Geek Stuff

Pebble’s smartwatches get price drops, new features: Now starting at $99

Liliputing -

Pebble was one of the first company’s to make a big splash in the smartwatch space. But now that there’s growing competition from Samsung, Apple, Motorola, LG, and others, what’s an early innovator to do? Drop prices and add new features, apparently. Pebble has announced it’s cutting the prices of all its smartwatches by $50, and […]

Pebble’s smartwatches get price drops, new features: Now starting at $99 is a post from: Liliputing

eBay To Spin Off PayPal

Slashdot -

In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion in stock. Nowadays, PayPal's yearly revenues exceed $7 billion, and investors are worried that eBay and PayPal together are too big to compete effectively. (They're also too big to be acquired, which is on their minds after the ludicrously successful Alibaba IPO.) To solve that problem, eBay today announced it will be spinning off PayPal in 2015, creating two separate publicly traded companies. eBay's current CEO is stepping down, and each of the companies will have a new CEO. "As part of the separation, eBay and PayPal will sign arm’s length commercial operating agreements to work together, with payments on both sides for various referrals and services. That’s no surprise since about 30 percent of PayPal’s business is still on eBay, although that is down from 50 percent only a few years ago."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft skips a number, introduces Windows 10

Liliputing -

The next version of Microsoft Windows won’t be called Windows 9 or “threshold.” It’s Windows 10. The software company’s vision for its next operating system is a single OS that runs on a wide range of devices including phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and PCs. In some ways, it’s Windows One… with a zero after the […]

Microsoft skips a number, introduces Windows 10 is a post from: Liliputing

Deals of the Day (9-30-2014)

Liliputing -

The Asus Transformer Book T100 was released nearly a year ago, but it’s still one of the best 2-in-1 Windows tablets available for under $300. And right now it’s available for way under $300. The 10 inch tablet features an Intel Atom Z3740 Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. It also comes […]

Deals of the Day (9-30-2014) is a post from: Liliputing

Shedding a Little Sunlight On a Trademark Bully

EFF's Deeplinks -

Another day, another stupid trademark threat. The target this time? The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting government transparency. As part of its work, it posts detailed information about corporate campaign contributions, information that often includes logos associated with those corporations. One of those corporations, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, objected, and asked that Sunlight remove its logos. The note was quite polite for a takedown, stressing that Deloitte had no objection to the other content on the site (gee, thanks guys!). But polite or not, it's a note that would be pretty intimidating for most individuals, nonprofits, and small businesses who don't have easy access to a lawyer.

Fortunately, Sunlight was not intimidated. They reached out to EFF, and today we responded on their behalf. As we explained, no person could possibly be confused as to whether Deloitte endorses the Sunlight Foundation or its activities. Moreover, it is well-settled that the First Amendment fully protects the use of trademarked terms and logos in non-commercial websites that comment upon corporations and products. Sunlight's site is a clear example such protected expression. These are all points that Deloitte could have figured out for itself, if it had bothered to give the matter a moment's thought.

That is what is particularly chilling about this takedown. Too often, we see this kind of casual censorship, where owners, (or their agents) shoot off complaints against any use of their marks, without regard for the consequences. Mindless over-enforcement is unnecessary, burdensome, and feeds a censorship culture. It has to stop.

A first step is for Deloitte, and other trademark owners, to adopt enforcement policies that explicitly recognize that their trademark rights do not and cannot trump the First Amendment. Imagine the impact on free speech if you needed a “grant of permission” from BP, Coca-Cola, or EFF before using one of their trademarks as part of speech commenting on their conduct. Fortunately, we don’t live in such a world; no one needs to seek permission for every use of a name or logo.

The second step is for mark owners to finally reject the notion that a mark-holder must enforce its mark in every instance or risk losing it. Quite simply, the view that a trademark holder must trawl the internet and respond to every unauthorized use (or even every infringing use) is a myth. The circumstances under which a company could actually lose a trademark—such as abandonment and genericide—are quite limited. Pretending otherwise is great for some trademark lawyers' bottom lines, but it's irritating and expensive for everyone else. And when done clumsily or maliciously, it chills free expression. Rejecting the myth would not only help the public, it should reduce also mark-holders' legal bills. Win-win, right? Right.


