Coming Soon: an Open Source eBook Reader

Electronic component distributor Digi-Key will be producing a small manufacturing run of the “open hardware” ereader from the Open Book Project, reports Gizmodo:

The raw hardware isn’t as sleek or pretty as devices like the Kindle, but at the same time there’s a certain appeal to the exposed circuit board which features brief descriptions of various components, ports, and connections etched right onto the board itself for those looking to tinker or upgrade the hardware. Users are encouraged to design their own enclosures for the Open Book if they prefer, either through 3D-printed cases made of plastic, or rustic wooden enclosures created using laser cutting machines. With a resolution of just 400×300 pixels on its monochromatic E Ink display, text on the Open Book won’t look as pretty as it does on the Amazon Kindle Oasis which boasts a resolution of 1,680×1,264 pixels, but it should barely sip power from its built-in lithium-polymer rechargeable battery — a key benefit of using electronic paper.

The open source ereader — powered by an ARM Cortex M4 processor — will also include a headphone jack for listening to audio books, a dedicated flash chip for storing language files with specific character sets, and even a microphone that leverages a TensorFlow-trained AI model to intelligently process voice commands so you can quietly mutter “next!” to turn the page instead of reaching for one of the ereader’s physical buttons like a neanderthal. It can also be upgraded with additional functionality such as Bluetooth or wifi using Adafruit Feather expansion boards, but the most important feature is simply a microSD card slot allowing users to load whatever electronic text and ebook files they want. They won’t have to be limited by what a giant corporation approves for its online book store, or be subject to price-fixing schemes which, for some reason, have still resulted in electronic files costing more than printed books.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Coming Soon: an Open Source eBook Reader

Porsche's first Super Bowl ad in 23 years is for the electric Taycan

There have been Super Bowl ads for electric cars before, but they’ve tended to treat EVs as novelties. BMW’s 2015 ad for the i3 was practically a crash course in EVs, while Audi’s 2019 spot was more to advertise electrification than the still-unavai…

Source: Engadget – Porsche’s first Super Bowl ad in 23 years is for the electric Taycan

NASA's Curiosity Rover Recovers From Glitch on Mars

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity “lost its orientation…partway through its last set of activities,” reported a planetary geologist on the rover’s team Monday.

Curiosity had lost track of its position in space and the position of its various parts like its robotic arm. “Thus, Curiosity stopped moving, freezing in place until its knowledge of its orientation can be recovered. Curiosity kept sending us information, so we know what happened and can develop a recovery plan….”
Space.com now shares the rest of the story:

“We learned this morning that plan was successful and Curiosity was ready for science once more!” mission team member Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, wrote in another update on Tuesday. This latest recovery shouldn’t come as a shock; Curiosity has overcome numerous setbacks since landing inside Mars’ 96-mile-wide (154 kilometers) Gale Crater in August 2012. The rover has had issues with its memory and its wheels, for example, but has always bounced back…

Curiosity is now climbing the foothills of Mount Sharp, the 3.4-mile-high (5.5 km) mountain that rises from Gale Crater’s center. The rover is reading the rocks for clues about Mars’ long-ago climate transition, which turned the Red Planet from a relatively warm and wet place to the cold desert world it is today.
CNET notes that Curiosity is currently NASA’s only working rover on Mars.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – NASA’s Curiosity Rover Recovers From Glitch on Mars

Alan Turing's Doctorate & Knighthood Medal Recovered 36 Years After Theft

Slashdot reader McGruber shares the news that several of Alan Turing’s historic personal effects have been recovered nearly 36 years after they were stolen. From a report:
In filings in the U.S. District Court of Colorado Friday, federal officials say they seized the British mathematician’s Princeton University degree, his Order of the British Empire medal and several photos, school reports and letters from his time at Sherborne School, a boarding school in Dorset, England.

According to the seizure notices, a woman named Julia Turing approached the University of Colorado Boulder in January 2018, saying she wanted to loan Alan Turing’s memorabilia to the library. Archivists at the library determined that the items were stolen from Sherborne in 1984… Julia Turing isn’t related to Alan Turing, but she changed her last name from Schwinghamer in 1988, according to the complaint…

A month after she reached out to the University of Colorado Boulder, federal officials searched Julia Turing’s home in Conifer and recovered the items.

The Guardian shared this quote from a member of the government committee that decided Turing should appear on the U.K.’s new £50 note.

“[He was] the father of computer science, a significant influence on the modern field of artificial intelligence and most importantly, his work at Bletchley Park during the second world war led a team of code-breakers to crack the German Enigma code.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Alan Turing’s Doctorate & Knighthood Medal Recovered 36 Years After Theft

Alan Turing's Doctorate & Knighthood Medal Recovered 36 Years After Theft

Slashdot reader McGruber shares the news that several of Alan Turing’s historic personal effects have been recovered nearly 36 years after they were stolen. From a report:
In filings in the U.S. District Court of Colorado Friday, federal officials say they seized the British mathematician’s Princeton University degree, his Order of the British Empire medal and several photos, school reports and letters from his time at Sherborne School, a boarding school in Dorset, England.

