An anonymous reader writes "Sometimes, it's the oldest machines that are the most fascinating. PC & Tech Authority has posted this gallery of photos of the first automatic electronic stored-program computer in Australia and one of the first in the world — CSIRAC. The photos show a machine massive in size — the main system comprised nine steel cabinets containing 2000 valves that weighed over 7000kg. Using valve technology and World War II radar systems as a starting point, the machine was used for various purposes including weather forecasting, forestry, loan repayments and building design. It boasted a 1000Hz memory clock and a serial bus that transferred one bit at a time. The system generated so much heat, cool air needed to be blown up through the cabinets from the basement below. In addition to being Australia's first computer, it is also said to have been the first computer to play digital music anywhere in the world. When CSIRAC was turned off for the last time, a witness described it as 'like something alive dying.'" Museum Victoria has some short but informative pages about CSIRAC, too, including this one about programming the thing, and another about the dangers and annoyances of working on it.
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OverTheGeicoE writes "Over a month after Sen. Rand Paul announced his desire to pull the plug on TSA, he has finally released his legislation that he tweets will 'abolish the #TSA & establish a passengers "Bill of Rights."' Although the tweet sounds radical, the press release describing his proposed legislation is much less so. 'Abolition' really means privatization; one of Paul's proposals would simply force all screenings to be conducted by private screeners. The proposed changes in the 'passenger Bill of Rights' appear to involve slight modifications to existing screening methods at best. Many of his 'rights' are already guaranteed under current law, like the right to opt-out of body scanning. Others can only vaguely be described as rights, like 'expansion of canine screening.' Here's to the new boss..."
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from ZDNet: "The launch of the Orange San Diego, the first handset using an Intel Atom processor, marks a big milestone for the chipmaker: it's finally in the smartphone market. But does the market need Intel at all? ... Intel's scale and the reach of its other divisions gives [Mike] Bell's smartphone unit a boost; for example, it can reuse code optimizations for Atom done by the desktop team. ... Even so, the smartphone team has got a tough job on its hands — but it's one Intel has to tackle, according to Carolina Milanesi, mobile analyst at Gartner. 'This is certainly an attack strategy for Intel. The smartphone market is so large now that they need a piece of the pie,' she said. But will consumers care whether their handset runs on an Intel chip? Bell conceded that aside from the tech-savvy, most people probably don't know which chip is inside their phone. It's likely, given the lack of advertising on this, that most probably don't care — making Intel's job even harder."
angry tapir writes "ICANN's program to expand the number of domains on the internet has suffered another embarrassing setback. The organization has been forced to temporarily take down details of domain suffix applications after it inadvertently published the addresses of applicants. In April, ICANN was forced to suspend the application process after it was found that its system could reveal details about top-level domain applicants. The organization is already facing criticism for its proposal to deal with TLD applications in batches of 500 instead of all at once."
MrSeb writes "In an interview with ExtremeTech, Mike Bell — Intel's new mobile chief, previously of Apple and Palm — has completely dismissed the decades-old theory that x86 is less power efficient than ARM. 'There is nothing in the instruction set that is more or less energy efficient than any other instruction set,' Bell says. 'I see no data that supports the claims that ARM is more efficient.' The interview also covers Intel's inherent tech advantage over ARM and the foundries ('There are very few companies on Earth who have the capabilities we've talked about, and going forward I don't think anyone will be able to match us' Bell says), the age-old argument that Intel can't compete on price, and whether Apple will eventually move its iOS products from ARM to x86, just like it moved its Macs from Power to x86 in 2005."
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from PC Tech Talk, which features screenshots of what is said to be something very close to what users will see in Windows 8: "One of the biggest changes Microsoft announced for Windows 8 was the change from the 'Aero Glass' interface we had in Windows Vista and Windows 7 to a new Metro UI. Until today these changes had not been fully seen as the weren't included in the recent Release Preview. A number of changes have been made to the UI since the Release Preview 2 weeks ago. Microsoft have said the new Metro UI will appear crisper following the removal of shadows and transparency. Gradients have been removed from buttons. The task bar is no longer has the glass, transparent look or blur effect. The new design brings with it some heartache for those that loved the Aero Glass effect as it has now been completely removed from Windows 8." Maybe it's more exciting in motion than are these static shots.
CIStud writes "If you think playing endless hours of Dungeons & Dragons will create a desire to get into the information technology, think again. A new study by CompTIA of teens and young adults shows that only 17% want to pursue a technology career despite the fact that 97% say they 'love' technology." This can't be any more surprising than that most concert-goers don't intend to be professional musicians, can it? 17% actually sounds like a pretty high figure to me. The article goes on to soften even that number, though: "[I]nterest levels jump when teens and young adults are presented with options for specific jobs. Nearly half of the respondents can see themselves potentially designing video games; 41 percent envision creating applications for mobile devices; 39 percent, designing web pages; and 34 percent, applying technology in fields such as healthcare or education."
Last week, you asked questions of Vermont Senate candidate Jeremy Hansen, running on an unusual platform: Hansen pledges to take advantage of modern communications if elected, and (with exceptions he outlines in his answers) vote based on the opinion of his district's voters on a per-issue basis. Read below Hansen's answers about such a system could work; he addresses concerns about security, practicality, morality, and more. "Before I start with the answers," he writes in introduction, "I want to clear a few things up. I am running as an independent for a Vermont Senate seat, not the U.S. Senate, so questions about classified and similar material do not (for the most part) apply. Also, for everyone's reference, there are 44,000 registered voters in Vermont's Washington County Senate district. Many of the concerns about managing input from very large populations are not as applicable here." Read on for more.
