C++ 14 has been ratified.

by Anonymous Coward in code on 2014-08-18 22:05 (#3Z2)

story imageHerb Sutter reports that the ballot closed on Friday. From the
announcement: "We will perform some final editorial tweaks, on the
order of fixing a few spelling typos and accidentally dropped words,
and then transmit the document to ISO for publication this year as the
brand new International Standard ISO/IEC 14882:2014(E) Programming
Language C++, a.k.a. C++14."


Monday Poll: Which tech company's acquisition was the smartest?

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in ask on 2014-08-18 10:19 (#3YQ)

There's been a rash of big companies buying small companies to fill out their portfolios, retain customers, provide new services, shift their focus, or for who-knows-what-reason. Apple's multi-billion dollar purchase of the Beats headphone company is the one that's made the biggest splash, but Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp has been both praised and denigrated.

Thinking value-for-money here, which purchase do you think was the best strategic move? Cast your ballot here.

Android vs Apple: the shoot-out

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in apple on 2014-08-17 21:29 (#3Y4)

story imageTwo interesting articles showed up in my RSS feed today, that juxtaposed, make for an interesting discussion. First, Business Insider has provocatively written that Android is definitively the OS for poor people, and iOS for the rich. They've got some data that shows that people of higher income brackets overwhelmingly use iphones, while Android devices are used by the brackets with less disposable income. But at the same time, they've posted a good article showing a list of eight things the iphone can't - and probably will never - do. They include external storage, NFC support, USB connectors, and a couple of others [all one one page, not eight clicks: thank you!]

So is Android destined to be the poor man's iphone, or is it the ecosystem busy pushing the boundaries of technology and function? Because the days of claiming Android is simply catching up to Apple seem to be long behind us.

4chan post screenshot sells for $90K

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in internet on 2014-08-17 20:52 (#3Y2)

story imageWhat is art? Depends on who you ask. But according to anonymous over 4chan, "Art used to something you cherish. Now literally anything is art. This post is art." Precient! Because a screenshot - flash glare and all - of that post has just been sold on an ebay art market for over ninety thousand dollars.
An eBay auction for “Artwork by Anonymous,” which is a 4chan screenshot printed out on regular printer paper (pictured above), sold this weekend for $90,900 after 45 bids. The piece, if we’re really going to take this seriously, asks you to consider whether or not society has an eroded definition of what we cherish as art. Looking at this auction, we’re thinking it does.

This is the entire product description:

“This auction is for a One of a Kind work of art by Anonymous. This work is untitled. This item will be shipped in a frame for convenience.
If you think about it, it's a pretty great deal, since that convenient frame was thrown in for free. A+++, would buy again.

the Internet of Things ate my network

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in hardware on 2014-08-17 20:47 (#3Y0)

story imageThe Internet of Things, whatever that means, is coming, and our networks are not prepared for it.
Cisco estimates, for example, that by 2018 the typical new car will have no less than four machine-to-machine connections. That single statistic alone introduces more than 60 million new connections every year, and that’s just for automobiles.

No one really knows how the Internet of Things will play out. There will certainly be a lot of trial and error. But if it takes off the way top industry experts are anticipating, the Internet of Things (including wearable computing and the industrial Internet) will force a re-evaluation of the network infrastructures in place, otherwise those networks run the risk of getting hopelessly clogged.

Where do potential network bottlenecks lurk?
More on the subject at RCRWireless.

Verizon Forcing and Tricking Customers Off Copper

by Anonymous Coward in internet on 2014-08-17 20:42 (#3XY)

story imageThis just in: Verizon is still as evil as any taxpayer-subsidized monopoly can be. Which is to say, very.

That endlessly reliable copper telephone network that stretches across the country, carries its own power, and serves as a literal lifeline for millions of people even in the event of catastrophes? The one that's incredibly subsidized right down to the "Universal Service Fund" intended to protect poor and rural citizens? Yeah, that one. Ars Technica's got a nice write-up of how Verizon is doing everything it can, legally and illegally, to let the network fall into disrepair and to literally trick customers into switching into its "now! with a whole 8 hour battery life!" replacement over fiber.

