Jun 27

Tekla Perry writes: When WYSIWIG pioneer Charles Simonyi went to space, he couldn’t but help notice the awkward user interface on the rocket’s control panel. It was a case of legacy systems, not wanting to change training and documentation, and an emulator that ran Unix on a 386 chip, he reported during a recent discussion on space software held at the Computer History Museum. “They liked the older chips because of radiation resistance and the feature set,” he pointed out, noting how operation of the virtual interface was trickier than it seemed. “There are rows and columns,” he said, “and you move the cursor over the button and use another button to push the virtual button.”

“On the right side,” he said, “there are these windows that are numbers you type in by pushing virtual buttons below them. You use the cursor keys to go to the virtual buttons then push an entry button that is virtual.” He added: “You can see that even as the technology changes, they want to keep as many things the same as possible.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Jun 26

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced that it has released version 2.0 of the DisplayPort (DP) audio/video standard. DP 2.0 is the “first major update to the DisplayPort standard since March 2016, and provides up to a 3X increase in data bandwidth performance compared to the previous version of DisplayPort (DP 1.4a), as well as new capabilities to address the future performance requirements of traditional displays,” it said in a statement. From a report: These include beyond 8K resolutions, higher refresh rates and high dynamic range (HDR) support at higher resolutions, improved support for multiple display configurations, as well as improved user experience with augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) displays, including support for 4K-and-beyond VR resolutions. The advantages of DP 2.0 are enjoyed across both the native DP connector as well as the USB Type-C connector, which carries the DP audio/video signal through DisplayPort Alt Mode. DP 2.0 is backward compatible with previous versions of DisplayPort and incorporates all of the key features of DP 1.4a, including support for visually lossless Display Stream Compression (DSC) with Forward Error Correction (FEC), HDR metadata transport, and other advanced features.

The increased video bandwidth performance of DP 2.0 carried over the USB-C connector enables simultaneous higher-speed USB data transfer without compromising display performance. DP 2.0 leverages the Thunderbolt 3 physical interface (PHY) layer while maintaining the flexibility of DP protocol in order to boost the data bandwidth and promote convergence across industry-leading IO standards. In addition, the new data rates of DP 2.0 come with a display stream data mapping protocol common to both single-stream transport and multi-stream transport. This common mapping further facilitates multi-stream transport support of DP 2.0 devices for a single DP port on the source device to drive multiple displays either via a docking station or daisy-chainable displays. First products incorporating DP 2.0 are projected to appear on the market by late 2020.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Jun 24

ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of the world’s largest data centers. Click here to schedule a meeting with our experts and executives.

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Jun 22

This week the New York Times’ Style section asked an interesting question. “Slack wants to replace email. Is that what we want?”
The company says it has 88,000 paying customers — a sliver of a sliver of the world’s desk-and-phone-bound office workers, and fewer than work full time at, for example, Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Speaking of Google, the company has a Slack alternative of its own, called Hangouts Chat, as does Facebook, in Workplace. Microsoft has Teams, which is bundled with its Office software and which the company says is being used by more than 500,000 organizations. This multifront attack on email is just beginning, but a wartime narrative already dominates: The universally despised office culture of replies and forwards and mass CCs and “looping in” and “circling back” is on its way out, and it’s going to be replaced by chat apps. So what happens if they actually win…?

For the right office, it’s a huge relief to chat. “I know for the engineering team it’s a game-changer,” said Shannon Todesca, an employee at CarGurus, an automotive shopping site. “It’s used to keep track of code pushes,” she said, as well as system errors. Workers also report dentist appointments and sick days to the #ooo (out of office) channel, preventing inboxes from getting clogged, or an early heads-up from getting lost. At Automattic, which runs Wordpress.com and a handful of smaller internet services, Slack is the glue that binds a fully remote “virtual office” of nearly 1,000 employees living in dozens of countries and working on vastly different products…

Rank-and-file employees were more likely to share concerns about the new era of office chat… Most common were mixed feelings, often related to privacy and productivity. “We’ve had to consciously discuss using Slack less often,” said Lacey Berrien, who works at marketing startup Drift. “I had our IT team check a few weeks ago, and we were up to over 950 Slack channels,” she said, “and that doesn’t count the private ones….” I have also spent the last 10 years at companies where work chat was the norm and observed the arrival of Slack with both relief and suspicion. Finally, a better work chat app. Then: Oh god, this is really how people are going to work, now?

I remember using chat logs to trace back the discussions that led to buggy programs. (Though obviously you can do the same thing with archived emails.) So I’d be interested to hear how Slashdot’s readers would answer the question.

Should Slack-like chat clients replace email?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Jun 16

Researchers from Austria’s Graz University of Technology “have devised an automated system for browser profiling using two new side channel attacks that can help expose information about software and hardware,” reports The Register.

