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September 28, 2016
research-google
Research at Google on Tuesday launched Google Neural Machine Translation system, now in production with Chinese to English -- "a notoriously difficult language pair," according to Quoc V. Le and Mike Schuster, research scientists on the Google Brain Team. GNMT already is powering the Google Translate mobile and Web apps for 18 million or so Chinese to English translations daily. [More...]

September 28, 2016
cisco
Cisco has swung into action to combat a hacker group's exploitation of vulnerabilities in its firmware. The group, known as the "Shadow Brokers," released online malware and other exploits possibly stolen from the Equation Group, which is believed to have ties to the U.S. National Security Agency. Cisco earlier this month disclosed the vulnerability, even though patches were not yet ready. [More...]

September 28, 2016
The Black Panther OS is a bare-bones Linux distribution built around the KDE desktop. The KDE environment itself is not a minimal component, but how it is integrated within Black Panther gives you an almost-nothing-there installation until you painstakingly install system tools and applications, literally piece by piece. Black Panther OS, originally forked from Mandriva Linux, is now under independent development in Hungary. [More...]

September 27, 2016
hack-attack-white-house-staffer-email
Federal authorities last week launched a probe of a suspected cyberattack that targeted the private Gmail account of a White House staffer. The employee's correspondence turned up on the DCleaks hacktivist site, which earlier this month posted the private emails of former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The latest dump involves the private account of White House staffer Ian Mellul. [More...]

September 27, 2016
distributed-denial-of-service-ddos
The website of prominent security blogger Brian Krebs is back online this week after sustaining one of the largest distributed denial of service attacks in Internet history. DDoS attacks typically disrupt service at a website by flooding it with junk traffic. In this case, garbage traffic assaulted Krebs' site at 620 gigabits per second. By comparison, consumer bandwidth is in the 10-15 megabit per second range; businesses, 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps. [More...]

September 27, 2016
snap-spectacles-snapchat
Snap, the company formerly known as "Snapchat," on Saturday announced sunglasses that take videos through a built-in camera in the frame. Snap's Spectacles let users take 10-second videos by tapping a button on the top left-hand corner of the eyeframe. Users can tap on the record button to record two more 10-second segments, for videos of up to 30 seconds long in all. [More...]

September 26, 2016
hpe
HPE and Apple are very different companies this decade, having shifted their models from a strategic customer/innovation focus to one that's more tactical -- and tied far more closely to quarterly profit. They are hardly alone, and this unfortunate trend is not tied to any one industry or any one country. Firms increasingly are defined not by creative products but by complaining customers. [More...]

September 26, 2016
open-source
Lenovo, which owns Motorola, last week released the kernel source code for the Moto Z Droid smartphone. The move follows this summer's posting of the Moto Z Droid Moto Mods Development Kit and Moto Mods on Github. This is the first kernel source code made available for the Moto Z device family. Its release seems to be another step in Lenovo's attempt to get devs to build an ecosystem around it. [More...]

September 24, 2016
comma-one-semi-autonomous-driving
After a bad experience when I was first behind the wheel as a teenager, I'm only just now learning to drive, more than a decade later. My partner and I are going through the school together, and when asked about our dream vehicles in class, she replied that she'd love a self-driving RV. Her wish eventually might turn true with a device that grants vehicles more autonomy. [More...]

September 23, 2016
presidential-debates
The Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run them since 1988, last week announced initiatives with social media, academics, and media organizations to engage the American public in substantive conversations before, during and after this year's debates. The first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for Monday at Hofstra University in New York. [More...]

September 23, 2016
icann-iana-transition
It appears that the Senate is poised to quash a government shutdown threat from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in spite of presidential candidate Donald Trump lending his support to his former primary opponent's cause. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday filed a continuing resolution to fund the government without any language geared toward blocking the administration's IANA transition. [More...]

September 22, 2016
gopro
Pro earlier this week refreshed its product line, announcing two new action cameras, a cloud service and a drone. Its new Hero5 Black camera can capture 4K video at 30 frames a second and still photos at 12 megapixels, with RAW and WDR support. It has a 2-inch touch display, and stereo sound recording with advanced wind noise reduction. It can be voice-controlled in seven languages. The shooter will be available Oct. 2. [More...]

September 22, 2016
Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version. After evaluating beta users' feedback, the company brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created iOS and Android versions. [More...]

