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Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'

Soulskill posted 3 hours ago | from the competing-for-the-forearm dept.

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Microsoft has announced the availability of "Microsoft Band," a wearable device that goes on the wrist. It's designed to do health- and fitness-related tasks, like monitoring heart rate and how well a wearer sleeps, and its on-board GPS lets users map their run/bike routes. The company says Band plays nicely with iOS and Android devices in addition to Windows phones. It also has full support for viewing phone notifications and calendar alerts, and a built-in microphone enables queries through the Cortana personal assistant software. The display is rectangular, 11mm x 33mm (0.43" x 1.3"), and has a resolution of 320x106. They claim a battery life of 48 hours, with a charge time of 1.5 hours or less. The device costs $200.

Denmark Plans To Be Coal-Free In 10 Years

samzenpus posted 12 hours ago | from the cleaning-the-system dept.

Power 221

merbs writes "Earlier this year, Denmark's leadership announced that the nation would run entirely on renewable power by 2050. Wind, solar, and biomass would be ramped up while coal and gas are phased out. Now Denmark has gone even further, and plans to end coal by 2025.

France Investigating Mysterious Drone Activity Over 7 Nuclear Power Plant Sites

samzenpus posted yesterday | from the nothing-to-see-here dept.

Power 99

thygate writes In France, an investigation has been launched into the appearance of "drones" on 7 different nuclear power plant sites across the country in the last month. Some of the plants involved are Creys-Malville en Bugey in the southeast, Blayais in the southwest, Cattenom en Chooz in the northeast, Gravelines in the north, and Nogent-sur-Seine, close to Paris. It is forbidden to fly over these sites on altitudes less than 1 km in a 5 km radius. According to a spokesman of the state electric company that runs the facilities (EDF), there was no danger to the security and production of the plants. However these incidents will likely bring nuclear safety concerns back into the spotlight.

How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

timothy posted yesterday | from the maybe-they-could-merge-with-timex dept.

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Nerval's Lobster writes Apple design chief Jony Ive has spent the past several weeks talking up how the Apple Watch is an evolution on many of the principles that guided the evolution of timepieces over the past several hundred years. But the need to recharge the device on a nightly basis, now confirmed by Apple CEO Tim Cook, is a throwback to ye olden days, when a lady or gentleman needed to keep winding her or his pocket-watch in order to keep it running. Watch batteries were supposed to bring "winding" to a decisive end, except for that subset of people who insist on carrying around a mechanical timepiece. But with Apple Watch's requirement that the user constantly monitor its energy, what's old is new again. Will millions of people really want to charge and fuss with their watch at least once a day?

Lenovo Completes Motorola Deal

timothy posted yesterday | from the capital-is-mobile dept.

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SmartAboutThings writes If somehow you missed the reports of Lenovo buying Motorola – which was also bought by Google for $12.5 billion back in 2011 – then you should know that the deal is now complete. Lenovo has announced today that Motorola is now a Lenovo company — which makes Lenovo not only the number one PC maker in the world but also the third-largest smartphone maker.

HP Unveils Industrial 3D Printer 10X Faster, 50% Cheaper Than Current Systems

samzenpus posted 2 days ago | from the brand-new dept.

HP 105

Lucas123 writes HP today announced an 3D industrial printer that it said will be half the cost of current additive manufacturing systems while also 10 times faster, enabling production parts to be built. The company also announced Sprout, a new immersive computing platform that combines a 23-in touch screen monitor and horizontal capacitive touch mat with a scanner, depth sensor, hi-res camera, and projector in a single desktop device. HP's Multi Jet Fusion printer will be offered to beta customers early next year and is expected to be generally available in 2016. The machine uses a print bar with 30,000 nozzles spraying 350 million drops a second of thermoplastic or other materials onto a print platform. The Multi Jet Fusion printer uses fused deposition modeling, an additive manufacturing technology first invented in 1990. the printer works by first laying down a layer of powder material across a build area. Then a fusing agent is selectively applied with the page-wide print bar. Then the same print bar applies a detailing agent at the parts edge to give high definition. The material is then exposed to an energy source that fuses it.

16-Teraflops, £97m Cray To Replace IBM At UK Meteorological Office

Soulskill posted 2 days ago | from the crayzy-powerful dept.