The researchers recently presented a paper titled “JavaScript Template Attacks: Automatically Inferring Host Information for Targeted Exploits,” which The Register says “calls into question the effectiveness of anonymized browsing and browser privacy extensions… ”

Long-time Slashdot reader Artem S. Tashkinov shared their report:
One of the side-channel attacks developed for JavaScript Template Attacks involve measuring runtime differences between two code snippets to infer the underlying instruction set architecture through variations in JIT compiler behavior. The other involves measuring timing differences in the memory allocator to infer the allocated size of a memory region.

The boffins’ exploration of the JavaScript environment reveals not only the ability to fingerprint via browser version, installed privacy extension, privacy mode, operating system, device microarchitecture, and virtual machine, but also the properties of JavaScript objects. And their research shows there are far more of these than are covered in official documentation. This means browser fingerprints have the potential to be far more detailed — have more data points — than they are now.

The Mozilla Developer Network documentation for Firefox, for example, covers 2,247 browser properties. The researchers were able to capture 15,709. Though not all of these are usable for fingerprinting and some represent duplicates, they say they found about 10,000 usable properties for all browsers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Jun 16

“NetApp’s vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is,” explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.

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Jun 16

An anonymous reader quotes Computerworld columnist Mike Elgan:
Ambient computing is real. It’s the next megatrend in computing…. To interact in an “ambient computing” context means to not care and not even necessarily know where exactly the devices are that you’re interacting with. When IoT devices and sensors are all around us, and artificial intelligence can understand human contexts for what’s happening and act accordingly and in our interests, then ambient computing will have arrived…

As with many technology revolutions, including augmented reality and AI, the buzzword ambient will precede the actual technology by many years. In fact, the marketing buzzword is suddenly here in full force. The actual technologies? Not so much. Instead, we’re on the brink of a revolution in what you might call “semi-ambient computing….”

Rumors are circulating that Google’s next smartphones, the Pixel 4 line, may come with Soli built in. I told you in January about Google’s Project Soli, which may be called the “Aware” sensor or feature in the Pixel 4 — again, according to unconfirmed rumors. Soli or Aware capability means the Pixel 4 may accept in-the-air hand gestures, such as “skip” and “silence” during music playback. The new Google “wave” is a hand gesture. The ability to wave away music with a hand gesture brings the smartphone into the semi-ambient computing era. It basically adds natural hand gestures to natural-language processing…. Google also briefly talked last year about a healthcare assistant called Dr. Liz., which was described by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt as an ambient computing virtual assistant for doctors. We’ll see if Google ever ships a Dr. Liz product…
Yes, ambient computing is real, and the Next Big Thing, showing up first in business, enterprises and healthcare. But for now, the term ambient computing will be misapplied. It’s a buzzword that will be stapled to every semi-ambient computing product and service that comes out over the next few years.

The article predicts we’ll eventually see ambient computing arriving in cars, grocery stores, smart glasses — and notes a Microsoft job listing for its “Ambient Computing & Robotics team” describing “the era where computer vision, AI-based cognition, and autonomous electro-mechanicals pervade the workplace.”

Computerworldd adds that Microsoft “was mocked for its ‘Clippy’ assistant, which the company released in 1996 as a way to provide friendly help for people using Microsoft Office. In the future, Microsoft may release what will essentially be a Clippy that works, because it will understand human context through AI.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Jun 16

malachiorion writes:
Facebook just open sourced a simulator for testing and training embodied AI systems — like virtual robots. They worked with AR/VR researchers to release the simulator along with what they say are the most photorealistic 3D reconstructions of real world places available. [Facebook Reality Labs have named this “the Replica data set”.]

The crazy part: Because more frames are always better for training computer vision in simulators, it can run at 10,000 FPS!

The simulator’s ability to hit 10K frames per second prompted an interesting follow-up on the original submission. “It’s a totally useless framerate for humans — just absolute overkill for our brains/eyeballs — but it’s apparently a benefit for AI systems.”

“As more researchers adopt the platform, we can collectively develop embodied AI techniques more quickly,” explains Facebook’s blog post, “as well as realize the larger benefits of replacing yesterday’s training data sets with active environments that better reflect the world we’re preparing machine assistants to operate in.”

And if you’re worried about privacy, Facebook assures readers that “The data used to generate Replica scans was anonymized to remove any personal details (such as family photos) that could identify an individual. The overall reconstruction process was meticulous, with researchers manually filling in the small holes that are inevitably missed during scanning and using a 3D paint tool to apply annotations directly onto meshes.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Jun 14

Kubernetes as a Container Platform is becoming a de facto for every enterprise. In my interactions with enterprises adopting container platform, I come across common questions: - How does application security work on this platform? What all do I need to secure? - How do I implement security in pipelines? - What about vulnerabilities discovered at a later point in time? - What are newer technologies like Istio Service Mesh bring to table?In this session, I will be addressing these commonly asked questions that every enterprise trying to adopt an Enterprise Kubernetes Platform needs to know so that they can make informed decisions.

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Jun 12

The next BriefingsDirect digital transformation success story examines how local governments in Norway benefit from a common platform approach for safe and efficient public data distribution. We’ll now learn how Norway’s 18 counties are gaining a common shared pool for data on young people’s health and other sensitive information thanks to streamlined benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), containers, and microservices.

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