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Bug

Chromecast Update Bringing Grief For Many Users 135 135

Posted by timothy
from the everyone-complains dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Last week, many Chromecast users were automatically "upgraded" to build 32904. Among the issues seen with this update are placing some users on the 'beta' release track, issues with popular apps such as Plex, HBO GO, (more embarassingly) YouTube, and others. Google so far has been slow to respond or even acknowledge the issues brought by customers, save for the beta release mishap. If you're a Chromecast user, what's been your experience?
AI

GA Tech Researchers Train Computer To Create New "Mario Brothers" Levels 27 27

Posted by timothy
from the your-job-is-not-safe-level-designers dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a Georgia Institute of Technology report that researchers there have created a computing system that views gameplay video from streaming services like YouTube or Twitch, analyzes the footage and then is able to create original new sections of a game. The team tested their discovery, the first of its kind, with the original Super Mario Brothers, a well-known two-dimensional platformer game that will allow the new automatic-level designer to replicate results across similar games. Rather than the playable character himself, the Georgia Tech system focuses instead on the in-game terrain. "For example, pipes in the Mario games tend to stick out of the ground, so the system learns this and prevents any pipes from being flush with grassy surfaces. It also prevents "breaks" by using spatial analysis – e.g. no impossibly long jumps for the hero."
Robotics

Making a Birdhouse is Like 'Hello World' for a Versatile Factory Robot (2 Videos) 24 24

Posted by Roblimo
from the do-robot-birdhouse-builders-keep-robot-cats-as-pets? dept.
Many millions of American students have been called on to construct a wooden birdhouse as part of a middle- or high-school shop class. To make a birdhouse from wood and nails may not requite advanced carpentry, but it does take eye-hand coordination, object recognition, the ability to lift constituent pieces, and to grasp and wield tools -- and each of those can be broken down further into smaller tasks and skills of the kind that we as humans don't generally have to think about. ("Rotate wrist slightly to account for board angle.") For robots, it's another story: like the computers that run them, robots generally only do what they're told. Industrial robots can do some complex tasks, but they're expensive and complex to program.

Benjamin Cohen is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Pennsylvania working under adviser Maxim Likhachev with a real-world, cheap way to make robots to accomplish a multi-step project with minimal human intervention, which he calls "autonomous robotic assembly." Project Birdhouse -- part of his Ph.D. work, along with teammates Mike Phillips and Ellis Ranter -- is Cohen's effort to create a sort of "Hello, World" for robots. With a combination of a research-platform robot base, off-the-shelf parts, like a nail gun (read: "One not built for robot use"), and software to squeeze greater accuracy out of the system as a whole, he and his colleagues have come up with a robot that can grab a selection of parts, align them properly, and assemble them with nails into a functional birdhouse. QR codes let the robot give the robot a sort of recipe to follow, and the system is smart enough to squawk if it doesn't have the right parts to complete the task. (Check out more video with the robot in action, and a great many photos, sketches, and diagrams illustrating the project's evolution.)

NOTE: We split today's video in half, with both halves running right here, today. This way, if you watch the first video and and want to learn more, you can move on to the second one. And the transcript not only covers both videos, but has "bonus" material that isn't in either one.
Google

YouTube Algorithm Can Decide Your Channel URL Now Belongs To Someone Else 271 271

Posted by timothy
from the spartacus-gets-really-confusing dept.
An anonymous reader writes: In 2005, blogger Matthew Lush registered "Lush" as his account on the then-nascent YouTube service, receiving www.youtube.com/lush as the URL for his channel. He went on to use this address on his marketing materials and merchandise. Now, YouTube has taken the URL and reassigned it to the Lush cosmetics brand. Google states that an algorithm determined the URL should belong to the cosmetics firm rather than its current owner, and insists that it is not possible to reverse the unrequested change. Although Lush cosmetics has the option of changing away from their newly-received URL and thereby freeing it up for Mr. Lush's use, they state that they have not decided whether they will. Google has offered to pay for some of Mr. Lush's marketing expenses as compensation.
Government

Mayday PAC's Benjamin Singer Explains How You can Help Reform American Politics (Video) 232 232

Posted by Roblimo
from the if-it's-our-government-why-doesn't-it-do-what-we-want-it-to-do? dept.
Larry Lessig's Mayday PAC is a SuperPac that is working to eliminate the inherent corruption of having a government run almost entirely by people who manage to raise -- or have their "non-connected" SuperPACs raise -- most of the money they need to run their campaigns. The Mayday PAC isn't about right or left wing or partisan politics at all. It's about finding and supporting candidates who are in favor of something like last year's Government by the People Act. As we noted in our Mayday Pac interview with Larry Lessig last June, a whole panoply of tech luminaries, up to and including Steve Wozniak, are in favor of Mayday PAC.