Files:  lttdeloitte.pdfRelated Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceNo Downtime for Free Speech
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HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet

Slashdot -

jfruh writes While Windows-based tablets haven't exactly set the world on fire, Microsoft hasn't given up on them, and its hardware partners haven't either. HP has announced a series of Windows tablets, with the 7-inch low-end model, the Stream 7, priced at $99. The Stream brand is also being used for low-priced laptops intended to compete with Chromebooks (which HP also sells). All are running Intel chips and full Windows, not Windows RT.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Matchstick and Mozilla Take On Google's Chromecast With $25 Firefox OS Dongle

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes Matchstick and Mozilla today announced their open-source take on the Chromecast: a $25 Firefox OS-powered HDMI dongle. The streaming Internet and media stick will be available first through Kickstarter, in the hopes to drive down the price tag. Jack Chang, Matchstick General Manager in the US, described the device to me as "essentially an open Chromecast." He explained that while the MSRP is $25 (Google's Chromecast retails for $35), the Kickstarter campaign is offering a regular price of $18, and an early bird price of $12.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Drive for Education: unlimited online storage for schools and students

Liliputing -

Tired of worrying about whether you have enough online storage space? Earlier this year Google launched Google Drive for Work, offering enterprise customers unlimited cloud storage for $10 per month. Now Google is bringing unlimited storage to the education space. Drive for Education is now included with Google Apps for Education. There’s no additional fee for […]

Google Drive for Education: unlimited online storage for schools and students is a post from: Liliputing

Interview With Facebook's Head of Open Source

Slashdot -

Czech37 writes Facebook may be among the world's most well-known tech companies, but it's not renowned for being at the forefront of open source. In reality, they have over 200 open source projects on GitHub and they've recently partnered with Google, Dropbox, and Twitter (among others) to create the TODO group, an organization committed to furthering the open source cause. In an interview with, Facebook's James Pearce talks about the progress the company has made in rebooting their open source approach and what's on the horizon for the social media network.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Matchstick is a $25 Firefox OS-based, Chromecast-like TV stick

Liliputing -

Think Google’s $35 Chromecast is too expensive… or that the ecosystem isn’t open enough? Matchstick have developed their own TV stick which will sell for $25 when it goes on sale in February, 2015. The Matchstick runs Firefox OS, allows you to fling content from a phone or PC to a TV, and supports many […]

Matchstick is a $25 Firefox OS-based, Chromecast-like TV stick is a post from: Liliputing

Adobe Photoshop Is Coming To Linux, Through Chromebooks

Slashdot -

sfcrazy writes Adobe is bringing the king of all photo editing software, Photoshop, to Linux-based Chrome OS. Chrome OS-powered devices, such as Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, already have a decent line-up of 'applications' that can work offline and eliminate the need of a traditional desktop computer. So far it sounds like great news. The bad news is that the offering is in its beta stage and is available only to the customers of the Creative Cloud Education program residing in the U.S. I have a full subscription of Creative Cloud for Photographers, and LightRoom, but even I can't join the program at the moment.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NVIDIA Shield Tablet with LTE offers PC gaming on the go… kind of

Liliputing -

Two months after launching the NVIDIA Shield Tablet with WiFi for $299, NVIDIA is now offering a model with 4G LTE and twice as much storage for $399. For the most part, the new model is the same 8 inch tablet with an NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, HDMI output, and a DirectStylus. But the new […]

NVIDIA Shield Tablet with LTE offers PC gaming on the go… kind of is a post from: Liliputing

Microsoft's Asimov System To Monitor Users' Machines In Real Time

Slashdot -

SmartAboutThings writes Microsoft will monitor users in the new Windows 9 Operating System in order to determine how the new OS is used, thus decide what tweaks and changes are need to be made. During Windows 8 testing, Microsoft said that they had data showing Start Menu usage had dropped, but it seems that the tools they were using at the time weren't as evolved as the new 'Asimov' monitor. The new system is codenamed 'Asimov' and will provide a near real-time view of what is happening on users' machines. Rest assured, the data is going to be obscured and aggregated, but intelligible enough to allow Microsoft to get detailed insights into user interactions with the OS. Mary Jo Foley says that the system was originally built by the Xbox Team and now is being used by the Windows team. Users who will download the technical preview of Windows 9, which is said to get unveiled today, will become 'power users' who will utilize the platform in unique scenarios. This will help Microsoft identify any odd bugs ahead of the final release.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Intel’s Basis Peak fitness tracker/smartwatch coming in November for $199

Liliputing -

The Basis B1 fitness tracker is probably one of the most powerful devices in its category… but it looks a bit more like a hardware prototype than a fashionable device. So the team behind the B1 have decided to make a new model that’s not only more powerful. The new Basis Peak is also better […]

Intel’s Basis Peak fitness tracker/smartwatch coming in November for $199 is a post from: Liliputing

Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food'

