Software Defined Smart Battery Arrays Extend Laptop Life 38

An anonymous reader writes: A Microsoft research paper, titled 'Software Defined Batteries', outlines a radical charging alternative which uses a smart battery system to keep consumer-grade gadgets going for much longer than the current norm, by monitoring user habits. Making use of existing technologies, the engineers place multiple battery control under the duties of the operating system to create a software-defined approach optimized for different scenarios, such as word processing, email or video streaming.

Ask Slashdot: Is the Gap Between Data Access Speeds Widening Or Narrowing? 91

New submitter DidgetMaster writes: Everyone knows that CPU registers are much faster than level1, level2, and level3 caches. Likewise, those caches are much faster than RAM; and RAM in turn is much faster than disk (even SSD). But the past 30 years have seen tremendous improvements in data access speeds at all these levels. RAM today is much, much faster than RAM 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Disk accesses are also tremendously faster than previously as steady improvements in hard drive technology and the even more impressive gains in flash memory have occurred. Is the 'gap' between the fastest RAM and the fastest disks bigger or smaller now than the gap was 10 or 20 years ago? Are the gaps between all the various levels getting bigger or smaller? Anyone know of a definitive source that tracks these gaps over time?

Motorola Marketed the Moto E 2015 On Promise of Updates, Stops After 219 Days 123

An anonymous reader writes: Over the past few years, Motorola has emerged as one of the best manufacturers for low-to-mid-range Android phones. Unlike many other major manufacturers, they keep their version of Android close to stock in order to keep OS updates flowing more easily. When they began marketing the Moto E 2015, updates were one of the features they trumpeted the loudest. But after the company published a list of devices that will continue to get updates, Android Police found the Moto E to be conspicuously absent. The phone launched on February 25, a mere 219 days ago. According to an official Motorola marketing video from launch day, "...we won't forget about you, and we'll make sure your Moto E stays up to date after you buy it."

How To Clean the Cruft Left By a Windows 10 Upgrade 204

MojoKid writes: Microsoft may have given you a free Windows 10 upgrade but it's not without some left over file clutter that some folks don't realize is left on a system after migration. It's not rocket science but there are a few key strategies to tidy up the file bloat an OS migration can sometimes leave behind and to further optimize an upgraded Windows 10 installation. The ability to roll back to your Windows 7 or 8.1 installation within 30 days is a very easily overlooked feature of the Windows 10 upgrade process. The feature is a lifesaver if you encounter issues, such as missing or incompatible drivers, and need to quickly recover without starting from scratch. This ability doesn't come without consequences, though. In order to offer this feature, Windows 10 is essentially keeping another completely separate Windows installation on your PC. This will need to go, once you've determined that you are sticking with Windows 10 and everything seems happy enough. These files are scattered throughout your system and include a number of hidden directories, with the bulk of them located in Windows.old and the hidden $Windows.~BT and $Windows.~WS directories.

Bjarne Stroustrup Announces the C++ Core Guidelines 262

alphabetsoup writes: At CppCon this year, Bjarne Stroustrup announced the C++ Core Guidelines. The guidelines are designed to help programmers write safe-by-default C++ with no run-time overhead. Compilers will statically check the code to ensure no violations. A library is available now, with a static checking tool to follow in October.

Here is the video of the talk, and here are the slides.The guidelines themselves are here.

What's New In GNOME 3.18 170

prisoninmate writes: In this release, GNOME improves the general user experience for users and new developers alike. GNOME 3.18 adds a feature called "Automatic Brightness," which, when enabled, it will make use of your laptop's light sensor to dim or increase the screen's brightness depending on the surrounding lighting. GNOME 3.18 also improves the touch screen experience, especially when selecting and modifying text, implements a new view in the Nautilus (Files) sidebar, which collects all the remote and internal locations in a single place.

Barbie Gets a Brain 235

minstrelmike writes: Mattel is coming out with a Talking Barbie designed by a huge team and pre-scripted with thousands of responses controlled by an AI, with designs to be your best friend. The design team remembers the "Math is hard" debacle of the 1990s and if a girl asks if she's pretty, Barbie will respond, "Yes. And you're smart, too." If she asks if Barbie believes in God, she says a person's beliefs are personal. And suggests talking to grownups about some problems. The linked New York Times' article ("Barbie Wants to Get to Know Your Child") even discusses trying to avoid edited vids on YouTube by scripting out words such as "cockroach."