This interview is being posted, appropriately, just before the 4th of July, but it's also just one day before the Mayday PAC Day of Action to Reform Congress. They're big on calling members of Congress rather than emailing, because our representatives get email by the (digital) bushel, while they get comparatively few issue-oriented phone calls from citizens. So Mayday PAC makes it easy for you to call your Congressional representatives and even, if you're too shy to talk to a legislative aide in person, to record a message Mayday PAC will leave for them after hours.

The five specific pieces of legislation Mayday PAC currently supports are listed at the RepsWith.US/reforms page. Two are sponsored by Republicans, two by Democrats, and one by an Independent. That's about as non-partisan as you can get, so no matter what kind of political beliefs you hold, you can support Mayday PAC with a clear conscience. (Note: the transcript has more information than the video, which is less than six minutes long.)
Medicine

Triggering a Mouse's Happy Memories With Lasers Gives It the Will To Struggle On 66 66

Posted by timothy
from the how-do-they-know-it's-a-happy-memory? dept.
the_newsbeagle writes: With optogenetics, scientists can tag neurons with light-responsive proteins, and then trigger those neurons to "turn on" with the pulse of a light. In the latest application, MIT researchers used light to turn on certain neurons in male mice's hippocampi that were associated with a happy memory (coming into contact with female mice!), and then tested whether that artificially activated memory changed the mice's reactions to a stressful situation (being hung by their tails). Mice who got jolted with the happy memory struggled to get free for longer than the control mice. This tail-suspension test was developed to screen potential antidepressant drugs: If a rodent struggles longer before giving up, it's considered less depressed.
Youtube

Google Launches YouTube Newswire To Verify Eyewitness Videos 22 22

Posted by samzenpus
from the like-you-were-there dept.
An anonymous reader writes: YouTube has started a video news service to showcase the most interesting clips recorded and posted by eyewitnesses at events unfolding around the world. In partnership with the social news group Storyful, YouTube Newswire will be "a curated feed of the most newsworthy eyewitness videos of the day, which have been verified by Storyful's team of editors," a blog post said. Cnet reports: "In addition to the newswire, YouTube on Thursday announced two other projects that have to do with eyewitness journalism. One of the projects, called the First Draft Coalition, will serve as an educational resource for journalists — helping them to verify eyewitness videos and consider the ethics of using them in stories. The other is a partnership with the Witness Media Lab, focused on eyewitness videos having to do with human rights issues."
E3

Bethesda Unveils New Doom Game, Announces Dishonored 2 113 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the knee-deep-in-the-sequels dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Bethesda kicked off this year's E3 expo by unveiling the new Doom game they've been working on and announcing a sequel to the popular fantasy action-adventure game Dishonored. They've posted a gory trailer (YouTube) for Doom, and shared several minutes of gameplay footage as well. The game is due out in Spring 2016 for Xbox One, PS4, and PCs, and it will include an editor that will let players make new maps and gameplay modes. Dishonored 2 has a trailer as well, though fewer details have been shared about the game. Bethesda also added details to their recent announcement of Fallout 4. It's been given a release date of November 10th (2015), and they did a live demo on stage at E3 (YouTube) with a bunch of game footage.
Apple

Tech Jobs and Apple: Every Bit As "Fun" As Pleasure Island? 185 185

Posted by timothy
from the depends-what-you're-into dept.
theodp writes: On the eve of Apple's big Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the lack of diversity in tech is 'our fault' — 'our' meaning the whole tech community. "I think in general we haven't done enough to reach out and show young women that it's cool to do it [tech] and how much fun it can be," Cook explained. Indeed, the WWDC scholarship winners shooting selfies with Cook at the San Francisco Four Seasons to celebrate their iPhone apps and other WWDC attendees looked to be having as much fun as, well, Pinocchio at Pleasure Island. But, as the NY Times recently pointed out, Cook can be guilty of overlooking inconvenient truths. Which here is that most young women (and men) wouldn't find it 'cool' or 'fun' to live with 8,000 co-workers in factory dormitories where they can be roused out of bed in the middle of the night by Apple for an emergency 12-hour shift to fit glass screens into beveled iPhone frames, although that too conjures up a scene from Pleasure Island.
Youtube

