The Enlightenment front page bears this small announcement: "E17 release HAS HAPPENED!" The release announcement is remarkably spartan — it's mostly a tribute to the dozens of contributors who have worked on the software itself and on translating it into many languages besides system-default English. On the other hand, if you've been waiting since December 2000 for E17 (also known as Enlightenment 0.17), you probably have some idea that Enlightenment is a window manager (or possibly a desktop environment: the developers try to defuse any dispute on that front, but suffice it to say that you can think of it either way), and that the coders are more interested in putting out the software that they consider sufficiently done than in incrementing release numbers. That means they've made some side trips along the way, Knuth-like, to do things like create an entire set of underlying portable libraries. The release candidate changelog of a few days ago gives an idea of the very latest changes, but this overview shows and tells what to expect in E17. If you're among those disappointed in the way some desktop environments have tended toward simplicity at the expense of flexibility, you can be sure that Enlightenment runs the other way: "We don't go quietly into the night and remove options when no one is looking. None of those new big version releases with fanfare and "Hey look! Now with half the options you used to have!". We sneak in when you least expect it and plant a whole forest of new option seeds, watching them spring to life. We nail new options to walls on a regular basis. We bake options-cakes and hand them out at parties. Options are good. Options are awesome. We have lots of them. Spend some quality time getting to know your new garden of options in E17. It may just finally give you the control you have been pining for."
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J. Dzhugashvili writes "As Slashdot noted earlier this week, AMD has a new line of mid-range Radeon GPUs aimed at notebooks. The chips are based on the Graphics Core Next microarchitecture, and they're slated to show up in systems early next year. While the initial report was limited to specification details, the first review of the Radeon HD 8790M is now out, complete with benchmark data from the latest games. The 8790M is about 35% smaller than its 7690M predecessor but offers substantially better gaming performance across the board. Impressively, the new chip has similar power draw as the outgoing model under load, and its idle power consumption is slightly lower. Notebook makers should have no problems making the switch. However, it is worth noting that this new mobile GPU exhibits some of the same frame latency spikes observed on desktop Radeons, including in games that AMD itself has sponsored."
mbstone writes "The Air Force has a problem: Its drones generate thousands of hours of video (I almost said 'footage.') And most of it is miles of endless desert. USAF needs to distill the highlights, if you will, and nobody does it better than ESPN, the TV sports network. Air Force officials have asked ESPN for help in analyzing the 327,384 hours collected just this year. What we really need in times like these is sportscaster Warner Wolf. 'Let's go to the videotape, pick it up right here, Taliban in the home black.'"
AcidAUS sends this quote from the Sydney Morning Herald: "A little over a decade ago, just before the masses discovered the digital universe, the internet was a borderless new frontier: a terra nullius to be populated by individuals, groups and programmers as they saw fit. There were few rules and no boundaries. Freedom and open standards, sharing information for the greater good was the ethos. Today, the open internet we once knew is fracturing into a series of gated communities or fiefdoms controlled by giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and to a lesser extent Microsoft. A billion-dollar battle conducted in walled cities where companies try to lock our consumption into their vision of the internet. It has left some lamenting the 'web we lost.'"
alexanderb writes "Remember GNU's Windows 8 launch trick or treat in October, where Free Software Foundation activists handed out gratis copies of the free (as in freedom) system Trisquel GNU/Linux? Well, GNU returned for a Microsoft store's 'Tech for Tots' session on December 20th in Boston, MA. Like in October, the activists (accompanied by a gnu) handed out gratis copies of Trisquel GNU/Linux — a free alternative to Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 8."
An anonymous reader tips an article at El Reg about the disparity between the code you learn at school and the code you see at work. Quoting: "There is a kind of cognitive dissonance in most people who've moved from the academic study of computer science to a job as a real-world software developer. The conflict lies in the fact that, whereas nearly every sample program in every textbook is a perfect and well-thought-out specimen, virtually no software out in the wild is, and this is rarely acknowledged. To be precise: a tremendous amount of source code written for real applications is not merely less perfect than the simple examples seen in school — it's outright terrible by any number of measures."
cylonlover writes "Tornadoes generally evoke the destructive force of nature at its most awesome. However, what if all that power could be harnessed to produce cheaper and more efficient electricity? This is just what Canadian engineer Louis Michaud proposes to achieve, with an invention dubbed the 'Atmospheric Vortex Engine' (or AVE). It works by introducing warm air into a circular station, whereupon the difference in temperature between this heated air and the atmosphere above creates a vortex – or controlled tornado, which in turn drives multiple wind turbines in order to create electricity. The vortex could be shut down by simply turning off the source of warm air. Michaud's company, AVEtec Energy Corporation, reports that the system produces no carbon emissions, nor requires energy storage to function, and that further to this, the cost of energy generated could potentially be as low as US$0.03 per kilowatt hour."
An anonymous reader writes "One of the most powerful supercomputers in the world has now been fully installed and tested at its remote, high altitude site in the Andes of northern Chile. It's a critical part of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the most elaborate ground-based astronomical telescope in history. The special-purpose ALMA correlator has over 134 million processors and performs up to 17 quadrillion operations per second, a speed comparable to the fastest general-purpose supercomputer in operation today."