Supercomputing 123

Memetic writes: The UK weather forecasting service is replacing its IBM supercomputer with a Cray XC40 containing 17 petabytes of storage and capable of 16 TeraFLOPS. This is Cray's biggest contract outside the U.S. With 480,000 CPUs, it should be 13 times faster than the current system. It will weigh 140 tons. The aim is to enable more accurate modeling of the unstable UK climate, with UK-wide forecasts at a resolution of 1.5km run hourly, rather than every three hours, as currently happens. (Here's a similar system from the U.S.)

XYZPrinting Releases All-In-One 3D Printer With Internal Laser Scanner

timothy posted 3 days ago | from the all-in-one-gets-a-new-factor dept.

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Lucas123 writes XYZPrinting today released the first 3D printer with embedded scanner that has the ability to replicate objects between 2-in and 6-in in size and print objects of up to 7.8-in square from .stl files. The printer's retailing for $799. A review of the new da Vinci 1.0 AiO all-in-one 3D printer revealed the 3D scanning capability, which is supposed to have a .05mm resolution, captures overall size and some finer features of an object but it falls short when it comes to precise details; thin protrusions and through-object holes are often missed in a scan. The mechanics — the printing head, two laser scanning/camera pods and turntable, and the motorized print table — are fully enclosed in a sleek-looking blue and white cubical case with a large transparent, hinged-front door. The front of the printer has a simple push button keypad for traversing a menu on a 2.6-in LCD black-and-white display. The printer is about 18-in. x 20-in. x 22-in. in size and weighs 60.6 lbs. While this is a desktop printer, it takes up a sizeable amount of room on your desk. It can print with either ABS or PLA thermopolymer.

Microsoft Works On Windows For ARM-Based Servers

timothy posted 3 days ago | from the arms-race dept.

Microsoft 112

SmartAboutThings writes According to some reports from the industry, Microsoft is working on a version of its software for servers that run on chips based on ARM Holdings's technology. Windows Server now runs on Intel hardware, but it seems that Redmond wants to diversify its strategy. An ARM-based version of Windows Server could help challenge Intel's dominance and make a place for ARM in the server market, not only in mobile chips. According to the article, though, Microsoft "hasn’t yet decided whether to make the software commercially available."

Alienware's Triangular Area-51 Re-Design With Tri-SLI GeForce GTX 980, Tested

timothy posted 3 days ago | from the where-are-you-priorities dept.

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MojoKid writes Dell's Alienware division recently released a radical redesign of their Area-51 gaming desktop. With 45-degree angled front and rear face plates that are designed to direct control and IO up toward the user, in addition to better directing cool airflow in, while warm airflow is directed up and away from the rear of the chassis, this triangular-shaped machine grabs your attention right away. In testing and benchmarks, the Area-51's new design enables top-end performance with thermal and acoustic profiles that are fairly impressive versus most high-end gaming PC systems. The chassis design is also pretty clean, modular and easily servicable. Base system pricing isn't too bad, starting at $1699 with the ability to dial things way up to an 8-core Haswell-E chip and triple GPU graphics from NVIDIA and AMD. The test system reviewed at HotHardware was powered by a six-core Core i7-5930K chip and three GeForce GTX 980 cards in SLI. As expected, it ripped through the benchmarks, though the price as configured and tested is significantly higher.

OneDrive Delivers Unlimited Cloud Storage To Office 365 Subscribers

samzenpus posted 3 days ago | from the bigger-cloud dept.

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First time accepted submitter FlyHelicopters writes "Dropbox, Google, Microsoft, and others have been competing to become your favorite place to store stuff in the cloud. Just this past June, Microsoft upgraded Office 365 users from 25GB to 1TB, now they are upping the ante with unlimited OneDrive storage. There remains a single file size limit of 10GB per file, it is not clear if that limit will be removed with this upgrade.

Haier Plans To Embed Area Wireless Chargers In Home Appliances

samzenpus posted 4 days ago | from the power-up dept.