It doesn't help that POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) over fiber is very different from the FiOS Internet+TV over fiber offering, and that Verizon has done everything possible to hide that distinction in order to get people paying for their FiOS Internet and TV service (which, in turn have moved quickly from "hey, cheaper than cable and sweet fast Internet" to "WTF who pays that kind of money for this stuff" in just a few years as they put the hook in). They can switch your regular telephone line from copper to fiber without any change in service at all. (Except for the whole "now you have 8 hours to live" thing.)

That, and getting rid of copper maintenance saves them a lot of cash internally. Oh yeah, it also means that once your copper is ripped out you can NEVER get DSL from Verizon or ANYONE else -- giving VZ and your cableco a de facto duopoly over you ever getting wired Internet access. Ever compared the cost Verizon's own $20/month DSL to its FiOS Internet-only service that STARTS at $75/month ?

This is all quite old news to anyone paying attention, but Ars lays out the sad story pretty well.

As a tiny aside I found it amusing that Verizon doesn't own the fios.com domain.

The cable guys have now become the internet guys

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in internet on 2014-08-16 20:37 (#3WY)

story imageIt's official, folks: cable companies now have more subscribers for broadband internet than they have for video. Not by much, but still ... it's a landmark, and an important one. Ever wonder why the broadband companies are fighting so hard to do away with net neutrality? It's because they see the same writing on the wall that you do: the days of cable video are over, and they're desperate to turn the new business into their old business.
The top cable guys now have 49,915,000 Internet subscribers, compared to 49,910,000 TV subscribers. And to be sure, most cable customers are getting both services. Still, this is directionally important. The future for the pay TV guys isn’t selling you pay TV — it’s selling you access to data pipes, and pay TV will be one of the things you use those pipes for. ... Some smart people suggest that the cable guys would not be unhappy if most of their business moved over to broadband instead of video, since there are much better margins — and almost no competition — for broadband.
Deadline.com is reporting the same thing, with some added information:
Cord cutting? Not entirely. Many likely switched to AT&T’s U-verse or Verizon FiOS, which together added 290,000 video customers. ... Adjusting for household growth it appears that cord cutting slowed to an annualized rate of less than 400K homes, a meaningful deceleration and well below the peak (but still modest) rates of cord cutting seen in 2012. ... Cable companies had 59% of the wired broadband market. The bottom line: The ‘dying dinosaur’ Pay TV industry is growing revenue more than twice as fast as the wireless industry.

Six smartphone flops

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in mobile on 2014-08-15 22:02 (#3WF)

Yes, it's another ZDNet "Six Clicks" (meaning six adverts) article, but I think it's worth it: The six biggest smartphone flops over the past four years. Considering how far the technology - and Android in particular - has come, these are interesting phones that promised something new and alternative and then disappeared from the market months later. In five cases it was because the market just didn't want it; in one case it's because new leadership arrived and started slaying vampires.

Says author Matthew Miller:
Recent data shows that businesses are readily adopting iOS over other mobile operating systems. As we look at these smartphone failures, we see that Apple's iOS is a safe bet with well-supported devices and a rather consistent, progressive mobile strategy where experimental devices and strategies are not launched and then killed just a few months later. ... I have a feeling the Amazon Fire phone will soon be joining this list.
What's next? In a world of basically iOS and Android, what do you have to do to improve the user experience or differentiate your product?

[Ed. note: I agree about the Fire phone.]

Friday Distro: LinuxBBQ

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in linux on 2014-08-15 13:35 (#3W4)

story imageSome say, "Linux should reduce complexity by standardizing on a specific subset of tools, packages, and desktop environments." To that, the guys at LinuxBBQ respond, "Sorry, can't hear you, too busy having fun!" LinuxBBQ is a riot of diversity, but not complexity, and guarantees you can have not just the workspace you want but that it will be your very own.

