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Firefox

Video Mozilla Project Working on Immersive Displays (Video) 7

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 138

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.
Graphics

Do We Need More Emojis? 263

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!
Graphics

AMD Unveils Radeon R9 Nano, Targets Mini ITX Gaming Systems With a New Fury 59

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 43

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

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.
Graphics

NVIDIA Launches $159 Mainstream Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 950 85

MojoKid writes: NVIDIA is launching a new mainstream graphics card today, the GeForce GTX 950, based on the company's GM206 GPU. The GM206 debuted on the GeForce GTX 960, which launched a few months back. As the new card's name suggests though, the GM206 used on the GeForce GTX 950 isn't quite as powerful as the one used on the GTX 960. The company is targeting this card at MOBA (massive online battle arena) players, who don't necessarily need the most powerful GPUs on the market, but want smooth, consistent framerates at resolutions of 1080p or below. It's being positioned as a significant, yet affordable, upgrade over cards like the GeForce GTX 650 Ti, that are a couple of generations old. NVIDIA's reference specifications for the GeForce GTX 950 call for a base clock of 1024MHz and a Boost clock of 1188MHz. The GPU is packing 768 CUDA cores, 48 texture units, and 32 ROPs. The 2GB of video memory on GeForce GTX 950 cards is clocked at a 6.6GHz (effective GDDR5 data rate) and the memory links to the GPU via a 128-bit interface. At those clocks, the GeForce GTX 950 offers up a peak textured fillrate of 49.2 GTexels/s and 105.6 GB/s of memory bandwidth. At a $159 starting MSRP, in the benchmarks, the GeForce GTX 950 offers solid entry level or midrange performance at 1080p resolutions. It's a bit faster than AMD's Radeon R9 270X but comes in just behind a Radeon R9 285.
Businesses

Sprint Drops Two-Year Contracts 112

An anonymous reader writes: Following the recent news that Verizon has ended smartphone subsidies, now Sprint has announced it is ending two-year contracts as well. This leaves AT&T as the last of the major carriers to offer such a plan. Most consumers will now have to get used to paying full price for their phones, though Sprint is also running a phone-leasing plan that lets people pay an additional $22/month for an 16GB iPhone, with yearly upgrades.
Upgrades

Revisiting How Much RAM Is Enough Today For Desktop Computing 350

jjslash writes: An article at TechSpot tests how much RAM you need for regular desktop computing and how it affects performance in apps and games. As it turns out, there's not much benefit going beyond 8 GB for regular programs, and surprisingly, 4GB still seems to be enough for gaming in most cases. Although RAM is cheap these days, and they had to go to absurdly unrealistic settings to simulate high demand for memory outside of virtualization, it's a good read to confirm our judgment calls on what is enough for most in 2015.
Graphics

Intel Skylake Gen9 Series Graphics Architecture Unveiled 29

MojoKid writes: Intel's Skylake is here and the new architecture comprises Intel's 6th generation Core line of CPUs. In recent testing it was confirmed that Intel's Skylake-based Core i7-6700K is the company's fastest quad-core desktop processor to date. However, one thing Intel kept a tight lid on was the underlying technology of the Gen9 Intel HD Graphics engine on board Skylake, that is until now. An overview of the changes Intel made specific to Intel Gen9 graphics, notes the following among other tweaks: Available L3 cache capacity has been increased to 768 Kbytes per slice (512 Kbytes for application data). Sizes of both L3 and LLC request queues have been increased. This improves latency hiding to achieve better effective bandwidth against the architecture peak theoretical. Gen9 EDRAM now acts as a memory-side cache between LLC and DRAM. Also, the EDRAM memory controller has moved into the system agent, adjacent to the display controller, to support power efficient and low latency display refresh. Gen9 has also been designed to enable products with 1, 2, or 3 slices, each with 24 EUs per slice and 8 EUs per subslice. Finally, Gen9 adds new power gating and clock domains for more efficient dynamic power management. This can particularly improve low power media playback modes.
AMD