September 21, 2016
nikon-keymission
Nikon has announced its new KeyMission line of shooters, marking its entry into the 360-degree and action camera business. The KeyMission 360 can corral 360-degree video in 4K UHD at 24p, as well as in the more traditional HD 1080p. It also shoots 30-megapixel stills. The unit has two f/2.0 lenses, each with a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor. The dual units eliminate blind spots. [More...]

September 21, 2016
cyberbullying-body-shaming
A problem once associated mainly with school playgrounds often follows people into adulthood, and the anonymity of the Internet has aided its proliferation. People have been shamed for being overweight, underweight, too conservative, too revealing, too young, too old, too plastic or too real. Bullying and harassment are very real problems not only for children, but also for countless adults. [More...]

September 20, 2016
ford-self-driving-car
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has introduced new federal guidelines for the emerging highly automated vehicle industry -- including self-driving and semi-autonomous vehicles -- creating a framework that will help drive one of the most important new sectors in the national economy. Foxx was joined by Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. [More...]

September 20, 2016
congress-government-security
Congress earlier this month lowered the hammer on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in a report on the massive data breach that resulted in the theft of 4.2 million former and current government employees' personnel files, as well as 21.5 million individuals' security clearance information, including fingerprints associated with 5.6 million of them. [More...]

LINUX PICKS AND PANS
Parsix Normalizes GNOME
September 20, 2016
Parsix is a feature-rich distro that will delight GNOME desktop users looking for a well-tweaked user experience. It offers a well-oiled, single track Linux desktop operating system. It has no distractions from multiple desktop options. It provides one of the best integrations of the latest GNOME desktop available. Parsix has been around since at least 2007. Along the way, it built a reputation for dependability. [More...]

September 19, 2016
Independent video game developer Digital Homicide Studios on Monday posted a response to its ban from Valve's digital distribution platform Steam. Valve banned the development studio this weekend, after Digital Homicide reportedly initiated legal action against 100 users who had posted negative reviews of its games. Digital Homicide accused the users of cyberbullying and other offenses. [More...]

September 19, 2016
russia-hacking
Colin Powell's hacked email once again showcases that what people in office tell us and what they actually think are two very different things. Politicians work for us -- we are supposedly their employers. Yet we seem to know far less about what they do and think than what we need to know in order to vote intelligently. Powell's comments are actually far more damaging to Clinton than Trump. [More...]

September 17, 2016
Shigeru Miyamoto and Mario
Apple wants to attract gaming fans to the more powerful graphics and processing power embedded in its new iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 products. The iPhone 7 features the new A10 Fusion chip -- the most powerful ever in a smartphone, according to the company. The CPU fuses two high-performance cores that run twice as fast as the iPhone 6 with much more efficient use of battery power. [More...]

September 16, 2016
sony-interactive-entertainment-the-last-guardian
The first wave of previews for SIE's long-in-development video game epic The Last Guardian appeared following a demo at the Tokyo Game Show earlier this week, and reactions were mixed. Much of the coverage of this PS4 game, first announced at E3 in 2007, has focused on its long development process and delays. It originally was to be a follow-up to Fumito Ueda's Shadow of the Colossus. [More...]

September 16, 2016
Confidential information about international athletes surfaced on the Internet Wednesday -- the second such exposure this week. Russian hackers allegedly stole the information from the World Anti-Doping Agency. It includes confidential data on medical drug exemptions given to 25 athletes from eight countries. Information about four athletes appeared online earlier in the week. [More...]

September 15, 2016
iphone-7-reviews
The iPhone 7 may be Apple's best smartphone to date, but it's garnering lukewarm reactions from reviewers and pundits. The new iPhone's waterproofing and better battery life are welcome. Further, "the camera and speed improvements are nothing to sneeze at," wrote reviewer Andrew Cunningham, "but you'll need to buy into Apple's vision of the future" -- a world without buttons or wires. [More...]

September 15, 2016
sebastian-thrun-udacity-techcrunch-disrupt
Online education company Udacity on Tuesday introduced a new "nanodegree" program in self-driving auto engineering. President Sebastian Thrun made the announcement. The goal is to build a crowdsourced, open source self-driving car, he said. Students will learn the skills and techniques used by self-driving car teams at the most innovative companies in the world, Udacity has promised. [More...]

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What do you think of politically inspired Internet memes?
They tend to be brutally honest about their targets.
They're usually cheap shots based on lies.
They're often stupid but amusing.
They can have a dangerous influence on uninformed people.
They don't impress me one way or the other.