Check out their website, "Get Roasted!", where they boast an environment of 100 different specific editions (micro-editions, really, in my opinion) and an unprecedented choice of 70 different window managers. The haters might say, "Too many!" I say, "Sounds like fun." Turns out, at the base, LinuxBBQ isn't that complicated: it used to be based on Debian Sid, but now starts with Ubuntu 13.10, and has integrated some scripts, kernels, and tools from the guys at GRML, Siduction, and Linux Mint. Then they add in the window managers. Offhand, I can only name about 13, so these guys have dug deep: everything from KDE to Razor-QT, WMii, Monsterwm, Herbstluftwm, xmonad, nullwm, oroborus, tmux, spectrwm, and another 30 beyond what's on their wiki page.

Then they break it up into editions. Here's where you can tell these guys are just hackers having fun, and they're well removed from the starchiness of some of the big, 'classic' distros, who have to look over their shoulders at their lawyers and worry about being politically correct. Check out just a sample of what they produce:
  1. RMS: (No X, compiled for 486 with a full emacs
  2. Psychedelic shitstorm: based on windowlab
  3. gangbang: 53 window managers on a live CD
  4. neckbeard: ratpoison and emacs
  5. cameltoe: based on the jwm window manager
There's more, and yes you could probably get most of these packages on another distro with some effort, but you know when you can download the "clit", "noob-killah", or "pringles" editions, you are fully in the realm of hackers having fun. So, where to begin? Start with Cream, their June 2014 release, including netsurf and firefox as browsers, mc, ranger, and pcmanfm as file managers, and cmus for listening to music. Or as they say, "Follow that crap on G+" where you can see a screenshot or two. Finally, here's their own introduction to the distro, and I think it reveals their philosophy very well:
Why is LinuxBBQ not recommended for me?

We do not say that LinuxBBQ is the best distro under the sun - quite the opposite. It will most probably not fit the average users needs. There are many, many reasons not to come to BBQ-Land.
1) LinuxBBQ is more or less default Debian Unstable
2) You will probably not have "plug-and-play" out of the box, for example your printer needs to be set up via CUPS (and CUPS is also not pre-installed) - in our opinion not everybody needs to have all services and daemons ticking in the background. If you need additional services, you will have to set them up by yourself. Of course the BBQ staff is happy to help you. But think twice if you want to get your hands *greasy*.
3) You have to edit configuration files to make things look like you want them and you will
need to spend countless hours customizing the look & feel. Believe us, you will probably want to go back to the "fast-food" distros, and enjoy the defaults there.
4) The BBQ philosophy is: provide the meat, let the user season. So, you will have to download your favourite applications. They are partly coming from experimental sources and carry much
higher version numbers than what you find in Debian Stable. If you don't want to run the newest GIMP, Inkscape, Iceweasel browser or WINE, look somewhere else.
Curious? Visit LinuxBBQ here.

Cisco re-organization means 6000 to be fired

by zafiro17@pipedot.org in hardware on 2014-08-14 21:58 (#3VR)

story imagePeter Cohan has five reasons you should dump your Cisco stock, if your portfolio includes any. His first reason is that Cisco appears to have lost its ability to keep up with a marketplace of quickly changing technology. In the last three years, Cisco has announced 21,000 firings — 11,000 in 2011; 4,000 a year ago, and now, a restructuring that will mean 6,000 more job cuts. It was announced on August 13. 6000 jobs are equivalent to 7% of its 74,000 person workforce.

From Reuters:
“The market doesn’t wait for anyone. We are going to lead it, period," Chief Executive Officer John Chambers told analysts on a conference call. "The ability to do that requires some tough decisions. We will manage our costs aggressively and drive efficiencies.”

Chambers partly blamed the cuts on the uncertainty in global demand. In emerging markets, where the company faces sluggish sales and increased competition, Cisco saw continued challenges. China product orders fell 23 percent, and Brazil had 13 percent declines.