An anonymous reader writes "I work in the tech department of an elementary school and I am trying to show the tech director the world of Linux. I will be installing edubuntu but I am not sure which laptop to get. I know there are companies like System76 that sell laptops with Linux already installed but I wanted to ask you for your thoughts. We want something small and light weight for the kids. We do not need much horsepower as the main use will be internet/email/word processing and whatever other apps come with edubuntu. Basically, what we really want is something MacBook Air-like but not nearly as expensive. Thoughts?"
CanHasDIY writes "Previously, it was reported that Verizon was considering eliminating their current data plan scheme, as well as the grandfathered unlimited plans, in favor of a new 'bucket' plan in which up to 10 devices would share a data allotment. Verizon has now officially acknowledged the new scheme, called the 'Share Everything' plan, which will go into effect as of June 28, 2012. According to USA Today, 'Under the new pricing plan, a smartphone customer opting for the cheapest data bucket, 1 gigabyte, will pay $90 before taxes and fees ($40 for phone access and $50 for 1 GB). Customers can add a basic phone, laptop and tablet to share data for $30, $20 and $10, respectively.' Those of us still grandfathered into the unlimited plan will be forced (when upgrading) to either sign up for Share Everything or one of the tiered pricing plans currently in effect."
capedgirardeau writes "Via Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing:: 'Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin has an in-depth look at the "Defensive Patent License," a kind of judo for the patent system created by ... EFF's Jason Schultz (who started EFF's Patent Busting Project) and ... Jen Urban (who co-created the ChillingEffects clearinghouse). As you'd expect from two such killer legal freedom fighters, the DPL is audacious, exciting, and wicked cool. It's a license pool that companies opt into, and members of the pool pledge not to sue one another for infringement. If you're ever being sued for patent infringement, you can get an automatic license to a conflicting patent just by throwing your patents into the pool. The more patent trolls threaten people, the more incentive there is to join the league of Internet patent freedom fighters."
MrSeb writes with this excerpt from Extreme Tech: "Good news: Last month's unbelievable rumors that a Windows RT (Windows 8 ARM) licenses would cost OEMs $90-100 were off the mark — in actual fact, as confirmed by multiple vendors at Computex in Taiwan, the Windows RT license cost is only $80-95. At this point, we're not entirely sure what Microsoft's plan for Windows RT is. It would seem that Microsoft doesn't want to flood the markets with cheap Windows RT tablets. At this rate, though, we would expect the cheapest Windows RT tablets to hit the market at around $600, with top-spec models (if they exist) in the $800-900 range — well above Android tablets or the iPad. We can only assume that Microsoft doesn't want to go head-to-head with iOS and Android, instead trying to stake out a position at the top end of the market. Whether this is a good plan, with x86 tablets and their full 20-year PC ecosystem also vying for market share, remains to be seen." For comparison, sources say that Windows Phone 7 ran OEMs the equivalent of $30 per device, and Windows 7 for desktops around $50.
Eighteen months after first announcing expansion of the TLD space, ICANN has published the list of new gTLDs that have been applied for. A cursory glance reveals that.app was pretty popular, with 13 applications. Now begins the seven month objection period (but you have to be a large organization to lodge any). angry tapir writes in with info on how duplicate applications will be resolved. From the article: "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has released statistics about the applications for new top-level domains — so-called 'dot word' domains along the lines of .web and .bank ... Two hundred and thirty of the domains proposed by applicants will become the subject of ICANN's dispute resolution process — which involves an attempt among applicants for the same domain to come to a joint arrangement, followed by an auction if that's unsuccessful. There were 751 conflicting applications for domains in total, which in many cases are likely to involve generic suffixes like .secure."
Ian Lamont writes "Shiva Ayyadurai, who famously claims to have invented email as a teenager in the 1970s, is back. A statement attributed to Noam Chomsky offers support for Ayyadurai's claim while attacking 'industry insiders' for stating otherwise. The statement reads: 'Given the term email was not used prior to 1978, and there was no intention to emulate "...a full-scale, inter-organizational mail system," as late as December 1977, there is no controversy here, except the one created by industry insiders, who have a vested interest to protect a false branding that BBN is the "inventor of email," which the facts obliterate.'"
CowboyRobot writes with news on the FY2013 allocation of H-1B visas. From the article: "As of June 1, the government had issued 55,600 standard H-1B visas out of the annual allotment of 65,000, according to United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS). The feds also issued 18,700 H-1B visas reserved for graduates of advanced degree programs in the U.S., out of 20,000. " CowboyRobot continues, "Last year work visas did not run out until late November, but this year the pool of visas is almost entirely claimed and it's still only June. One interpretation of this is that the tech industry is hiring much more actively than it was a year ago. Some companies, such as Microsoft, have been lobbying to increase the number of available visas (currently limited to 65,000) while others argue that offering visas to foreign workers reduces job prospects for Americans." A bit more from the article: "Industry lobby group Partnership for A New American Economy last month released a study that claims the U.S. will face a shortage of 224,000 tech workers by 2018 unless immigration rules are loosened."