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Stepping Up the Search for ET
August 11, 2014
Atmospheric pollution may not be among mankind's proudest achievements, but it's an incontrovertible sign that we are here. Could something similar help us find civilizations on other planets? That's the premise behind one of several recently announced new approaches to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. One involves detecting pollutants like Earth's in the atmospheres of other worlds.
The Connected Car, Part 1: The Future Starts Now - Will Linux Drive It?
August 05, 2014
The Age of the Connected Car is dawning. The Linux Foundation is positioning an open source Linux OS to take the front seat in steering carmakers to adopting Automotive Grade Linux, or AGL, as the engine driving all in-car electronics. Today's automobile has from 60 to 100 sensors to control everything from climate to airbags and dozens of vehicle components.
Apple's Big Blue Dilemma
August 05, 2014
Apple reportedly is gearing up to do what it does best -- introduce a new gadget or two. Word is the company will hold a spellbinding iPhone event come Sept. 9. With the dust not quite settled over Apple's recently announced liaison with IBM, it will be interesting to see whether there are any new corporate nuances in the upcoming presentation. Will Apple maintain its strong consumer focus?
100 Years Hence: Technology's Influence on War's 'Greatness'
August 04, 2014
When the "Guns of August" began firing 100 years ago, few expected it to be a long war, and fewer still expected it to be a "World War." However, the "Great War," as it was known to contemporaries, in fact was destined to become the First World War -- and it truly was the first modern war. Today it is easy to look back at the Second World War for providing great technical advancements.
Linux Gaming: If You Build It, Will They Come?
July 25, 2014
For long-suffering Linux users who have endured the dearth of high-quality action games on their open source desktops, the wait for better game developer support soon may be over. New technology is making Linux more attractive to game makers. Until now, game makers have relied primarily on Windows PCs and gaming consoles powered by proprietary alternatives to the Linux OS.
What's Eating Internet Security?
July 15, 2014
It's a given that hackers can and do penetrate websites with laughable ease, ranging from those of retailers to those of the United States government. It certainly doesn't help the security-minded to know that the U.S. National Security Agency and other countries' spy agencies, including the UK's GCHQ and the West German intelligence agency, are tapping into online communications at will.
The Novena Open Hardware Laptop: A Hacker's Dream Machine
July 03, 2014
Would you buy a high-end laptop built completely around open hardware and the Linux distro of your choice? Novena offers that opportunity, but it comes with an out-of-the-box experience that might be beyond the reach of the typical computer consumer. That said, the Novena laptop's experimental technology has the potential to offer new options to a sluggish computer industry.
Open Source Persistence: Resistance Is Futile
June 09, 2014
Software developers routinely use open source components to boost productivity and improve the quality of their code. The problem for enterprises is that companies using open source must properly manage it and comply with its licensing, as with any third-party code. That becomes difficult to do when corporate leaders do not know their computer systems are running open source code.
Coupang's on Fire in Korea's Hot M-Commerce Climate
June 09, 2014
Sequoia Capital recently led a US$100 million round of funding for South Korean retailer Coupang, suggesting that the rapidly growing Korean e-commerce market is the hot new scene for investors looking to capitalize on a country full of mobile shoppers. Founded and run by the Korean-born, Harvard-educated Bon Kim, the site has grown to become Korea's leading online retailer.
Got Linux? Add Proprietary Code
June 06, 2014
Migrating to the Linux platform is not an either/or proposition. Linux is so flexible that it offers users a have-it-your-way menu of software options. One option is the Linux desktop. Individual users in home computing, SOHO and SMB operations can choose from a variety of enterprise-class Linux distributions. The Linux desktop OS offers a no-cost or low-cost alternative to Windows or OS X.
Getting Away With Privacy Murder
May 29, 2014
Snapchat in May agreed to implement a comprehensive privacy program and be audited for the next 20 years to settle U.S. Federal Trade Commission charges that it had, among other things, lied to users when it said messages sent through its service would be erased after a designated period of time. However, Snapchat's privacy violation is infinitesimally small compared to some others.
Next on the Open Source Horizon: 3D Printing
May 28, 2014
3D printing is not yet a mainstream business activity, but the technology has progressed to the point where users can print three-dimensional objects and manufacture their own prototypes and replacement parts with relative ease. Three-dimensional printing is much more than a hobby industry today. Home users can download design files from websites and print a variety of products for their own use.
Easing Linux Into the Enterprise
May 22, 2014
The pulling points for migrating either to the Linux desktop or the Linux server often are reduced to two things. One is the cost of not migrating. The other is a decision to deploy Linux gradually -- or entirely -- throughout the office infrastructure. Individuals and businesses migrate to Linux for a variety of reasons. Some do it for cost efficiency -- others for greater flexibility.
The Inescapable Logic of Language Localization
May 20, 2014
Tailoring language translations for software documentation and GUIs can make or break an open source project. Localizing language is a unique undertaking, with a number of moving parts. The process of translating language in releases for different target markets presents costly cultural and language translation barriers that often are beyond the financial abilities of the open source community.
The Digital Writing Revolution
May 07, 2014
It's natural to reach for a pad and pen when you need to take notes, but the end result can be frustratingly limited. Yet clicking away on a keypad doesn't quite cut it for all situations. "The cool thing about using the pen with the computer is that it gives you choices," said Doug Little, public relations manager at Wacom. "You're able to draw, write -- basically do anything you want."
Digital Tech Gives Wordsmiths a Whole New World
April 30, 2014
Lexicographer Erin McKean gave a TED talk in 2007 called "The Joy of Lexicography," in which she pointed out the limitations of print dictionaries. After that talk, she decided to make her vision of a new kind of dictionary a reality. Thus was born Wordnik. "Our mission with Wordnik is to put all the words in the dictionary, and show as much data as we can for any word someone is interested in."
The Exploitation of OpenSSL
April 26, 2014
The Web has been abuzz with discussion of the HeartBleed flaw. Security vendors and experts have been falling all over themselves to offer advice on detecting or mitigating the flaw, and consultants have been offering businesses advice on how to deal with the problem. The NSA has been accused of having known about -- and exploited -- the vulnerability.
Heartbleed's Never-Ending Drip, Drip, Drip
April 21, 2014
The Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL has sent just about everyone who uses the Web for fun or profit gibbering madly in search of a solution, creating fertile ground for spammers, scammers and marketing types. Canada is in an uproar following a disclosure by the Canada Revenue Agency that a hacker had exploited Heartbleed to steal about 900 social insurance numbers from it over a six-hour span.
Adobe's Open Source Tightrope Walk
April 19, 2014
Open source software continues to gain momentum -- but what is not growing is an open desire among individual software developers to port their commercial Windows wares to Linux. Open source support is not a mere in or out decision. Some software makers shape their business models to take advantage of open source support for some products but not others.
E-Book Self-Publishing: Brave New Words
April 17, 2014
Mark and Lesleyann Coker wrote a novel, Boob Tube, based on her experiences as a soap opera reporter. They found an agent, who shopped it around to traditional publishers to no avail. Rather than give up, however, they decided to start their own e-book publishing company, Smashwords. "That experience really opened my eyes to how publishing works," said Mark Coker.
Mozilla in the Eye of the Storm
April 15, 2014
The uproar that erupted over Mozilla Foundation cofounder Brendan Eich's appointment as CEO of its subsidiary Mozilla Corp. and resulted in his stepping down perhaps was symptomatic of the troubles the foundation is going through, in that opposition to his taking the post had both political and technological dimensions. Politically, the firestorm was over Eich's anti-gay marriage stance.
Desperately Seeking Linux Programmers
April 11, 2014
Help Wanted: computer programmers needed to code and maintain Linux systems. The Linux operating system and Linux servers are so widely used today that not enough Linux-trained coders and system techs exist. Software developers and enterprise IT departments have jobs but no takers. To fill this shortage, the Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to offer a free online course.
Would You Like Your Open Source All the Way?
April 01, 2014
The enterprise software industry today can be compared to the menus offered at fast-food eateries. Some offer their star item only one way. Others let you have it your way. How much choice you have often determines where you do your eating. The same option -- or lack of it -- is the driving principal behind attracting and keeping enterprise customers paying for open source product support.
Bioprinting, Part 2 - The Ethical Conundrum
March 27, 2014
Nearly 120,000 people in the United States are on the waiting list for an organ transplant that may save their lives, according to the American Transplant Foundation. "In the short term, we need many more people to register to be a potential organ donor," said Jordan Miller, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University.

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