DirectX 12 Performance Tested In Ashes of the Singularity 96

Vigile writes: The future of graphics APIs lies in DirectX 12 and Vulkan, both built to target GPU hardware at a lower level than previously available. The advantages are better performance, better efficiency on all hardware and more control for the developer that is willing to put in the time and effort to understand the hardware in question. Until today we have only heard or seen theoretical "peak" performance claims of DX12 compared to DX11. PC Perspective just posted an article that uses a pre-beta version of Ashes of the Singularity, an upcoming RTS utilizing the Oxide Games Nitrous engine, to evaluate and compare DX12's performance claims and gains against DX11. In the story we find five different processor platforms tested with two different GPUs and two different resolutions. Results are interesting and show that DX12 levels the playing field for AMD, with its R9 390X gaining enough ground in DX12 to overcome a significant performance deficit that exists using DX11 to the GTX 980.
Firefox

Firefox 40 Arrives With Windows 10 Support, Expanded Malware Protection 113

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 40 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include official Windows 10 support, added protection against unwanted software downloads, and new navigational gestures on Android. Firefox 40 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Changelogs are here: desktop and Android.
Windows

Windows 10, From a Linux User's Perspective 321

Phoronix features today a review of Windows 10 that's a little different from most you might read, because it's specifically from the point of view of an admin who uses both Windows and Linux daily, rather than concentrating only on the UI of Windows qua Windows. Reviewer Eric Griffith finds some annoyances (giant start menu even when edited to contain fewer items, complicated process if you want a truly clean install), but also some good things, like improved responsiveness ("feels much more responsive than even my Gnome and KDE installations under Fedora") and an appropriately straightforward implementation of virtual workspaces. Overall? Windows 10 is largely an evolutionary upgrade over Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, rather than a revolutionary one. Honestly I think the only reason it will be declared as 'so good' is because Windows 8/8.1 were so bad. Sure, Microsoft has made some good changes under the surface-- the animations feel crisper, its relatively light on resources, battery life is good. There is nothing -wrong- with Windows 10 aside from the Privacy Policy. If you're on Windows Vista, or Windows 8/8.1, then sure, upgrade. The system is refreshing to use, it's perfectly fine and definitely an upgrade. If you're on Windows 7 though? I'm not so sure. ... Overall, there's really nothing to see here. It's not terrible, it's not even 'bad, it's just... okay. A quiet little upgrade.
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: How To Safely Use Older Android Phones? 133

An anonymous reader writes: Like many people reading this site, I have several older phones around as well as my newest, fanciest one; I have a minimal service plan on one of these (my next-to-most-recent), and no service plan (only WI-Fi, as available) on the others. Most of them have some reason or other that I like them, so even without service I've kept them around to act as micro-tablets. Some have a better in-built camera than my current phone, despite being older; some are nice on occasion for being small and pocketable; I like to use one as a GPS in the car without dedicating my phone to that purpose; I can let my young relatives use an older one as a camera, etc. Besides, some people have only one phone at all, and can't reasonably afford a new one -- and that probably means a phone that's not cutting edge. So: in light of the several recent Android vulnerabilities that have come to light, and no reason to think they're the last of these, what's a smart way to use older Android phones? Is CyanoGen Mod any less vulnerable? Should I be worried that old personally identifying information from online transactions is still hanging around somewhere in the phone's recesses? I don't want to toss still-useful hardware, but I know I won't be getting any OS upgrades to 3-year-old phones. How do you use older phones that are not going to get OTA updates to address every security issue?
Windows

Windows 10 RSAT, Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3 Coming This Month 26

We've heard a lot lately about the release and reception of Windows 10; however, the Windows family includes more than just the most-seen desktop OS. Mark Wilson writes: Microsoft's Gabe Aul has revealed that the company plans to release a new technical preview of Windows Server 2016 later this month. Responding to questions on Twitter, the company's Corporate Vice President and face of the Windows Insider program also said that Windows 10 RSAT [Remote Server Administration Tools] will be launched in August. Unlike the preview builds of Windows 10, previews of the latest edition of Windows Server have been slower to creep out of Redmond. Sysadmins will be keen to get their hands on the latest builds to see just what direction Microsoft is taking with its server software after the decision to delay the launch. We don't know anything about what the third technical preview of Windows Server 2016 might include, but it is likely to be little more than a collection of bug fixes and tweaks. It's a little late in the game to expect any major changes to be made.
Bug

