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Updated: 19 min 3 sec ago

Peachy Printer Funds Embezzled To Build New Home Instead of $100 3D Printer

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 7:10pm
Reader szczys writes (edited): Peachy Printer made it big on Kickstarter, raising over half a million dollars on the promise to build the first 3D printer and scanner costing $100. The company has now collapsed due to embezzlement (Editor's note: BBC's coverage is better) of those funds. The original investor stole around $350,000 of backer's money and funneled it into a new home. This was discovered about 18 months ago but became public only now as the company is unable to meet their already delayed delivery dates. Peachy Printer has posted a video admitting the screw-up. Sounds familiar?

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'I Know How To Program, But I Don't Know What To Program'

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 6:30pm
An anonymous reader has shared an interesting article that talks about one of the most common challenges faced by novice developers: "I know how to program, but I don't know what to program." The author of the article also shares his views on some of the most common solutions for that problem: "do programming challenges", "contribute to an open source project", or "make a game." From the post: Doing programming challenges is good mental practice, but they do little to help someone learn how to create a new program. Contributing to an open source project is a step up. You might learn about how a real project is structured and improve your skill with the programming language, but you won't learn much about the full lifecycle of a project. Some projects are very complex too which can be intimidating for a novice. Making a game is another step up. Games are fun! I started by programming games in QBASIC. The same dilemma arises though. "I want to make a game, but I don't know what to make." The author advises these beginners to try rewriting a library which already exists (despite this being considered as a prohibited practice by many). Developers should also not wait to get the "best idea" before they begin writing it, the author adds. From the post: I've seen the same mentality with musicians. Trying to create a masterpiece on their first attempt, putting all their energy into one song and not seeing a bigger picture. The bigger picture being, you will write LOTS of songs over time, not just one!

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Slashdot Asks: How Long Before Self-Driving Cars Become Mainstream?

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 5:40pm
Here's the thing, regardless of one's stand on self-driving cars, they are no longer a futuristic idea. Major car companies such as Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes have already released an autonomous vehicle or plan to release one soon. Sergio Marchionne, an Italian-Canadian executive who is currently the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, recently said: It isn't pie in the sky. People are talking about 20 years. I think we will have it in five years. ZDNet has published its interview of Jim McBride, technical leader in Ford's autonomous vehicles team, who thinks self-driving cars are five years away from changing the world. At the same time, we must acknowledge the talks about these smart vehicles killing many jobs, and the security vulnerabilities we read every once in a while. What's your take on this?

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Microsoft Removes Wi-Fi Sense Feature From Windows 10 Which Shared Your Wi-Fi Password

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 5:00pm
Microsoft says it has removed the controversial Wi-Fi Sense feature that shared a user's password with their friends and people in the contact list. "We have removed the Wi-Fi Sense feature that allows you to share Wi-Fi networks with your contacts and to be automatically connected to networks shared by your contacts," says Microsoft's Gabe Aul. "The cost of updating the code to keep this feature working combined with low usage and low demand made this not worth further investment." Ben Woods, writing for The Next Web: The feature allows you to share Wi-Fi login information with friends automatically via your contacts, however it got a controversial reception due to privacy implications. Do you really want to share your Wi-Fi codes with everyone in your contacts? No, of course not. It seems that was the general response from users too, so that option will be removed in the upcoming Windows 10 Insider Preview update, Microsoft says. Public Wi-Fi login info will remain in the app though.

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NASA Releases 56 Patents Into the Public Domain For Commercial Use

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 4:21pm
Luke Lancaster, writing for CNET: NASA has released 56 of its previously patented technologies to the public domain for unrestricted commercial use. The released patents are completely free to use and don't require any licensing agreements with the US space agency. "These technologies were developed to advance NASA missions but may have non-aerospace applications and be used by commercial space ventures and other companies free of charge, eliminating the time, expense and paperwork often associated with licensing intellectual property," NASA's Gina Anderson said in a statement.

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Facebook Open-Sources Capture the Flag Competition Platform As It Encourages Students

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 3:42pm
An anonymous reader writes: Facebook announced today that it is making its gamified security training platform called Capture the Flag (CTF) open source in an effort to encourage students and developers to learn about online security and bugs. The platform, which is popular at hacker conventions such as Def Con, pits different teams of hackers against one another. The social juggernaut itself has run CTF competitions at events across the world."By open sourcing our platform, schools, student groups, and organizations across all skill levels can now host competitions, practice sessions, and conferences of their own to teach computer science and security skills," wrote Gulshan Singh, a software engineer on Facebook's threat infrastructure team. "We're also releasing a small repository of challenges that can be used immediately upon request (to prevent cheating)."