According to the seizure notices, a woman named Julia Turing approached the University of Colorado Boulder in January 2018, saying she wanted to loan Alan Turing’s memorabilia to the library. Archivists at the library determined that the items were stolen from Sherborne in 1984… Julia Turing isn’t related to Alan Turing, but she changed her last name from Schwinghamer in 1988, according to the complaint…

A month after she reached out to the University of Colorado Boulder, federal officials searched Julia Turing’s home in Conifer and recovered the items.

The Guardian shared this quote from a member of the government committee that decided Turing should appear on the U.K.’s new £50 note.

“[He was] the father of computer science, a significant influence on the modern field of artificial intelligence and most importantly, his work at Bletchley Park during the second world war led a team of code-breakers to crack the German Enigma code.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Alan Turing’s Doctorate & Knighthood Medal Recovered 36 Years After Theft

Apple gets its WiLan patent payout reduced to $85.2 million

Apple won’t have to pay WiLan as much as expected for alleged patent violations. A retrial jury has reduced the damages from WiLan’s lawsuit from the original $145.1 million (determined in 2018) down to slightly over $85.2 million. That’s still no…

Source: Engadget – Apple gets its WiLan patent payout reduced to .2 million

Apple gets its WiLan patent payout reduced to $85.2 million

Apple won’t have to pay WiLan as much as expected for alleged patent violations. A retrial jury has reduced the damages from WiLan’s lawsuit from the original $145.1 million (determined in 2018) down to slightly over $85.2 million. That’s still no…

Source: Engadget – Apple gets its WiLan patent payout reduced to .2 million

Tesla needs to fix Autopilot safety flaws, demands Senator Markey

Elon Musk and Barbara Walters in a Tesla. Musk has his hands off the steering wheel as the car is driving.

Enlarge / Tesla says that Autopilot users should always keep both hands on the steering wheel. (credit: CBS)

On Friday, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) called on Tesla to adopt “common sense recommendations” in its Autopilot driver assist to “guarantee the safety of its technology.” Specifically, he’s asking the automaker to stop implying that the system is capable of self-driving and also asks Tesla to fit a proper driver-monitoring system. The senator began his investigation into the company’s driver-assist package following multiple reports of drivers circumventing the cars’ rudimentary safety controls.

From the senator’s website:

Autopilot is a flawed system, but I believe its dangers can be overcome… I have been proud to work with Tesla on advancing cleaner, more sustainable transportation technologies. But these achievements should not come at the expense of safety. That’s why I’m calling on Tesla to use its resources and expertise to better protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and all other users of the road. I urge Tesla to adopt my common sense recommendations for fixing Autopilot, which include rebranding and remarketing the system to reduce misuse, as well as building backup driver monitoring tools that will make sure no one falls asleep at the wheel. Tesla can and must do more to guarantee the safety of its technology.

This is not the first time that the name Autopilot has come under fire. In 2016, the German transport minister told the company “to no longer use the misleading term for the driver-assistance system of the car.” In 2018, two US consumer safety groups asked the Federal Trade Commission to address Autopilot’s “deceptive and misleading” branding. In 2019, we discovered that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the company to stop making “misleading statements” when it comes to safety, and the company repeatedly made claims about the safety of Autopilot that were not supported by fact. (The data showed that Autosteer—a component of the Autopilot suite of assists—actually increased crashes by 59 percent.)

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Source: Ars Technica – Tesla needs to fix Autopilot safety flaws, demands Senator Markey

New Trailer, Gameplay Videos Released For Upcoming 'DOOM Eternal'

Id software has released a new trailer for their upcoming Doom sequel set on a demon-infested planet Earth in the year 2151. And GameSpot has uploaded a 10-minute clip of gameplay while Collider released 15 minutes.

Collider writes:
Doom Eternal takes everything that was gloriously batshit about Doom 2016, throws it in a Lamborghini full of Slayer albums and catapults it into the sun. This game is out of its goddamn mind in the best possible way, and I literally cannot wait to get my hands on the full version… The Fortress of Doom is massive. I wasn’t able to access every area, and could only guess at the function of some of the areas I did see. One section had the original Doom Marine costume on display in a glass case, and the game’s director, Hugo Martin confirmed that the skin is an unlockable. Moreover, he indicated that there are several unlockable player skins in the game, including one he was clearly excited about but couldn’t reveal, saying that it was still in the licensing approval stage…

Doom Eternal, like its predecessor, is a fast game, pitting you against hordes of powerful enemies that force you to constantly be on the move and quick-swapping weapons to inflict maximum damage while avoiding death. You have a few tools at your disposal to earn guaranteed life, ammo, and armor, which are the over-the-top glory kills, the terrifying chainsaw, and the brand-new flame belcher respectively. Glory kills are special instant-death maneuvers you can unleash on enemies after staggering them, and the addition of a retractable arm blade has heightened the graphic absurdity of them to such a degree that I was giggling like an idiot every time I pulled one off.