Google Releases Open Source Plans For Cardboard V2 Virtual Reality Viewer 26

An anonymous reader writes: After revealing an improved version of Cardboard, the super-low cost virtual reality smartphone adapter, Google has now also freely released the detailed design documents, encouraging people to use them for projects ranging from DIY fun to full blown manufacturing. The v2 version of Cardboard is easier to assemble, has larger lenses, a universal input button, and is bigger overall to support larger phones.
Operating Systems

Microsoft Is Downloading Windows 10 Without Asking 867

New submitter christhedj writes with a story at The Inquirer, according to which: Microsoft, having learned nothing from Apple and the U2 album, have started downloading Windows 10 as part of Patch Tuesday for Windows 7 and 8 users. For people on a 32GB flash drive tablet, that's a big chunk of space taken up with something that they didn't ask for. Microsoft admits to doing this, but users are not happy. Way to look needy, Microsoft.

AMD Radeon R9 Nano: 6 Inches Of High-Priced, High-Performance Graphics 26

Vigile writes: Back when AMD announced it would be producing an even smaller graphics card than the Fury X, but based on the same full-sized Fiji GPU, many people wondered just how they would be able to pull it off. Using 4096 stream processors, a 4096-bit memory bus with 4GB of HBM (high bandwidth memory) and a clock speed rated "up to" 1000 MHz, the new AMD Radeon R9 Nano looked to be an impressive card. Today, PC Perspective has a review of the R9 Nano and though there are some quirks, including pronounced coil whine and a hefty $650 price tag, it offers nearly the same performance as the non-X Radeon R9 Fury card at 100 watts lower TDP! It is able to do that by dynamically adjusting the clock speed from ~830 MHz to 1000 MHz depending on the workload, always maintaining a peak power draw of just 175 watts. All of this is packed into a 6 inch PCB — smaller than any other enthusiast class GPU to date, making it a perfect pairing for SFF cases that demand smaller components. The R9 Nano is expensive though with the same asking price as AMD's own R9 Fury X and the GeForce GTX 980 Ti. Readers have also submitted links to reviews at Hot Hardware and Tom's Hardware.

Windows Telemetry Rolls Out 527

ihtoit writes: Last week came the warning, now comes the roll out. One of the most most controversial aspects of Windows 10 is coming to Windows 7 and 8. Microsoft has released upgrades which enable the company to track what a user is doing. The updates – KB3075249, KB3080149 and KB3068708 – all add "customer experience and diagnostic telemetry" to the older versions. gHacks points out that the updates will ignore any previous user preferences reporting: "These four updates ignore existing user preferences stored in Windows 7 and Windows 8 (including any edits made to the Hosts file) and immediately starts exchanging user data with vortex-win.data.microsoft.com and settings-win.data.microsoft.com."
Open Source

Mutt 1.5.24 Released 38

kthreadd writes: Version 1.5.24 of the Mutt email client has been released. New features in this release includes among other things terminal status-line (TS) support, a new color object 'prompt', the ability to encrypt postponed messages and opportunistic encryption which automatically enables/disables encryption based on message recipients. SSLv3 is now also disabled by default.

Intel Launches Onslaught of Skylake CPUs For Laptops, Hybrids and Compute Stick 54

MojoKid writes: Intel is following up on its Skylake launch bonanza by opening the floodgates on at least two dozen SKUs mostly covering the mobile sector. The company is divvying up the range into four distinct series. There's the Y-Series, which is dedicated to 2-in-1 convertibles, tablets, and Intel's new Compute Stick venture. Then there's the U-Series, which is aimed at thin and light notebooks and "portable" all-in-one machines. The H-Series is built for gaming notebooks and mobile workstations, while the S-Series is designated for desktops, all-in-one machines, and mini PCs. Also, the Y-Series that was previously known as simply the Core M, (the chip found in products like the 12-inch Apple MacBook and Asus Transformer Book Chi T300) is now expanding into a whole family of processors. There will be Core m3, Core m5, and Core m7 processors, similar to Intel's Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPU models in other desktop and notebook chips.
Open Source

LLVM 3.7 Delivers OpenMP 3.1 Support, ORC JIT API, New Optimizations 84

An anonymous reader writes: LLVM 3.7 was released today as the newest six-month update. LLVM 3.7 has OpenMP 3.1 support via Clang, a new On-Request Compilation JIT API, the Berkeley Packet Filter back-end was added, the AMDGPU back-end now supports OpenGL 4.1 when paired with Mesa 11.0, and many other functional changes. Early benchmarks against GCC show its performance quite competitive with GCC5, even superior in some workloads, and should be more competitive in scientific applications with there now being OpenMP support.

