Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for February 10th, 2017

In what’s considered the largest mass stranding in decades, over 400 pilot whales have beached themselves on a New Zealand shore. Hundreds of whales died overnight, and rescuers are now frantically working to save the dozens of remaining whales who are clinging to life. Read more…

Categories: reader

An anonymous reader shares a report: Zenefits will lay off 45% of its employees in an effort to slash costs, according to an internal memo this morning that was obtained by BuzzFeed News, a stark acknowledgment by the embattled human resources startup that its onetime expectations for growth were vastly inflated. Roughly 430 workers will be cut, including 250 in Zenefits’ San Francisco headquarters and 150 in its office in Tempe, Arizona, leaving the company with about 500 employees, according to the memo and a person briefed on the matter. That’s about a third of the size it was a year ago, when it ousted its founding CEO, Parker Conrad, over revelations that it flouted state regulations for selling health insurance. Thursday’s announcement, coming on the morning after the one-year anniversary of Conrad’s departure, is the third round of layoffs — and the largest — to hit the company since the crisis began. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Windows Central: Microsoft just gave developers a sneak peek at Project Neon, Microsoft’s upcoming design language for Windows 10 that aims to add fluidity, animation and blur to apps and the operating system. We exclusively revealed that this was in the works in late 2016, and today Microsoft has given us a first peak at what Project Neon will look like. During the Windows Developer Day livestream, an image of Project Neon was seen the background of one of the PowerPoint slides being shown off on stage. Although not much, it’s further confirmation that this is the end goal for Windows 10’s UI, and Project Neon will be bringing a fresh coat of paint to apps. Project Neon should benefit all types of Windows 10 devices, including Windows 10 Mobile, HoloLens and even Xbox. We’re still several months away from Project Neon being everywhere in Windows 10, and we’re expecting to see more at BUILD this coming May. In fact, a lot of the Project Neon APIs are available in the latest Insider Preview builds of Windows 10, meaning developers can already begin taking advantage of these new user interfaces and design language! Animations and transitions are a big deal with Project Neon, with the goal of making the operating system and apps feel like they work together. Peter Bright does a good job summarizing the looks of the screenshot via Ars Technica: “The picture shows a refreshed version of the Groove music app on a Windows desktop. The fundamentals of the app and its layout aren’t changed, underscoring that Neon is very much an iteration of the current Metro/Microsoft Design Language (MDL). The window has shed its discrete title bar and one pixel border, with the application content now extending to the very edge of the window. The search text field no longer has a box around it, and the left hand pane has a hint of translucency to it.” You can view the screenshot here and judge it for yourself. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

An anonymous reader writes: “Attacks on WordPress sites using a vulnerability in the REST API, patched in WordPress version 4.7.2, have intensified over the past two days, as attackers have now defaced over 1.5 million pages, spread across 39, 000 unique domains, ” reports BleepingComputer. “Initial attacks using the WordPress REST API flaw were reported on Monday by web security firm Sucuri, who said four groups of attackers defaced over 67, 000 pages. The number grew to over 100, 000 pages the next day, but according to a report from fellow web security firm WordFence, these numbers have skyrocketed today to over 1.5 million pages, as there are now 20 hacking groups involved in a defacement turf war.” Making matters worse, over the weekend Google’s Search Console service, formerly known as Google Webmaster, was sending out security alerts to people it shouldn’t. Google attempted to send security alerts to all WordPress 4.7.0 and 4.7.1 website owners (vulnerable to the REST API flaw), but some emails reached WordPress 4.7.2 owners. Some of which misinterpreted the email and panicked, fearing their site might lose search engine ranking. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

Use 375,000 images from the Met however you want, for free

Posted by kenmay on February - 10 - 2017

If you want to use images of paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, like Woman with a Parrot by Gustave Courbet (above), you no longer have to worry about rights. All of the Met’s approximately 375, 000 public-domain artwork images are now available for free, unrestricted use. The new “Open Access” policy, based on Creative Commons Zero (CC0), means bloggers, schools and businesses alike can use them without even the need for attribution. In 2014, the Met opened up 400, 000 images for downloading, but only for scholarly, non-commercial use. Now, however, it wants them spread far and wide, as it also unveiled partnerships with Pinterest, Wikimedia, Artstor, the Digital Public Library of America and others. “Increasing access to the Museum’s collection and scholarship serves the interests and needs of our 21st-century audiences, ” said Met CEO Thomas P. Campbell in a statement. Van Gogh’s “Wheat Field with Cypresses” (Metropolitan Museum of Art) The images comprise the main body of the museum’s collection, apart from 65, 000 artwork images not in the public domain for copyright and other reasons. The museum has 1.5 million works in total, including prints and engravings, many of which could also be digitized in the future. Other institutions, including Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, offer free, unlimited-use downloads, and you can find gigapixel-sized photos and Street View-style tours on Google. No other single site, however, has Met’s prodigious number of well-known works that range back over 6, 000 years. The museum worked closely with Creative Commons, and you can find images on the organization’s CCSearch beta or the main Met collection , and even create your own search using tools from the Met’s Github repository. Via: The New York Times Source: Met Museum

Categories: reader

After decades of speculation, students at Warwick University have now found the first ever white dwarf pulsar. Since 1967’s discovery of the first pulsar (a rotating star that emits electromagnetic radiation), scientists have only been able to find evidence of larger neutron stars as pulsars. For those of you who aren’t astronomers, a neutron star is the last stage a celestial body goes through after a supernova before collapsing into a black hole . While scientists had yet to find any proof, many argued that the smaller dying white dwarf star could also become a pulsar. Now 40 years later, that theory has become fact. The discovery was made by Tom Marsh and Boris Gansicke from Warwick University’s Astrophysics Group alongside David Buckley from the South African Astronomical Observatory. The trio managed to spot a white dwarf pulsar 380 light years from Earth, located in the constellation of Scorpius. AR scorpii is the name they gave to the binary star that confirmed the aging hypothesis. This historic binary star is made up of both a white dwarf around the size of Earth (but around 200, 000 times denser) and a ‘nearby’ red star. With a distance only three times greater than that of the Earth and the Moon between them, the two celestial bodies are practically neighbors in galactic terms. Thanks to this relatively close proximity, the white dwarf pulsar bombards its poor red dwarf neighbor with all manner of electrical energy and particles during its two-minute rotational period. You can find more details about their historic findings here . Via: CNET Source: Nature

Categories: reader

Samsung’s QLED 4K TVs will start at $2,500

Posted by kenmay on February - 10 - 2017

If you’ve been waiting to buy one of Samsung’s QLED 4K TVs , which were unveiled at CES 2017, today is your lucky day. The company is now taking pre-orders for its Q7 and Q8 sets , starting at $2, 500 for a 55-inch, non-curved model. In case that’s not big enough, you could shell out $6, 000 for a 75-inch Q7 or $4, 500 for the curved Q8. What’s missing from this list is the flagship Q9 panels, which Samsung still hasn’t revealed pricing for. As a refresher, the QLED lineup is intended to rival high-end TVs from LG and Sony, with the promise of Quantom Dots delivering a picture quality on par with OLED technology. Samsung says the Q7 and Q8 are expected to ship “late” February. Via: The Verge Source: Samsung

Categories: reader

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has once again delivered stunning images of Jupiter, this time giving us a glimpse at the gas giant’s south pole. The image, taken from Juno’s most recent flyby on February 2nd, was captured at an altitude 63, 400 miles. While there aren’t any Jovian penguins on this south pole (that we know of), … Read more…

Categories: reader