Dupple sends this news from Reuters: "The European Commission charged Samsung Electronics on Friday with abusing its dominant position in seeking to bar rival Apple from using a patent deemed essential to mobile phone use. The Commission sent a 'statement of objections' to the South Korean group, with its preliminary view that Samsung was not acting fairly. 'Intellectual property rights are an important cornerstone of the single market. However, such rights should not be misused when they are essential to implement industry standards, which bring huge benefits to businesses and consumers alike,' Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in statement."
Hugh Pickens writes "Jamal Khan reports that the United Nations has suspended its polio vaccination drive in Pakistan after eight people involved in the effort were shot dead in the past few days. The killings dealt a grave blow to the drive to bring an end to the scourge of polio in Pakistan, one of only three countries where the crippling disease still survives. Militants accuse health workers of acting as spies for the U.S. and claim the vaccine makes children sterile. Taliban commanders in the troubled northwest tribal region have also said vaccinations can't go forward until the U.S. stops drone strikes in the country. Insurgent opposition to the campaign grew last year after it was revealed that a Pakistani doctor ran a fake polio vaccination program to help the CIA track down and kill Osama bin Laden, who was hiding in the town of Abbottabad in the country's northwest. The Pakistani government has condemned the attacks against aid workers, saying they deprive Pakistan's most vulnerable populations — specifically children — of basic life-saving health interventions. A total of 56 polio cases have been reported in Pakistan during 2012, down from 190 the previous year, according to the U.N. Most of the new cases in Pakistan are in the northwest, where the presence of militants makes it difficult to reach children. Clerics and tribal elders were recruited to support polio vaccinations in an attempt to open up areas previously inaccessible to health workers. 'This is undoubtedly a tragic setback,' says UNICEF spokeswoman Sarah Crowe, 'but the campaign to eradicate polio will and must continue.'"
Today Nokia announced an agreement with Research In Motion to resolve all patent legislation between the two. The companies have been fighting over patents for almost a decade, most recently over devices with wireless LAN capabilities. The terms of today's agreement were not disclosed but it involved a one-time payment from RIM as well as ongoing payments. This agreement comes shortly after RIM's announcement that it pulled in $9 million in profit last quarter, down 97% from the $265 million they earned in the same quarter the year before. The company has pinned its hopes on BlackBerry 10, scheduled to launch next month: "So this is RIM at the end of 2012: losing subscribers and revenue, facing significant opponents, but with more cash on hand and at least one long-running lawsuit settled. If nothing else, it means the way is clear for RIM to launch its Hail Mary pass: BlackBerry 10."
An anonymous reader writes "Every shop I've ever worked in has had a 'Coding Style' document that dictates things like camelCase vs underscored_names, placement of curly braces, tabs vs spaces, etc. As a result, I've lost hundreds of hours in code reviews because some pedant was more interested in picking nits over whitespace than actually reviewing my algorithms. Are there any documents or studies that show a net productivity gain for having these sorts of standards? If not, why do we have them? We live in the future, why don't our tools enforce these standards automagically?"
Lasrick writes "For the first time since 1946, Congress is seriously debating whether the U.S. nuclear weapons complex should be under civilian or military control. That the article is in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is significant, as it was many of the scientists who founded BAS who argued for civilian control in the wake of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They believed that atomic energy was too destructive, and the military too secretive, which would possibly thwart scientific discovery and erect a major obstacle to international control and cooperation. The article talks about how management has changed over the decades and explains the discussion that needs to happen before Congress acts."
New submitter Likes Microsoft writes "Yesterday, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) introduced a Net Neutrality bill aimed at ISPs using data caps soley for profiteering purposes, rather than the 'traffic management' purpose they often claim. The text of the bill is available at Wyden's Senate page. It would require ISPs to be certified by the FCC before implementing data caps. It says, in part, 'The [FCC] shall evaluate a data cap proposed by an Internet service provider to determine whether the data cap functions to reasonably limit network congestion in a manner that does not unnecessarily discourage use of the Internet.' In a statement, Wyden said, 'Americans are increasingly tethered to the Internet and connecting more devices to it, but they don’t really have the tools to effectively manage data consumption across their networks. Data caps create challenges for consumers and run the risk of undermining innovation in the digital economy if they are imposed bluntly and not designed to truly manage network congestion.'"
Layzej writes "The Associated Press reports: 'In 2012 many of the warnings scientists have made about global warming went from dry studies in scientific journals to real-life video played before our eyes. As 2012 began, winter in the U.S. went AWOL. Spring and summer arrived early with wildfires, blistering heat and drought. And fall hit the eastern third of the country with the ferocity of Superstorm Sandy. Globally, five countries this year set heat records, but none set cold records. 2012 is on track to be the warmest year on record in the United States. Worldwide, the average through November suggests it will be the eighth warmest since global record-keeping began in 1880 and will likely beat 2011 as the hottest La Nina year on record. America's heartland lurched from one extreme to the other without stopping at "normal." Historic flooding in 2011 gave way to devastating drought in 2012. But the most troubling climate development this year was the melting at the top of the world. Summer sea ice in the Arctic shrank to 18 percent below the previous record low. These are "clearly not freak events," but "systemic changes," said climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute in Germany. "With all the extremes that, really, every year in the last 10 years have struck different parts of the globe, more and more people absolutely realize that climate change is here and already hitting us."'"