Ask Slashdot: Patch Management For Offline Customer Systems? 78

New submitter Nillerz writes: What, in your experience, is generally the best way to distribute patches in a way so customers can download them, considering that the machines are offline? Are there any software packages (open source preferred) that pretty much allow engineers to upload a patch with a description to a web server, and allow customers with credentials that are registered in LDAP to browse and download them quickly? And if not, how do you distribute patches to air-gapped machines?
Intel

Intel's Skylake Architecture Reviewed 99

Vigile writes: The Intel Skylake architecture has been on our radar for quite a long time as Intel's next big step in CPU design. We know at least a handful of details: DDR4 memory support, 14nm process technology, modest IPC gains and impressive GPU improvements. But the details have remained a mystery on how the "tock" of Skylake on the 14nm process technology will differ from Broadwell and Haswell. That changes today with the official release of the "K" SKUs of Skylake — the unlocked, enthusiast class parts for DIY PC builders. PC Perspective has a full review of the Core i7-6700K with benchmarks as well as discrete GPU and gaming testing that shows Skylake is an impressive part. IPC gains on Skylake over Haswell are modest but noticeable, and IGP performance is as much as 50% higher than Devil's Canyon. Based on that discrete GPU testing, all those users still on Nehalem and Sandy Bridge might finally have a reason to upgrade to Skylake. Other reviews available at Anandtech, Hot Hardware, [H]ard|OCP, and TechSpot.
Privacy

Ask Slashdot: Can You Disable Windows 10's Privacy-Invading Features? 492

An anonymous reader writes: I really want to upgrade to Windows 10, but have begun seeing stories come out about the new Terms and how they affect your privacy. It looks like the default Windows 10 system puts copies of your data out on the "cloud", gives your passwords out, and targets advertising to you. The main reason I am looking to upgrade is that Bitlocker is not available on Windows 7 Pro, but is on Windows 10 Pro, and Microsoft no longer offers Anytime Upgrades to Windows 7 Ultimate. However, I don't want to give away my privacy for security. The other option is to wait until October to see what the Windows 10 Enterprise version offers, but it may not be available through retail. Are the privacy minded Slashdot readers not going with Windows 10?

For reference, I am referring to these articles.
(Not to mention claims that it steals your bandwidth.)
Intel

10 Years of Intel Processors Compared 98

jjslash writes to Techspot's interesting look back at the evolution of Intel CPUs since the original Core 2 Duo E6600 and Core 2 Quad processors were introduced. The test pits the eight-year-old CPUs against their successors in the Nehalem, Sandy Bridge and Haswell families, including today's Celeron and Pentium parts which fare comparably well. A great reference just days before Intel's new Skylake processor debuts.
Windows

A Naysayer's Take On Windows 10: Potential Privacy Mess, and Worse 485

Lauren Weinstein writes: I had originally been considering accepting Microsoft's offer of a free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. After all, reports have suggested that it's a much more usable system than Windows 8/8.1 — but of course in keeping with the 'every other MS release of Windows is a dog' history, that's a pretty low bar. However, it appears that MS has significantly botched their deployment of Windows 10. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised, even though hope springs eternal. Since there are so many issues involved, and MS is very aggressively pushing this upgrade, I'm going to run through key points here quickly, and reference other sites' pages that can give you more information right now. But here's my executive summary: You may want to think twice, or three times, or many more times, about whether or not you wish to accept the Windows 10 free upgrade on your existing Windows 7 or 8/8.1 system. Now that we're into the first week of widespread availability for the new version, if you're a Windows user and upgrader, has your experience been good, horrible, or someplace between?