it right through to the uranium enrichment centrifuges in the particular top secret facilities. Kaspersky Lab analysis sheds light on these questions.
Firefox

Multi-Process Comes To Firefox Nightly, 64-bit Firefox For Windows 'Soon' 181

Posted by timothy
from the why-not-go-straight-to-640-bit dept.
An anonymous reader writes with word that the Mozilla project has made two announcements that should make hardcore Firefox users very happy. The first is that multi-process support is landing in Firefox Nightly, and the second is that 64-bit Firefox is finally coming to Windows. The features are a big deal on their own, but together they show Mozilla's commitment to the desktop version of Firefox as they both improve performance and security. The news is part of a slew of unveilings from the company on the browser's 10th anniversary — including new Firefox features and the debut of Firefox Developer Edition.
Graphics

Major Performance Improvement Discovered For Intel's GPU Linux Driver 96

Posted by Soulskill
from the striving-for-parity dept.
An anonymous reader writes: LunarG, on contract with Valve Software, discovered a critical shortcoming with the open-source Intel Linux graphics driver that was handicapping the performance. A special bit wasn't being set by the Linux driver but was by the Windows driver, which when enabled is increasing the Linux performance in many games by now ~20%+, which should allow for a much more competitive showing between Intel OpenGL performance on Windows vs. Linux. However, the patch setting this bit isn't public yet as apparently it's breaking video acceleration in certain cases.
It's funny.  Laugh.

CNN Anchors Caught On Camera Using Microsoft Surface As an iPad Stand 236

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-meant-to-be-seen dept.
MojoKid writes Since the release of its Surface Pro 3 tablet, Microsoft has pushed their new slate hard. It's as if the company wanted it to overwrite that part of our memory that recalls the Surface RT and its monumental losses. This past August, we saw the company make a big move by deploying a boatload of Surface Pro tablets to every team in the NFL, gratis. All season so far, coaches and even players have made use of them to plan their next course-of-action, and for the most part, they seemed to be well-received. Unlike some of the products Microsoft tries to get us to adopt, the Surface Pro 3 really is a solid tablet / convertible. Unfortunately, at least where the CNN political team is concerned, Microsoft hasn't won over a few anchors, like they have in NFL, when they were supplied with brand-new Surface Pros. In recent shots captured and tweeted about, a Surface Pro 3 can be seen acting as an "iPad stand," and quite an expensive one. As humorous as this is, it might not seem that interesting if it were just one correspondent who pulled that stunt. Let's be honest, some people just like their iPads. That wasn't the case, though. There were at least two commentators using an iPad on the same set, despite having the Surface right in front of them and seemingly hiding it behind Microsoft's darling Windows 8 slate.
Security

Google Releases Open Source Nogotofail Network Traffic Security Testing Tool 36

Posted by Soulskill
from the works-on-your-smart-fridge dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Google today introduced a new tool for testing network traffic security called Nogotofail. The company has released it as an open source project available on GitHub, meaning anyone can use it, contribute new features, provide support for more platforms, and do anything else with the end goal of helping to improve the security of the Internet. The tool's main purpose is to test whether the devices or applications you are using are safe against known TLS/SSL vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. Nogotofail works on Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, Chrome OS, OSX, and "in fact any device you use to connect to the Internet."
Windows

Windows 8 and 8.1 Pass 15% Market Share, Windows XP Drops Below 20% Mark 192

Posted by timothy
from the trading-places dept.
An anonymous reader writes Everyone is well-aware by now that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have not seen the impressive adoption rate of their predecessor. Yet the duo had a particularly good run last month, finally passing 15 percent market share together. Together, they owned 16.80 percent of the market at the end of October, up from 12.26 percent at the end of September. Windows XP meanwhile dropped a whopping 6.69 points to 17.18 percent. The biggest catalyst for these changes was most likely back to school sales in September, which are better reflected in the data after students use their new machines for a full month.
The Internet

Real Net Neutrality Problem: 'Edge Provider' vs 'End User' 97

Posted by timothy
from the what's-your-paradigm? dept.
An anonymous reader writes At the Washington Post, Brett Frischmann elaborates on the theory that the continuing flaw with the FCC's Net-Neutrality strategy lies in the perverse distinction between "End User" and "Edge Provider". Succinctly: "The key to an open Internet is nondiscrimination and in particular, a prohibition on discrimination or prioritization based on the identity of the user (sender/receiver) or use (application/content)," and then, "Who exactly are the end users that are not edge providers? In other words, who uses the Internet but does not provide any content, application, or service? The answer is no one. All end users provide content as they engage in communications with other end users, individually or collectively. ... Think of all the startups and small businesses run from people's homes on home Internet connections, using WordPress tools or Amazon hosting services. Are they 'end users' when they email their friends but 'edge providers' when they switch windows to check their business metrics?"
HP

Will HP's $200 Stream 11 Make People Forget About Chromebooks? 232

Posted by timothy
from the depends-on-one's-needs dept.
theodp writes With an 11.6" screen, Windows 8.1, and free Office 365 for a year, the $199.99 solid-state HP Stream 11 laptop is positioned to make people think twice about Chromebooks (add $30 for the HP Stream 13). But will it? "The HP Stream 11 is clearly both inexpensive and a great value," writes Paul Thurrott. "At just $200, it's cheap, of course. But it also features a solid-feeling construction, a bright and fun form factor, a surprisingly high-quality typing experience and a wonderful screen. This isn't a bargain bin throwaway. The Stream 11 is something special." The HP Stream Family also includes the HP Stream 7, a $99.99 Windows 8.1 Tablet that includes the Office 365 deal. By the way, at the other end of the price spectrum, HP has introduced the Sprout, which Fast Company calls a bold and weird PC that's bursting at the seams with new ideas, from 3-D scanning to augmented reality. (We mentioned the Sprout a few days ago, too; HP seems to be making some interesting moves lately, looks like they're getting on the smartwatch bandwagon, too.) If you're looking at the Stream as a cheap platform for OSes other than Windows, be cautious: one of the reviews at the Amazon page linked describes trouble getting recent Linux distributions to install.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington

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