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Italian Military To Save Up To 29 Million Euro By Migrating To LibreOffice

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 3:00pm
Reader prisoninmate writes: Following on last year's bold announcement that they will attempt to migrate from proprietary Microsoft Office products to an open-source alternative like LibreOffice, Italy's Ministry of Defense now expects to save up to 29 million Euro with this move. We said it before, and we'll say it again, this is the smartest choice a government institution can do. And to back up this statement, the Italian Ministry of Defense announced that they expect to save between 26 and 29 million Euro over the next few years by migrating to the LibreOffice open-source software for productivity and adopting the Open Document Format (ODF).

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WhatsApp Now Has a Desktop App, Available on Windows, OS X

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 2:20pm
WhatsApp is now also available as a native desktop app on Windows and OS X, the Facebook-owned instant messaging and voice calling company announced. The app supports desktop notifications, keyboard shortcuts and a range of other features. For the desktop app to function, users still need to have their phone connected to the Internet. WhatsApp isn't very popular in the United States and European countries, but it has a large user base of active users in the emerging markets such as India and Brazil. In fact, earlier this year, the company announced that it has hit one billion monthly active users. For those interested, you can download the app for your desktop (or any other device) from the company's website.

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Jeremy Clarkson's Amazon Show To Be Called The Grand Tour

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 1:50pm
Jasper Jackson and Dugald Baird, writing for The Guardian: Amazon's new motoring show starring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May will be called The Grand Tour. In a statement, the former Top Gear trio thanked fans for taking the time to send in their suggestions for the name, which they said were "much appreciated". "Thing is," said Clarkson, "we'll be travelling the world hosting each episode in a different country, from a giant tent. It's a sort of 'grand tour', if you like. So we've decided to call it The Grand Tour." May said he was underwhelmed by the name. "I wanted to call it 'Nigel', or 'Roger'," he said. "We needed a name, and they're names." Hammond was more positive. "I already love camping," he said. "But this is something else. We are like our pioneering and prospecting forebears, sallying forth into a new frontier of broadcasting, and making our home where."

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Mozilla Launches Test Pilot, A Firefox Add-On For Trying Experimental Features

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 1:00pm
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Test Pilot, a program for trying out experimental Firefox features. To try the new functionality Mozilla is offering for its browser, you have to download a Firefox add-on from testpilot.firefox.com and enable an experiment. The main caveat is that experiments are currently only available in English (though Mozilla promises to add more languages "later this year"). Test Pilot was first introduced for Firefox 3.5, but the new program has been revamped since then, featuring three main components: Activity Stream, Tab Center and Universal Search. Activity Stream is designed to help you navigate your browsing history faster, surfacing your top sites along with highlights from your browsing history and bookmarks. Tab Center displays open tabs vertically along the side of your screen. Mozilla says Universal Search "combines the Awesome Bar history with the Firefox Search drop down menu to give you the best recommendations so you can spend less time sifting through search results and more time enjoying the web."

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NASA's Planet Hunter Spots Record 1,284 New Planets, 9 In A Habitable Zone

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 10:00am
coondoggie quotes a report from Network World: NASA's planet hunting space telescope Kepler added a record 1,284 confirmed planets to its already impressive discoveries of extraterrestrial worlds. [This batch of planets is the largest single account of new planets since Kepler launched in 2009 and more than doubles the number of confirmed planets realized by the space telescope so far to more than 2,300.] The discoveries were a result of an automated technique implemented in a publicly available custom software package called Vespa, which lets scientists analyze thousands of signals Kepler has identified to determine which are most likely to be caused by planets and which are caused by non-planetary objects such as stars. "Vespa computed the reliability values for over 7,000 signals identified in the latest Kepler catalog which identified 4,302 potential planets and verified the 1,284 planets with 99% certainty," said the Princeton researchers that developed Vespa. NASA said, based on their size, nearly 550 of the validated planets could be rocky like Earth. Nine of which orbit in their sun's habitable zone.

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Atomic Oxygen Detected In Martian Atmosphere

Wed, 11/05/2016 - 7:00am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: Atomic oxygen has been detected in the atmosphere of Mars, according to NASA. The atoms were discovered in the Martian mesosphere, the upper layers of the red planet's atmosphere. This discovery will enable researchers to have a better understanding of the elusive Martian atmosphere. Atomic oxygen can help scientists determine atmospheric erosion and how other gases escape Mars. It also affects the radiative cooling from the carbon-dioxide bands in the Martian thermosphere, which is above the mesosphere. The atomic oxygen discovery was made using an instrument on board the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA. SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP jet that has been modified for research purposes to carry a 100-inch diameter telescope. Using the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies, known as GREAT, allowed researchers to distinguish between oxygen from our atmosphere and that of the Martian atmosphere. They discovered half the amount of atomic oxygen expected, most likely due to variations in the atmosphere itself, and scientists will continue to use SOFIA to study the Martian atmosphere.

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