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Portables

OLPC Now Distributes Kid-Friendly Tablets, Not Just Notebooks (Video) 55

Posted by Roblimo
from the less-costly-than-even-a-few-years'-worth-of-textbooks dept.
Giulia D'Amico, Business Development VP for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) talks about the new OLPC tablets, which are now available in the U.S. through Target, Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers, with some of the $150 sales price for each tablet going to support the OLPC project in places like Uruguay, Cambodia, Rwanda, and other countries where a tablet loaded with teaching software is a way better deal than trying to supply all the books a child needs for six or eight years of school. While there are many Android tablets for sale for less than $150, Giulia points out that the OLPC tablets contain up to $300 worth of software. Plus, of course, just as with almost any other Android device, there are many thousands of apps available for it through Google Play. And let's not forget the original OLPC laptop. It has been redesigned, and renamed the OLPC XO-4 and looks much cooler than the original. You can learn more about it through olpc.tv, which has videos from the introduction of both the OPLC tablet and the XO-4 at CES 2013. OLPC has shipped close to 3 million laptops so far, and is working to port Sugar to Android so that the laptop and the tablet can use the same software. One more thing: OLPC is now focusing on software rather than hardware. When the project started at MIT, back in 2006 or so, there was no suitable hardware available. Today, many companies make low-cost tablets and keyboards for them, so there's no real need for OLPC to make its own instead of using existing hardware.
Open Source

Live Q&A With Outercurve Foundation President Jim Jagielski 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
Jim Jagielski is one of the co-founders of the Apache Software Foundation, a director of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), new President of the Outercurve Foundation, and as we mentioned yesterday, your interview subject for the next two hours. Mr. Jagielski will be answering your questions below until 2:00 ET (18:00 GMT). Please keep it to one question per post so everyone gets a chance.

Update: 2pm ET has come and gone. Mr. Jagielski might stick around for a bit and answer questions later so make sure to check back. A big thanks to him for his time and answers! Here's a link to his user page where you can read all his responses.
Open Source

Q&A With Outercurve Foundation President Jim Jagielski Tomorrow 12-2pm ET 5

Posted by samzenpus
from the got-a-question? dept.
Jim Jagielski is likely best known as one of the developers and co-founders of the Apache Software Foundation, where he has previously served as both Chairman and President. He also is a director of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and now serves as President of the Outercurve Foundation. Formerly known as the CodePlex Foundation, the Outercurve Foundation is "a not-for-profit foundation created as a forum in which open source communities and the software development community can come together with the shared goal of increasing participation in open source community projects." Jim has agreed to answer your questions in real-time about his new position and the Outercurve Foundation itself on Wednesday, August 28th from 12-2pm ET (16:00-18:00 GMT). Check back tomorrow and hear what he has to say.
Biotech

The Cryonics Institute Offers a Chance at Immortality (Video #2) 155

Posted by Roblimo
from the living-forever-sounds-kind-of-boring dept.
Today's interviewee is Cryonics Institute (CI) Director Andy Zawacki, who takes Slashdot's Robert Rozeboom into the facility where they keep the tanks with frozen people in them. Yesterday, Rob talked with David Ettinger, who is both the group's lawyer and the son of CI founder Robert Ettinger. For those of you who are obsessed with the process of vitrification, here's a link to a story about The Cryonics Institute's 69th Patient and how she was taken care of, starting at the moment of her deanimation (AKA death). The story has anatomical drawings, charts, and color pictures of Andy carrying out the actual procedure. But Cryonics, while endorsed as a concept by numerous scientists, may not be as good a way to insure immortality as transplanting your brain into a fresh (probably robotic) body, as Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov hopes to do by 2035. There are also many groups that claim to offer spiritual (as opposed to corporeal) immortality. Which method of living forever works best? That remains to be seen, assuming any of them work at all. Perhaps we'll find out after the Singularity.
Biotech