I spent the next three hours murdering my way across three massive levels that were incredibly varied in terms of design, beginning in a blasted post-apocalyptic city, then moving to a vast overgrown temple, and finally ending up in a heavily-fortified arctic base… Each stage had a completely different feel — the city was very ground-based, with dark subway tunnels and skeletal office buildings. The temple was spread out across what felt like miles, with an unexpected amount of verticality and traversal thanks to the new climbing mechanic. Yep, Doom Guy can now cling to certain walls, as well as swing from poles to extend his jump and gain access to distant ledges. The climbing controls are a bit funky, like Spider-Man with a rotator cuff injury, but the traversal puzzles are fun and satisfying, and allow for some truly massive environments…

Martin promised that players will continue to be introduced to new enemies and environments right up until the end of the 22+ hour campaign. He describes Doom Eternal as a thinking person’s action game, and that the team’s goal was to create a combat puzzle worth your time.

DOOM Eternal is scheduled to be released on March 20th.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – New Trailer, Gameplay Videos Released For Upcoming ‘DOOM Eternal’

Google Is Going to Charge Cops for Your Data

Google announced that it was going to start charging law enforcement authorities for legal data disclosure requests, such as subpoenas and search warrants, related to its users. The company receives thousands of petitions from authorities every year and has decided to charge to help “offset the costs” associated with…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Google Is Going to Charge Cops for Your Data

Google Is Going to Charge Cops for Your Data

Google announced that it was going to start charging law enforcement authorities for legal data disclosure requests, such as subpoenas and search warrants, related to its users. The company receives thousands of petitions from authorities every year and has decided to charge to help “offset the costs” associated with…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Google Is Going to Charge Cops for Your Data

Google Is Going to Charge Cops for Your Data

Google announced that it was going to start charging law enforcement authorities for legal data disclosure requests, such as subpoenas and search warrants, related to its users. The company receives thousands of petitions from authorities every year and has decided to charge to help “offset the costs” associated with…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Google Is Going to Charge Cops for Your Data

Framework Developer 'Ragequits' Open Source Community, Citing Negative Comments, 'Very Few Provide Help'

The maintainer of the popular Rust web framework Actix has quit the project — though he’s backed off threats to make its code private and delete its repository, instead appointing a new maintainer. “Be a maintainer of large open source project is not a fun task,” he’d complained last week on GitHub. “You alway face with rude and hate, everyone knows better how to build software, nobody wants to do home work and read docs and think a bit and very few provide any help…

“You felt betrayed after you put so much effort and then to hear all this shit comments, even if you understand that that is usual internet behavior…. Nowadays supporting actix project is not fun, and be[ing] part of rust community is not fun as well.”

The Register reports: Actix Web was developed by Nikolay Kim, who is also a senior software engineer at Microsoft, though the Actix project is not an official Microsoft project. Actix Web is based on Actix, a framework for Rust based on the Actor model, also developed by Kim. The web framework is important to the Rust community partly because it addresses a common use case (development web applications) and partly because of its outstanding performance. For some tests, Actix tops the Techempower benchmarks.

The project is open source and while it is popular, there has been some unhappiness among users about its use of “unsafe” code… Safe code is protected from common bugs (and more importantly, security vulnerabilities) arising from issues like variables which point to uninitialized memory, or variables which are used after the memory allocated to them has been freed, or attempting to write data to a variable which exceeds the memory allocated. Code in Rust is safe by default, but the language also supports unsafe code, which can be useful for interoperability or to improve performance.

There is extensive use of unsafe code in Actix, leading to debate about what should be fixed. Kim was not always receptive to proposed changes… Kim said that he did not ignore or delete issues arbitrarily, but only because he felt he had a better or more creative solution than the one proposed — while also acknowledging that the “removing issue was a stupid idea.” He also threatened to “make [Actix] repos private and then delete them….” Since then, matters have improved. The Github repository was restored and Kim said, “I realized, a lot of people depend on actix. And it would be unfair to just delete repos… I hope new community of developers emerge. And good luck!”

The developer news site DevClass wrote that “The apparent ‘ragequit’ has prompted questions about the dynamics within the open source community.” Over 120 GitHub users have now signed a sympathetic letter to Nikolay from “users, contributors, and followers of your work in the Rust community,” saying “We are extremely disappointed at the level of abuse directed towards you.”

“Working on open source projects should be rewarding, and your work has empowered thousands of developers across the world to build web services with Rust. It’s incredibly tragic for someone who has contributed so much to the community, to be made to feel so unwelcome that they feel that they have no other choice than to leave. This is not the kind of community we want.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Framework Developer ‘Ragequits’ Open Source Community, Citing Negative Comments, ‘Very Few Provide Help’