Slashdot - (3830033) writes The NYT reports that Thailand's former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra repeatedly encountered a distressing problem while traveling the world: bad Thai food. Too often, she found, the meals she sampled at Thai restaurants abroad were unworthy of the name, too bland to be called genuine Thai cooking. The problem bothered her enough to raise it at a cabinet meeting. Even though her political party has since been thrown out of office, in a May military coup, the Thai government is unveiling its project to standardize the art of Thai food using a robot. The government-financed Thai Delicious Committee, which oversaw the development of the machine, describes it as "an intelligent robot that measures smell and taste in food ingredients through sensor technology in order to measure taste like a food critic." Thailand's National Innovation Agency has spent about $100,000 to develop the e-delicious machine. The e-delicious machine has 10 sensors that measure smell and taste, generating a unique fingerprint (signature) for each sample of food that passes its digital maw. Generally with electronic tasting, there are electronic sensors that work just like the taste buds on your tongue, measuring the quantity of various taste-giving compounds, acidity, etc. While these electronic sensors can't actually tell you how something tastes — that's a very subjective, human thing — they are very good at comparing two foods scientifically. Meanwhile at a tiny food stall along one of Bangkok's traffic-clogged boulevards, Thaweekiat Nimmalairatana, questioned the necessity of a robatic taster. "I use my tongue to test if it's delicious or not," said Nimmalairatana. "I think the government should consider using a human to gauge authenticity."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

Slashdot -

jones_supa (887896) writes Apple has released the OS X Bash Update 1.0 for OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion, a patch that fixes the "Shellshock" bug in the Bash shell. Bash, which is the default shell for many Linux-based operating systems, has been updated two times to fix the bug, and many Linux distributions have already issued updates to their users. When installed on an OS X Mavericks system, the patch upgrades the Bash shell from version 3.2.51 to version 3.2.53. The update requires the OS X 10.9.5, 10.8.5, or 10.7.5 updates to be installed on the system first. An Apple representative told Ars Technica that OS X Yosemite, the upcoming version of OS X, will receive the patch later.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Alcatel OneTouch launches $250 6 inch, LTE phone for Straight Talk

Liliputing -

Alcatel Onetouch is launching two new smartphones in the US, where they’ll be available exclusively through Walmart and/or wireless carrier Straight Talk/Tracfone. The Alcatel Onetouch Pop Star LTE is a $150 phone with a 4 inch, WVGA display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, and a $150 price tag which is only really interesting because it’s […]

Alcatel OneTouch launches $250 6 inch, LTE phone for Straight Talk is a post from: Liliputing

California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants For Drone Surveillance

Slashdot -

schwit1 sends word that California governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have required warrants for surveillance using unmanned drones. In his veto message (PDF), Brown said, "This bill prohibits law enforcement from using a drone without obtaining a search warrant, except in limited circumstances. There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate. The bill's exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow and could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the 4th Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution." The article notes that 10 other states already require a warrant for routine surveillance with a drone (Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin). Further, Brown's claims about the bill's exceptions are overstated — according to Slate, "California's drone bill is not draconian. It includes exceptions for emergency situations, search-and-rescue efforts, traffic first responders, and inspection of wildfires. It allows other public agencies to use drones for other purposes — just not law enforcement."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Picademy Cymru

Raspberry Pi -

Road trip.

These are the two words that Clive, our Director of Education says to me on a regular basis. In fact, he has promised me a road trip to Pencoed in Wales to visit the factory where our Raspberry Pis are manufactured in the UK for some time now. Not just any road trip, but one that involves an ice cream van serving raspberry ripple ice creams (avec flake) whilst motoring across the country to Sonic Pi melodies, containing the entire Foundation crew. You would be forgiven for thinking that this is all just mere ravings of a crazy ex-teacher. But you’d be wrong.

The dream machine

I’m pleased to be able to announce that this dream is to become a reality! Albeit, minus the ice cream van. For one time only, we are taking Picademy, our free CPD training programme for teachers, on the road to Wales this coming November, hosted at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed, South Wales. We have 24 places on Picademy Cymru, taking place on 19th & 20th November, for practicing classroom teachers in Wales. If you fit this description then please fill out our application form here or via our Picademy page. We are looking for fun, experimental, not-afraid-to-have-a-go, Welsh teachers willing to share their experiences and practices with others. Primary and secondary teachers from any subject specialism are welcome – you don’t need any computing experience, just enthusiasm and a desire to learn.

A few months ago, Dr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computing Science (and Director of Undergraduate Studies) in the Department of Computing & Information Systems at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Chair of Computing at School Wales got in touch to encourage us to run a Picademy in Wales, offering the support and encouragement we needed in order to make it happen. He says:

This is perfect timing for the first Picademy Cymru and a great opportunity for teachers, even though we still have significant uncertainty around reform of the ICT curriculum in Wales. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of teachers across Wales who have been working hard, particularly at a grassroots level with Computing At School and Technocamps, to embed more computing, programming and computational thinking skills into the existing ICT curriculum, as well as preparing for the new computer science qualifications. This will be a fantastic event and I look forward to helping out!

Join us for a tour of the factory, hands-on Raspberry Pi workshops, cross-curricular resource generation, and Welsh cakes. (If Eben and Liz don’t eat all the Welsh cakes before we get our hands on them. It’s been known to happen before.)


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