The Cryonics Institute Offers a Chance at Immortality (Video) 254

Posted by Roblimo
from the never-ever-refer-to-me-as-a-corpsicle-you-room-temperature-bag-of-bones dept.
Do you want to be frozen after you die, in hopes of being revived a century or two (or maybe ten) in the future? It can cost less than an electric car. That's what the Cryonics Institute (CI) offers. David Ettinger, today's interviewee, is both the son of CI founder Robert Ettinger and CI's lawyer. In this video, among other things, he talks about arrangements that were made for his father's demise, and how they were able to start the cryopreservation process almost immediately after he expired. Is Cryonics the best chance at immortality for those of us likely to die before the Singularity arrives, and gives all of us the tools we need to live forever? David Ettinger obviously thinks so. (This is Video #1 of 2. The second one is scheduled to run tomorrow. It's an interview with CI Director Andy Zawacki, who takes us into the facility where the frozen bodies are stored.)
Python

Interviews: Q&A With Guido van Rossum 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-away dept.
Guido van Rossum is best known as the creator of Python, and he remains the BDFL (Benevolent Dictator For Life) in the community. The recipient of many awards for his work, and author of numerous books, he left Google in December and started working for Dropbox early this year. A lot has happened in the 12 years since we talked to Guido and he's agreed to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Space

Jon Oxer Talks About the ArduSats That are On the Way to ISS (Video) 17

Posted by Roblimo
from the they-sang-the-hit-song-'hitching-a-ride'-all-the-way-into-space dept.
Two ArduSats were launched last week from Japan, along with an ISS resupply package, and on August 9 this payload is due to arrive at the International Space Station. Jon Oxer is a co-founder of Freetronics, a company that sells Arduino-based products, so he has a vested interest in ArduSat's success. He's also a major Free Software booster, which may be part of the reason he was at OSCON -- where Timothy Lord and his camcorder caught up with him. BTW: This is the same JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) launch that is carrying the first talking humanoid robot to go into space from Earth. So this launch is not only "a giant leap for robots," as Japanese robot Mirata famously said, but is also a good-sized step for Arduinos. And for CubeSats, too.
Security

Big Data for People and Revolutionaries, Not Just Businesses (Video) 9

Posted by Roblimo
from the if-they're-watching-you-why-not-watch-yourself-to-see-what-they-see? dept.
This started as a basic, "Tell us how your service can help Slashdot readers who might want to go go into business," interview, but quickly morphed into something else. For one thing, Sumall CEO Dane Atkinson is not only a William Gibson fan, but actually knows Mr. Gibson rather well. For another, he soon jumped off the business topic, let his inner idealist take the stage, and started talking about how we, as individuals, can use Sumall's (free) service to track ourselves much the way NSA and big businesses do, and how we can see at least some of what they know about us. Then we started talking about how political candidates, parties, and even revolutionaries can (and do) use Sumall to track results of their actions -- and how cults and dictatorships do, too. The interview moves into subversive territory at around 7:40, but if you watch/listen from the beginning you'll get a more complete grasp of how this particular Big Data subset works, whether it's for small business marketing or as a way to justify your personal paranoia level.
Ubuntu

Jono Bacon Talks About Ubuntu Phone Progress (Video) 55

Posted by Roblimo
from the my-phone-is-smarter-than-yours dept.
Timothy Lord caught up with Ubuntu's Jono Bacon at OSCON and got a nice update on the state of the Ubuntu Phone, which Canonical first announced in January, 2013. Tim interviewed Jono about it on camera at CES in February. Look at the "Related Stories" attached to this intro and you'll see a bunch more Ubuntu phone stories. DISCLOSURE: At least two Slashdot editors currently run Ubuntu or Kubuntu, so we have at least a mild pro-Ubuntu bias. Bias or no, It's interesting to watch the Ubuntu phone development process, even as those who are satisfied with Android phone or iPhones, ask, "Why?" We could ask the same about the Firefox OS Phone, too. Maybe the most realistic answer in both cases is, "Because we could." But who knows? These new phone operating systems might turn out to be more useful than Android or iOS. We'll see.
Open Source

