20 Sep 2020

feedSlashdot

America's Air Force Secretly Designed, Built, and Flew a Brand-New Fighter Jet

"The U.S. Air Force revealed this week that it has secretly designed, built, and tested a new prototype fighter jet," reports Popular Mechanics: According to Defense News, the Air Force developed the new fighter in about a year - a staggeringly short amount of time by modern standards. The Air Force first developed a virtual version of the jet, and then proceeded to build and fly a full-sized prototype, complete with mission systems... It took the Air Force just one year to get to the point with the "Next Generation Air Dominance" (NGAD) fighter that it reached in 10 years with the F-35. The Air Force designed the NGAD to ensure the service's "air dominance" in future conflicts versus the fighters of potential adversaries. The new fighter, then, is almost certainly optimized for air-to-air combat. It's a safe bet the fighter uses off-the-shelf avionics, engines, and weapons borrowed from other aircraft, such as the F-35 and F/A-18E/F... If the Air Force and industry can design a new fighter in one year, it could come up with all sorts of cool new planes. This could encourage the development of more exotic, riskier designs that contractors would not otherwise want to devote a full decade to develop. The ability to fail - or succeed - faster will drive innovation in the world of fighter jets in ways not seen for a half century or more. "We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before," says Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in an interview with Defense News: Should the Air Force move to buy NGAD in the near term, it will be adding a challenger to the F-35 and F-15EX programs, potentially putting those programs at risk. And because the advanced manufacturing techniques that are critical for building NGAD were pioneered by the commercial sector, the program could open the door for new prime contractors for the aircraft to emerge - and perhaps give SpaceX founder Elon Musk a shot at designing an F-35 competitor. "I have to imagine there will be a lot of engineers - maybe famous ones with well-known household names with billions of dollars to invest - that will decide starting the world's greatest aircraft company to build the world's greatest aircraft with the Air Force is exactly the kind of inspiring thing they want to do as a hobby or even a main gig," Roper said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

20 Sep 2020 7:48pm GMT

Are Tesla's Data-Gathering Cars Secretly Improving Autopilot's Algorithms?

"When the history of autonomous cars is written, the winner will be Tesla," speculates long-time technology pundit Robert Cringely. "Heck, I think they've already won." But his article includes a disclaimer that it's "based pretty much on logic, not knowledge, which is to say I might again be too frigging stupid to read, much less write." Tesla has more than a million data-gathering devices on the roads. We call them cars. Tesla cars have no LIDAR but they have eight cameras and RADAR. Every night all those cars wirelessly report their driving data back to Tesla. I would love to know how Tesla decided what to put in those reports. Given the limited bandwidth LTE connection involved, it can't be a complete data dump. They have to pick and choose what to report. And what does Tesla do with the reports? I think it comes down to algorithms, mapping, and exceptions. They are logically trying to improve their algorithms, improve their maps, but mainly - after having already parsed billions of miles of driving data - they are looking for exceptional events that are testing their algorithms in ways never seen before... Tesla has a dual processor system in their cars - two completely distinct computers. Why...? Because every night is an A-B test for Tesla - a test that is running on your car. One processor is driving the car (or following the driver's actions if Autopilot isn't being used, which is most of the time) with production software while the second processor is running beta software, simulating the drive, and noting discrepancies between the two software versions. Multiply this times a million cars per night. Whether Autopilot is used or not doesn't matter: the evolution of the software continues. And it's finished when the beta software stops improving and the outcome shows the only difference between human and Autopilot driving is that Autopilot does it better. Continue for another month or year or decade just to confirm your results, then announce that full autonomous mode is available. That is exactly where I believe Tesla has been heading for as long as those two-processor cars have been on the road. Tesla's autonomous driving software could be ready right now for all we know. Elon certainly hints at this from time to time in his tweets. And THAT's why I believe Tesla has already won the autonomous driving war, because they have real cars facing real exceptions that you won't find in a simulation, and their dual processor system knows what it knows. Yes, I reached out to Tesla about this last week. They still haven't replied. Again, Cringely wants that this is "based pretty much on logic, not knowledge, which is to say I might again be too frigging stupid to read, much less write."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

20 Sep 2020 6:34pm GMT

US Judge Blocks Attempt to Ban WeChat

"The popular Chinese messaging and payments app WeChat looks like it might still be available in the U.S. beyond Sunday night, after all," reports the Street: U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of San Francisco stopped the Trump administration from forcing Apple and Alphabet to take the Tencent Holdings' messaging app offline for downloading by late Sunday, according to a report from Reuters. The decision - which also blocks other restrictions imposed by the U.S. government on the app - follows the U.S. Commerce Department's move on Friday to virtually eliminate access to the application and impair its ability to function, in part by prohibiting companies from distributing or maintaining it and blocking financial transactions over the app in the U.S... The order also stated that the Commerce Department's orders "burden substantially more speech than is necessary to serve the government's significant interest in national security, especially given the lack of substitute channels for communication."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

20 Sep 2020 5:34pm GMT

feedArs Technica

Here’s how DOE’s first crop of risky energy tech has done

Comparing 2009 ARPA-E winners to peers yields a mixed bag.