Video Mozilla Project Working on Immersive Displays (Video) 47

Yes, it's 3-D, and works with the Firefox browser. But that's not all. The MozVR virtual reality system is not just for Firefox, and it can incorporate infrared and other sensors to give a more complete picture than can be derived from visible light alone. In theory, the user's (client) computer needs no special hardware beyond a decent GPU and an Oculus Rift headset. Everything else lives on a server.

Is this the future of consumer displays? Even if not, the development is fun to watch, which you can start doing at mozvr.com -- and if you're serious about learning about this project you may want to read our interview transcript in addition to watching the video, because the transcript contains additional information.
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.2 Released 142

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.2 kernel is now available. This kernel is one of the biggest kernel releases in recent times and introduces rewrites of some of the kernel's Intel Assembly x86 code, new ARM board support, Jitter RNG improvements, queue spinlocks, the new AMDGPU kernel driver, NCQ TRIM handling, F2FS per-file encryption, and many other changes to benefit most Linux users.

Do We Need More Emojis? 264

mikejuk writes to note that the Unicode Consortium has accepted 38 new emoji characters as candidates for Unicode 9.0, including characters depicting bacon and a duck."Why could we possibly need a duck? Many of the new characters are the 'other half' of gender-matched pairs, so the Dancer emoji (which is usually rendered as Apple's salsa dancing woman) gets a Man Dancing emoji, who frankly looks like a cross between John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and your dad at the wedding disco. ... Other additions include carrot, cucumber, and avocado, and bacon. ... The list of additions is rounded off with new animal emojis. Some are the 'missing' zodiac symbols (lion and crab). Others are as baffling as ever – is there *really* a demand for a mallard duck? Sorry: it's in fact a drake!

AMD Unveils Radeon R9 Nano, Targets Mini ITX Gaming Systems With a New Fury 60

MojoKid writes: AMD today added a third card to its new Fury line that's arguably the most intriguing of the bunch, the Radeon R9 Nano. True to its name, the Nano is a very compact card, though don't be fooled by its diminutive stature. Lurking inside this 6-inch graphics card is a Fiji GPU core built on a 28nm manufacturing process paired with 4GB of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). It's a full 1.5 inches shorter than the standard Fury X, and unlike its liquid cooled sibling, there's no radiator and fan assembly to mount. The Fury Nano sports 64 compute units with 64 stream processors each for a total of 4,096 stream processors, just like Fury X. It also has an engine clock of up to 1,000MHz and pushes 8.19 TFLOPs of compute performance. That's within striking distance of the Fury X, which features a 1,050MHz engine clock at 8.6 TFLOPs. Ars Technica, too, takes a look at the new Nano.
Operating Systems

Contiki 3.0 Released, Retains Support For Apple II, C64 44

An anonymous reader writes that on Wednesday the Contiki team announced the release of Contiki 3.0, the latest version of the open source IoT operating system. The 3.0 release is a huge step up from the 2.x branch and brings support for new and exciting hardware, a set of new network protocols, a bunch of improvements in the low-power mesh networking protocols, along with a large number of general stability improvements. And, yes, the system still runs on the Commodore 64/128, Apple II, Atari.

Verizon Retrofits Vintage Legacy Vehicles With Smart Features 87

An anonymous reader writes: Verizon have released an after-market system called Hum that can bring 'smart' features to 150 million existing cars of various vintages going as far back as 1999. The system consists of an on-board diagnostic (OBD) reader plugged into the vehicle's OBD port and a Bluetooth-enabled device clipped to the visor. It's the presence of the ODB port that limits the maximum age of the car to 1996. Hum comes with an app, and enables features such as automatic accident reporting, roadside assistance services and the tracking of stolen cars. The service will cost $14.99 per month via subscription.