Attorney Jim Hazard is Working to Open-Source Law (Video) 58

Posted by timothy
from the laws-are-sort-of-a-kind-of-source-code dept.
Jim Hazard is a lawyer who leans geek; since he got his law degree in 1979, he's been the guy in the office who could make sense of things technical more often than others could, and dates his interest in regularizing complex legal documents (and making them a bit *less* complex) back to the era where Wang word processors were being replaced with personal computers. Most documents -- no matter how similar to each other, and how much work was spent in re-creating similar parts -- were "pickled" in proprietary formats that didn't lend themselves to labor-saving generalization and abstraction. That didn't sit well with Jim, and (in the spirit of Larry Lessig's declaration that "law is code," Hazard has been working for years to translate some of the best practices and tools of programmers (like code re-use, version control systems, and hierarchies of variables) to the field of law, in particular to contract formation. (Think about how many contracts you're party to; in modern life, there are probably quite a few.) He calls his endeavor Common Accord, and he'd like to see it bring the benefits of open source to both lawyers and their clients.
Security

Sound-Based Device Authentication Has Many Possibilities (Video) 56 Screenshot-sm

Posted by Roblimo
from the it's-so-secret-we-don't-even-want-the-government-to-know-about-it dept.
Imagine a short (audio) squawk, less than one second long, as a secure authentication method for cell phones or other mobile devices. A company called illiri has developed (and has a patent pending on) a method to do exactly that. The company is so new that its website has only been up for a month, and this interview is their first real public announcement of what they're up to. They envision data sent as sound as a way to facilitate social media, mobile payments (initially with Bitcoin), gaming, and secure logins. Couldn't it also be used for "rebel" communications, possibly by a group of insurgents who want to overthrow the Iranian theocracy? Or even by dissidents in Russia, the country our interviewee, illiri co-founder Vadim Sokolovsky, escaped from? (And yes, "escaped" is his word.) And, considering the way illiri hopes to profit from their work, should they think about open sourcing their work and making their money with services based on their software, along with selling private servers that run it, much the way Sourcefire does in its industry niche? Their APIs are already open, so moving entirely to open source is not a great mental leap for illiri's management. In any case: Is their idea worthwhile? Are there already ways to achieve the same results? Is illliri's way enough better than existing mobile device security systems that it's worth exploring? And would it be better, not just for the world in general, but as a way to help illiri's founders make a living if their software was open source? (Transcript included)
Media

Former WaPo Staffer Rob Pegoraro Talks About Newspapers' Decline (Video) 79 Screenshot-sm

Posted by Roblimo
from the paper-is-too-20th-century-for-words dept.
Newpapers. Remember them? The printout editions of websites like NYTimes.com, WSJ.com, and Rob Pegoraro's former workplace, WashingtonPost.com? Rob still writes for USAToday.com and its printout edition, but as a freelancer, not on staff. He's one of few newspaper layoff victims who has managed to hustle up enough freelance work to make a decent living. He's even on Boing Boing and Discovery.com. Where else? Tiny shots on various TV news programs, and one-off articles here and there. He's a hard-working and prolific guy, and he's had an insider's view of the decline of the newspaper industry and the rise of the online news business. In this interview he talks about both -- and adds a few cautionary notes for Rob Malda, the Slashdot co-founder who is now a Washington Post employee.
Government

C|Net Reporter Declan McCullagh Talks About Privacy (Video) 51

Posted by Roblimo
from the quit-looking-under-my-skirts-said-lady-liberty dept.
Declan Mccullagh, C|net's Chief political correspondent, has covered politics since the late 1990s for a variety of publications. He is a strong libertarian, privacy advocate, and long time Slashdot reader who is not happy about how the NSA and other government bodies are sticking their noses into our personal business. He and I originally talked about doing an interview based on a story he wrote for C|net on July 12 titled How the U.S. forces Net firms to cooperate on surveillance. Scheduling problems put the interview off for a bit, but here we are. Note that Declan has written millions of pixels worth of material about privacy, NSA spying, and related matters. With new revelations about unsavory government activities coming to light seemingly every day the interview delay is no big deal. And this question still remains: Can we repeal the Patriot Act? New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt wants to. What about your representatives? Are they willing to join Rep. Holt? Do you think they might if a bunch of people -- perhaps starting with you -- asked them to?
Transportation

Peter Wayner Talks About His New Book, Future Ride (Video) 28

Posted by Roblimo
from the our-new-car-tells-the-government-everything-we-do-and-everywhere-we-go dept.
We've already done two video interviews with Peter Wayner. Third time being the charm, his latest book, Future Ride, is now out and available for purchase. If you've followed and possibly even enjoyed this string of interviews with Peter, Future Ride might be valuable reading material for you. It's what I call a "futureproofing" book, and in today's fast-changing world being prepared for tomorrow -- even just in the sense of thinking about the many ways our society might change if our cars and trucks drive themselves -- is valuable for business and career reasons, aside from the sheer joy of speculating about what the future may hold.
Java

Interviews: Ask James Gosling About Java and Ocean Exploring Robots 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-away dept.
James Gosling is probably best known for creating the Java programming language while working at Sun Microsystems. Currently, he is the chief software architect at Liquid Robotics. Among other projects, Liquid Robotics makes the Wave Glider, an autonomous, environmentally powered marine robot. James has agreed to take a little time from the oceangoing robots and answer any questions you have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Supercomputing

Meet the Stampede Supercomputing Cluster's Administrator (Video) 34 Screenshot-sm

Posted by timothy
from the them's-blinkenlights-y'all dept.
UT Austin tends not to do things by half measures, as illustrated by the Texas Advanced Computing Center, which has been home to an evolving family of supercomputing clusters. The latest of these, Stampede, was first mentioned here back in 2011, before it was actually constructed. In the time since, Stampede has been not only completed, but upgraded; it's just successfully completed a successful six months since its last major update — the labor-intensive installation of Xeon Phi processors throughout 106 densely packed racks. I visited TACC, camera in hand, to take a look at this megawatt-eating electronic hive (well, herd) and talk with director of high-performance computing Bill Barth, who has insight into what it's like both as an end-user (both commercial and academic projects get to use Stampede) and as an administrator on such a big system.
Entertainment

Sarah Thee Campagna Makes Robot Sculptures (Video) 33

Posted by Roblimo
from the some-people-do-car-rescue-and-some-do-robot-rescue dept.
Sarah's CyberCraft "about" page says, "Here at CyberCraft Robots, our Orbiting Laboratory allows us to search local star systems for Artifacts from the Future." CyberCraft's Earthside component is in St. Petersburg, Florida, where Sarah assembles robots from found parts that others might think are just ordinary industrial detritus, but that she has learned to recognize as parts from disassembled or abandoned robots. She has an alternate version of CyberCraft's history for people "with less imagination," about how she jumped from being a math whiz to studying for an EE to working as a programmer to art... and into making art robots. Or robot art, depending on how you look at it. The robots, ray guns, and spaceships Sarah makes will not fight battles or clean your house. They just sit there and look good. And they get shown in fine art galleries, so we know they're art, not just ordinary robots. This isn't to say Sarah is the only human making robot sculptures. A Google search for "robot sculpture" turns up plenty of others. We met Sarah purely by chance. We easily could have met one of the many other robot sculptors instead, but she's the one we happened to come across first. Perhaps the Quantum Computer that runs the Orbiting Robot Laboratory directed us to her. That's as good an explanation as any, isn't it?

That does not compute.

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