20 Sep 2020 2:30pm GMT

Court blocks Trump’s WeChat ban from taking effect today

The White House is now 0 for 2 on enforcing bans on China-owned apps today.

20 Sep 2020 2:10pm GMT

Turn up the sport, turn down the utility: The 2020 BMW X5 M and X6 M

BMW's M-powered SUVs scorch the road and your checking account.

20 Sep 2020 2:00pm GMT

19 Jan 2018

feedEcoGeek

A series of other thoughts about NAIAS 2018

Let's start out with my in-the-moment string of notes during the Press Preview at this year's NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show). This covers the main ideas about this year's program at the time. I'll add a few more comments and expanded thoughts at the end. Not sure if it's an actual color trend, but there's a […]

19 Jan 2018 5:32am GMT

10 Jan 2017

feedEcoGeek

The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

For an EcoGeek, there were many surprises at the 2017 edition of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). We've been watching the emphasis on green cars decline for a number of years. Some of that is in the mainstreaming of more efficient vehicles, with increased fuel efficiency standards, greater numbers of hybrid vehicles, and […]

10 Jan 2017 2:42pm GMT

19 Oct 2016

feedThe Register - Software: Operating Systems

Who killed Cyanogen?

Well, it's hanging on in there, but why didn't it conquer the world?

Analysis Does European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager's team pay close attention to the tech news? If not, perhaps they should.…

19 Oct 2016 10:24am GMT

17 Oct 2016

feedThe Register - Software: Operating Systems

Bits of Google's dead Project Ara modular mobe live on in Linux 4.9

Linus Torvalds teaches devs a lesson with early rc1 release

Google may have killed off its modular smartphone Project Ara idea, but some of the code that would have made it happen looks like coming to the Linux Kernel.…

17 Oct 2016 6:58am GMT

BART barfs, racers crash, and other classic BSODs

Your weekly Windows entertainment large and small

This week's worldwide BSOD roundup starts with what looks to your writer like a virtualisation launch bug. Submitter Alexander tells us it came from Peterborough Station, in Cambridgeshire.…

17 Oct 2016 6:28am GMT

31 Mar 2016

feedEcoGeek

Flow Batteries for Household Power Storage

Residential power storage options are starting to get more competitive with a flow battery being introduced to the market in Australia. Flow batteries have been something we've looked at for grid-scale storage, and the research into the technology has been making advances. But it has been primarily a utility-scale technology. However, the technology has been […]

31 Mar 2016 5:45pm GMT

10 Nov 2011

feedLifehacker

Today’s Lifehacker Workout: The Deck of Cards [Video]

Click here to read Today’s Lifehacker Workout: The Deck of Cards

It's Wednesday, which means another Deck of Cards workout, the fun yet challenging segment of our group exercise program, The Lifehacker Workout. More »


10 Nov 2011 1:15am GMT

iPad Home Screens, Remote Troubleshooting, and Gmail Tasks [From The Tips Box]

Click here to read iPad Home Screens, Remote Troubleshooting, and Gmail Tasks

Readers offer their best tips for previewing your iPad home screen from another app, troubleshooting your friends and family's computers from far away, and accessing Google Tasks in the new Gmail layout. More »


10 Nov 2011 1:00am GMT

Facebook Brings Back the Old "Most Recent" News Feed Option (But It's Kind of Hidden) [Updates]

Click here to read Facebook Brings Back the Old "Most Recent" News Feed Option (But It's Kind of Hidden)

Facebook recently changed its layout, no longer allowing you to choose between "top stories" and "most recent" stories. Due to user outcry, however, they announced today that they'll be changing it back, though you might not notice it at first. Here's how it works. More »


10 Nov 2011 12:30am GMT

09 Nov 2011

feedOSNews

Barnes & Noble Asks DoJ to Investigate Microsoft's Patent Trolling

To anyone who has been reading anything on the web over the past few months, this shouldn't come as a surprise. Barnes & Noble is currently embroiled in a patent lawsuit started by Microsoft, after the bookseller/tablet maker refused to pay protection money to Redmond. Barnes & Noble has now openly said what we already knew, and has filed an official complaint at the US Department of Justice: Microsoft is engaging in anticompetitive practices.

09 Nov 2011 4:13pm GMT

Adobe: HTML5 > Mobile Flash

"Sources close to Adobe that have been briefed on the company's future development plans have revealed this forthcoming announcement to ZDNet: Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations.. . ."

09 Nov 2011 6:34am GMT

08 Nov 2011

feedOSNews

Fedora 16 Released

"The following are major features for Fedora 16: enhanced cloud support including Aeolus Conductor, Condor Cloud, HekaFS, OpenStack and pacemaker-cloud; KDE Plasma workspaces 4.7; GNOME 3.2; a number of core system improvements including GRUB 2 and the removal of HAL; an updated libvirtd, trusted boot, guest inspection, virtual lock manager and a pvops based kernel for Xen all improve virtualization support."