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Lucas123 writes Haier has signed a development agreement with Energous, a maker of the WattUp wireless charging router. Haier plans incorporate the technology in appliances allowing enabled mobile devices and wearables to take a charge at up 15 feet away. The white goods maker is expected to come out with the enabled appliances in the next 14 months or so. The WattUp router uses radio frequency (RF) transmissions to send up to 4 watts of power in a 15-ft. radius. Within 5 feet of a WattUp wireless router, a mobile device can be charged at the same rate as if it were plugged into a wall socket, but as the distance increase the charging capability dissipates. For example, at a range of 5-to-10 feet, charging capability drops to 2 watts per device and at 10-to-15 feet, the router puts out 1 watt per device (4 watts total). Pleasanton, Calif.-based Energous raised nearly $25 million when it went public earlier this year. Its chief marketing officer said the company has joint development agreements in the works with battery makers, smartphone sleeve and wearable device manufacturers. Haier hasn't disclosed what products it plans to enable with wireless charging.

Apple A8X IPad Air 2 Processor Packs Triple-Core CPU, Hefty Graphics Punch

samzenpus posted 5 days ago | from the give-me-the-numbers dept.

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MojoKid writes When Apple debuted its A8 SoC, it proved to be a modest tweak of the original A7. Despite packing double the transistors and an improved GPU, the heart of the A8 SoC is the same dual-core Apple "Cyclone" processor tweaked to run at higher clock speeds and with stronger total GPU performance. Given this, many expected that the Apple A8X would be cut from similar cloth — a higher clock speed, perhaps, and a larger GPU, but not much more than that. It appears those projections were wrong. The Apple A8X chip is a triple-core variant of the A8, with a higher clock speed (1.5GHz vs. 1.4GHz), a larger L2 cache (2MB, up from 1MB) and 2GB of external DDR3. It also uses an internal metal heatspreader, which the Apple A8 eschews. All of this points to slightly higher power consumption for the core, but also to dramatically increased performance. The new A8X is a significant power house in multiple types of workloads; in fact, its the top-performing mobile device on Geekbench by a wide margin. Gaming benchmarks are equally impressive. The iPad Air 2 nudges out Nvidia's Shield in GFXBench's Manhattan offscreen test, at 32.4fps to 31 fps. Onscreen favors the NV solution thanks to its lower-resolution screen, but the Nvidia device does take 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited by a wide margin, clocking in at 30,970 compared to 21,659.

Ask Slashdot: How Do I Make a High-Spec PC Waterproof?

Soulskill posted 5 days ago | from the lots-of-duct-tape dept.

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jimwormold writes: I need to build a system for outdoor use, capable of withstanding a high pressure water jet! "Embedded PC," I hear you cry. Well, ideally yes. However, the system does a fair bit of number crunching on a GPU (GTX970) and there don't appear to be any such embedded systems available. The perfect solution will be as small as possible (ideally about 1.5x the size of a motherboard, and the height will be limited to accommodate the graphics card). I'm U.K.- based, so the ambient temperature will range from -5C to 30C, so I presume some sort of active temperature control would be useful.

I found this helpful discussion, but it's 14 years old. Thus, I thought I'd post my question here. Do any of you enlightened Slashdotters have insights to this problem, or know of any products that will help me achieve my goals?

New Oculus SDK Adds Experimental Linux Support and Unity Free For Rift Headset

Soulskill posted 5 days ago | from the immersive-tux dept.

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An anonymous reader writes: Oculus, creator of the Rift VR headset, has released a new version of their SDK which brings with it long sought-after support for Linux, which the company says is "experimental." Linux support was previously unavailable since the launch of the company's second development kit, the DK2. The latest SDK update also adds support for Unity Free, the non-commercial version of the popular game authoring engine. Previously, Unity developers needed the Pro version—costing $1,500 or $75/month—to create experiences for the Oculus Rift.

Microsoft Now Makes Money From Surface Line, Q1 Sales Reach Almost $1 Billion

timothy posted about a week ago | from the but-that's-just-on-the-surface dept.

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SmartAboutThings writes Microsoft has recently published its Q1 fiscal 2015 earnings report, disclosing that it has made $4.5 billion in net income on $23.20 billion in revenue. According to the report, revenue has increased by $4.67 billion, compared to $18.53 billion from the same period last year. However, net income has decreased 14 percent compared to last year's $5.24 billion mainly because of the $1.14 billion cost associated with the integration and restructuring expenses related to the Nokia acquisition.

But what's finally good news for the company is that the Surface gross margin was positive this quarter, which means the company finally starts making money on Surface sales. Microsoft didn't yet reveal Surface sales, but we know that Surface revenue was $908 million this quarter, up a massive 127 percent from the $400 million this time last year. However, if we assume that the average spent amount on the purchase of this year's Surface Pro 3 was around $1000, then we have less than 1 million units sold, which isn't that impressive, but it's a good start.

Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

Soulskill posted about a week ago | from the my-compliments-to-the-chefbot dept.

Robotics 714

dcblogs writes: McDonald's this week told financial analysts of its plans to install self-ordering kiosks and mobile ordering at its restaurants. This news prompted the Wall Street Journal to editorialize, in " Minimum Wage Backfire," that while it may be true for McDonald's to say that its tech plans will improve customer experience, the move is also "a convenient way...to justify a reduction in the chain's global workforce." Minimum wage increase advocates, the Journal argued, are speeding along an automation backlash. But banks have long relied on ATMs, and grocery stores, including Walmart, have deployed self-service checkouts. In contrast, McDonald's hasn't changed its basic system of taking orders since its founding in the 1950s, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a research group focused on the restaurant industry. While mobile, kiosks and table ordering systems may help reduce labor costs, the automated self-serve technology is seen as an essential. It will take the stress out of ordering (lines) at fast food restaurants, and the wait for checks at more casual restaurants. It also helps with upselling and membership to loyalty programs. People who can order a drink refill off a tablet, instead of waving down waitstaff, may be more inclined to do so. Moreover, analysts say younger customers want self-service options.

FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Soulskill posted about a week ago | from the righteous-backpedaling dept.

Hardware 571

New submitter weilawei writes: Last night, FTDI, a Scottish manufacturer of USB-to-serial ICs, posted a response to the ongoing debacle over its allegedly intentional bricking of competitors' chips. In their statement, FTDI CEO Fred Dart said, "The recently release driver release has now been removed from Windows Update so that on-the-fly updating cannot occur. The driver is in the process of being updated and will be released next week. This will still uphold our stance against devices that are not genuine, but do so in a non-invasive way that means that there is no risk of end user's hardware being directly affected." This may have resulted from a discussion with Microsoft engineers about the implications of distributing potentially malicious driver software.

If you design hardware, what's your stance on this? Will you continue to integrate FTDI chips into your products? What alternatives are available to replace their functionality?

Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

timothy posted about a week ago | from the percentages-matter-too-though dept.

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relliker writes In the olden days, when monitoring a file system of a few 100 MB, we would be alerted when it topped 90% or more, with 95% a lot of times considered quite critical. Today, however, with a lot of file systems in the Terabyte range, a 90-95% full file system can still have a considerable amount of free space but we still mostly get bugged by the same alerts as in the days of yore when there really isn't a cause for immediate concern. Apart from increasing thresholds and/or starting to monitor actual free space left instead of a percentage, should it be time for monitoring systems to become a bit more intelligent by taking space usage trends and heuristics into account too and only warn about critical usage when projected thresholds are exceeded? I'd like my system to warn me with something like, 'Hey!, you'll be running out of space in a couple of months if you go on like this!' Or is this already the norm and I'm still living in a digital cave? What do you use, on what operating system?

Apple 1 Sells At Auction For $905,000

timothy posted about a week ago | from the hey-motherboard-problems-are-an-apple-tradition dept.

The Almighty Buck 81

Dave Knott writes One of the few remaining examples of Apple Inc's first pre-assembled computer, the Apple 1, sold for $905,000 at an auction in New York on Wednesday. The final price outstrips expectations, as auction house Bonhams had said it expected to sell the machine, which was working as of September, for between $300,000 and $500,000. The buyer was The Henry Ford organization, which plans to display the computer in its museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Only 63 surviving authentic Apple 1's were listed in an Apple 1 Registry as of January out of the 200 that were built. The auctioned computer is thought to be one of the first batch of 50 Apple-1 machines assembled by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in Steve Job's family garage in Los Altos, California in the summer of 1976. It is also believed to be one of only 15 that still have functioning motherboards. That's a bit more beastly than the original price.

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