Google Announces YouTube Gaming 50 50

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-change-horses dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Today Google announced a major new rival to Twitch.tv: YouTube Gaming. In addition to providing structure for the gaming content YouTube already serves (like walkthroughs, reviews, "Let's Plays," speed runs, etc), it'll also be a livestreaming hub for those who like broadcasting their games or watching other people play. Each video game will have its own dedicated page, and users will be able to add games to their "collection" to see other users's videos relating to those games. YouTube Gaming will have its own dedicated app, as well as being a part of the YouTube website. Google is also touting a recommendation engine that will help gamers find more content to watch.
Australia

Drone Racing Poised To Go Mainstream 98 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-sure-they-wear-helmets dept.
New submitter Strepto writes: Using video cameras and special goggles or screens, First Person View has been a thing in the RC world for a while. In the last couple of years though, mini quadcopters have taken things to a whole new level, and the inevitable racing has begun to happen with these incredibly quick and agile little machines.

A recent event in Melbourne, Australia, was covered by various media including the ABC, Gizmag and Mashable. Our little media race (first and last place videos here) went down well, but there are still a number of regulatory barriers to jump in Australia and overseas. It's hard to judge public perception though. I was just wondering what the Slashdot crew thinks about this; does it look dangerous, irresponsible or just plain cool? What do you think the future holds?
Biotech

An Origami Inspired Bacteria-Powered Battery 27 27

Posted by timothy
from the know-when-to-fold-'em dept.
jan_jes writes: Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding created by Akira Yoshizawa, which can be used to create beautiful birds, frogs and other small sculptures. Last year a team of engineers from MIT and Harvard has developed an origami flat-pack robot (YouTube video) which can fold itself and crawl away without any human intervention. But now a Binghamton University engineer says this technique can be applied to building batteries, too. The battery generates power from microbial respiration, delivering enough energy to run a paper-based biosensor with nothing more than a drop of bacteria-containing liquid. This method should be especially useful to anyone working in remote areas with limited resources. The total cost of this potentially game-changing device is "five cents."
News

Actor Christopher Lee Has Died at 93 96 96

Posted by timothy
from the good-guy-bad-guy dept.
Christopher Lee (or Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee) has played his last on-screen villain. The actor and singer died Sunday at the age of 93, reports The Guardian, after a career in which he played very few positive role models, but an astounding number of antagonists in fantasy, Sci-Fi, and horror films; as a young man, Lee played a career-launching Dracula, as well as a James Bond villain, the perfectly unsettling Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man, and dozens of other characters (not all of them evil). Into his 80s, still in demand for the creepiness he was so good at projecting, Lee portrayed the fallen-from-grace wizard Saruman in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings adaptations, and the evil Count Dooku in George Lucas's Star Wars follow-ons. He was also perhaps the only Knight Bachelor to have released an album of symphonic metal. Even at the time of his death, Lee was involved in film projects, so his legacy will always be immense but incomplete.
Youtube

Ghost Towns Is the First 8K Video Posted To YouTube -- But Can You Watch It? 181 181

Posted by timothy
from the not-for-me dept.
Iddo Genuth writes: 4K videos and movies are still far from common and now 8K seems to start making its appearance online. A few days ago, what might be the first 8K video entitled "Ghost Towns" was published on Youtube and you can now watch it for yourself in its full 7680 × 4320 pixel glory — that is if you happen to have access to a 8K display (or projector).

The video was created by cinematographer Luke Neumann who used a 6K EPIC DRAGON camera using some advanced and complex techniques such as shooting in portrait orientation and then stitched the video together in Adobe After Effects. Some shots simply scaled up by 125% from 6.1K to meet the 7.6K standard and handheld stuff was 6K scaled up by 125% and sharpened up.

Youtube is now offering an 8K option and according to Google: "8K video has been supported since 2010, but that labeling for 8K video (the 4320p/8K quality setting like pictured above) was added "earlier this year — but presumably there was noting to view — until now...
United States

Watch the US Navy Test Its Electromagnetic Jet Fighter Catapult 217 217

Posted by samzenpus
from the ready-to-launch dept.
An anonymous reader sends word via Engadget that the U.S. Navy has tested its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System for the first time with a "dead-load" (a wheeled steel sled that weighs as much as a jet) aboard the Gerald R. Ford carrier. The article goes on to say: "Its advantages over traditional catapults that use steam instead of electromagnetic energy include smoother acceleration and its ability to place less stress on the aircraft — plus, it was designed to work even with more advanced carriers that the military will surely use in the future." You can watch a video of the "dead-load" testing here.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Fallout 4 Announced 229 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the dovahkiin-with-a-sniper-rifle-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes: After teasing gamers with a countdown timer yesterday, Bethesda has now announced Fallout 4 for PCs, the Xbox One, and the PS4. They've also released an official trailer (YouTube video). The game will be set in post-apocalyptic Boston, and the player character will apparently be accompanied on his adventures by a dog. The Guardian has a post cataloging the features they're hoping will be improved from previous games in the series: "The combat system in the last two Fallout games was not universally adored. It often felt you were shooting wildly and blindly, biding time before you could use the the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting (VAT) system, which allows players to focus in on specific parts of enemies with a percentage chance of hitting them. ... Well-written, hand-crafted quests are going to be vitally important. The Radiant Quest system used in Skyrim sounds brilliant on paper: infinite quests, randomly generated and a little different each time. But the reality was a lot of fetch quests in similar looking caves. Bethesda may be tempted to bring that system across to Fallout 4, but there's an argument for abandoning dynamic quests altogether and opting for a smaller range of authored challenges."
Image

Indicted Ex-FIFA Executive Cites Onion Article In Rant Slamming US 194 Screenshot-sm 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the everything-is-true dept.
schwit1 writes with news that former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner has evidently not heard of The Onion. In a video on his Facebook page, Warner holds up a printout of an Onion story titled “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States” and says: “Then I look to see that Fifa has frantically announced, 2015, this year [...] the World Cup, beginning May 27. If FIFA is so bad, why is it that the USA wants to keep the Fifa World Cup?” The next World Cup is not due to be held until 2018 and there have been no games in the U.S.. Warner is facing extradition to the U.S. on corruption charges. Time further reports: Even Sunday wasn't easy, when Warner needed two attempts to get his message across by telling followers that the latest accusations against him stem largely from the U.S. being upset that it did not win the rights to host the 2022 World Cup — which went to Qatar. In an eight-minute Facebook video, which was quickly deleted after numerous news reports picked up on the gaffe, Warner held up a printout of a fictitious story from The Onion bearing the headline: "FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States." The fake story was published on Wednesday, hours after Warner was indicted in the U.S. and arrested and briefly jailed in Trinidad. Warner asked why the story was "two days before the FIFA election" when Sepp Blatter was re-elected as president.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Best Test Case Manager Plugin For JIRA? 70 70

Posted by timothy
from the tell-us-how-you-really-feel dept.
Bomarc writes: I've been working with software testing ... for a few years now. And there seems to be a serious lack of QA — Test Case Management (TCM) tools. The company that I'm working for needs a good test case manager. Currently JIRA is the tool of choice for other aspects of project management. I'm not asking to jump ship from JIRA, but the Atlassian TCM "Zephyr" has several problems, some of the key ones include: It does not have (any) matrix capabilities, no test case suite capabilities, if you change one test case (including assignments) the system changes all of the runs from that test case, the integration between the defect tracker and the TCM is archaic (at best), the number of actions to pass/fail a step (or test case) are annoying (way to many). Whoever designed it doesn't use it. If you watch the "Introduction" for Zephyr – it is amusing to see how the person performing he demo skips over and fumbles when dealing with the flaws I've mentioned above.

I have used the product "TestLog" which is a well-thought-out product; has test matrix capabilities (and other good features); however it does not have any integration with JIRA. (Hint, hint: Atlassian, this is what you need!).

Is there any company that makes a "plug-in" for JIRA with a similar features to TestLog – test case management that is well thought out, not just an afterthought?
Google

Google Chrome Tops 1 Billion Users 102 102

Posted by timothy
from the and-they're-grateful-for-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Venture Beat: At the I/O 2015 developer conference today, Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of product, announced that Chrome has passed 1 billion active users. Less than a year ago, Google revealed Android has over 1 billion active users. These are indeed Google's biggest ecosystems. Google also shared that Google Search, YouTube, and Google Maps all have over 1 billion users as well. Gmail will reach the milestone next; it has 900 million users.
The Media

How a Scientist Fooled Millions With Bizarre Chocolate Diet Claims 260 260

Posted by timothy
from the tongue-in-cheek-sandwich-diet-works-too dept.
__roo writes: Did you know chocolate helps you lose weight? You can read all about this great news for chocoholics in the Daily Star, Daily Express, Irish Examiner, and TV shows in Texas and Australia, and even the front page of Bild, Europe's largest daily newspaper. The problem is that it's not true. A researcher who previously worked with Science to do a sting operation on fee-charging open access journals ran a real—but obviously flawed—study rigged to generate false positives, paid €600 to get it published in a fee-charging open access journal, set up a website for a fake institute, and issued press releases to feed the ever-hungry pool of nutrition journalists. The doctor who ran the trial had the idea to use chocolate, because it's a favorite of the "whole food" fanatics. "Bitter chocolate tastes bad, therefore it must be good for you. It's like a religion."