08 Nov 2011 10:45pm GMT

06 Nov 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Tyrs a Microblogging Client based on Ncurses

Tyrs is a microblogging client, supporting Twitter and Status.net (identi.ca), it's based on console using the NCurses module from Python. The release of the 0.5.0 version is a good excuse to introduce Tyrs. Tyrs aims to get a good interaction with a fairly intuitive interface that can provide support ncurses. Tyrs tries also not to [...]

06 Nov 2011 9:43pm GMT

05 Nov 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Pulling strings

After one year of managing a network of 10 servers with Cfengine I'm currently building two clusters of 50 servers with Puppet (which I'm using for the first time), and have various notes to share. With my experience I had a feeling Cfengine just isn't right for this project, and didn't consider it seriously. These servers are all running Debian GNU/Linux and Puppet felt natural because of the good Debian integration, and the number of users whom also produced a lot of resources. Chef was out of the picture soon because of the scary architecture; CouchDB, Solr and RabbitMQ... coming from Cfengine this seemed like a bad joke. You probably need to hire a Ruby developer when it breaks. Puppet is somewhat better in this regard.

Puppet master needs Ruby, and has a built-in file server using WEBrick. My first disappointment with Puppet was WEBrick. Though PuppetLabs claim you can scale it up to 20 servers, that proved way off, the built-in server has problems serving as little as 5 agents/servers, and you get to see many dropped connections and failed catalog transfers. I was forced to switch to Mongrel and Nginx as frontend very early in the project, on both clusters. This method works much better (even though Apache+Passenger is the recommended method now from PuppetLabs), and it's not a huge complication compared to WEBrick (and Cfengine which doesn't make you jump through any hoops). Part of the reason for this failure is my pull interval, which is 5 minutes with a random sleep time of up to 3 minutes to avoid harmonics (which is still a high occurrence with these intervals and WEBrick fails miserably). In production a customer can not wait on 30/45 minute pull intervals to get his IP address whitelisted for a service, or some other mundane task, it must happen within 10 minutes... but I'll come to these kind of unrealistic ideas a little later.

Unlike the Cfengine article I have no bootstrapping notes, and no code/modules to share. By default the fresh started puppet agent will look for a host called "puppet" and pull in what ever you defined to bootstrap servers in your manifests. As for modules, I wrote a ton of code and though I'd like to share it, my employer owns it. But unlike Cfengine v3 there's a lot of resources out there for Puppet which can teach you everything you need to know, so I don't feel obligated to even ask.

Interesting enough, published modules would not help you get your job done. You will have to write your own, and your team members will have to learn how to use your modules, which also means writing a lot of documentation. Maybe my biggest disappointment is getting disillusioned by most Puppet advocates and DevOps prophets. I found articles and modules most of them write, and experiences they share have nothing to do with the real world. It's like they host servers in a magical land where everything is done in one way and all servers are identical. Hosting big websites and their apps is a much, much different affair.

Every customer does things differently, and I had to write custom modules for each of them. Just between these two clusters a module managing Apache is different, and you can abstract your code a lot but you reach a point where you simply can't push it any more. Or if you can, you create a mess that is unusable by your team members, and I'm trying to make their jobs better not make them miserable. One customer uses an Isilon NAS, the other has a content distribution network, one uses Nginx as a frontend, other has chrooted web servers, one writes logs to a NFS, other to a Syslog cluster... Now imagine this on a scale with 2,000 customers and 3 times the servers and most of the published infrastructure design guidelines become laughable. Instead you find your self implementing custom solutions, and inventing your own rules, best that you can...

I'm ultimately here to tell you that the projects are in a better state then they would be with the usual cluster management policy. My best moment was an e-mail from a team member saying "I read the code, I now understand it [Puppet]. This is fucking awesome!". I knew at that moment I managed to build something good (or good enough), despite the shortcomings I found, and with nothing more than using PuppetLabs resources. Actually, that is not completely honest. Because I did buy and read the book Pro Puppet which contains an excellent chapter on using Git for collaboration on modules between sysadmins and developers, with proper implementation of development, testing and production (Puppet)environments.

05 Nov 2011 11:17pm GMT

Jshon

Creating json is now ten times easier.

05 Nov 2011 3:10am GMT

01 Jan 2009

feedLinux.com :: Features

A new year, a new Linux.com

Many of you have commented that our NewsVac section hasn't been refreshed since the middle of last month. Others have noticed that our story volume has dropped off. Changes are coming to Linux.com, and until they arrive, you won't see any new stories on the site.

01 Jan 2009 2:00pm GMT

31 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Android-powered G1 phone is an enticing platform for app developers

The free and open source software community has been waiting for the G1 cell phone since it was first announced in July. Source code for Google's Android mobile platform has been available, but the G1 marks its commercial debut. It's clearly a good device, but is it what Linux boosters and FOSS advocates have long been anticipating?

31 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

30 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Municipalities open their GIS systems to citizens

Many public administrations already use open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to let citizens look at public geographic data trough dedicated Web sites. Others use the same software to partially open the data gathering process: they let citizens directly add geographic information to the official, high-quality GIS databases by drawing or clicking on digital maps.

30 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT