An anonymous reader writes "The open-source Intel Linux graphics driver has hit a milestone of now being faster than Apple's own OpenGL stack on OS X. The Intel Linux driver on Ubuntu 13.04 is now clearly faster than Apple's internally-developed Intel OpenGL driver on OS X 10.8.3. when benchmarked from a 'Sandy Bridge' class Mac Mini. Only some months ago, Apple's GL driver was still trouncing the Intel Linux Mesa driver."
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jones_supa writes "Google's YouTube is celebrating its 8-year birthday, and at the same time they reveal some interesting numbers. 'Today, more than 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. That's more than four days of video uploaded each minute! Every month, more than 1 billion people come to YouTube to access news, answer questions and have a little fun. That's almost one out of every two people on the Internet. Millions of partners are creating content for YouTube and more than 1,000 companies worldwide have mandated a one-hour mid-day break to watch nothing but funny YouTube videos. Well, we made that last stat up, but that would be cool (the other stats are true).'"
Google's I/O annual conference is ramping up at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Last year, in the conference keynote, the company took its biggest-yet dive into hardware when it introduced the Nexus 7 tablet, Google Glass, and the ill-fated Nexus Q. The secret is out on Glass, of course: this year, there's a pavilion inside the conference center where I'm sure they'll be showing off applications for it. (Quite a few of the people in the endless lines here are wearing their own, too.) Anticipating the announcements at I/O is practically its own industry, but it's easy to guess that there will be announcements from all the major pots in which Google has its many thousands of (tapping) fingers. Android, search, Chrome, mapping, and all the other ways in which the behemoth of Mountain View is watching what you do. You can watch the keynote talk (talks, really) streamed online from the main conference link above, but this story will be updated with highlights of the announcements, as well with stories that readers contribute. Update: 05/15 16:22 GMT by T : Updates below. Update: 05/15 19:02 GMT by T :Update details: Notes (ongoing) added below on maps, gaming, the Play store, Google+, and more. And, notable, Larry Page is (at this writing) on stage, with an unannounced Q & A session.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla on Tuesday officially launched Firefox 21 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Improvements include the addition of multiple social providers on the desktop as well as open source fonts on Android. In the changelog, the company included an interesting point that's worth elaborating on: 'Preliminary implementation of Firefox Health Report.' Mozilla has revealed that FHR so far logs 'basic health information' about Firefox: time to start up, total running time, and number of crashes. Mozilla says the initial report is pretty simple but will grow 'in the coming months.' You can get it now from Mozilla."
theodp writes "Valleywag's Adrian Chen wasn't the only one troubled by the tactics of Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us political lobbying group. Composed of a Who's Who of tech millionaires and billionaires, the group boasted its control of massive distribution channels, broad popularity with Americans, and money would make it a political force to be reckoned with. But the group came under fire for embracing decidedly old-school political tactics, forming both left-leaning and right-leaning subsidiaries, thus broadening its appeal to those who might help advance its agenda. Reports that FWD.us had funded ads praising Arctic oil drilling drew fire from critics, including Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who FWD.us listed as a 'Major Supporter.' Not anymore. Valleywag reports that Musk has quit Zuckerberg's lobbying cabal, apparently feeling that the group's ends did not justify their hit-both-sides-of-the-aisle-to-get-what-you-want means. 'I have spent a lot of time fighting far larger lobbying organizations in DC and believe that the right way to win on a cause is to argue the merits of that cause,' Musk said. 'This statement may surprise some people, but my experience is that most (not all) politicians and their staffs want to do the right thing and eventually do.' By the way, didn't members of the Zuck PACk create, fund, and appear on Code.org, which lamented the sad state of U.S. CS education and featured a slick documentary showing technically clueless little kids, just weeks before launching their pro-techie immigration push? Hey, all's fair in love and lobbying!"
alphadogg writes "Incidents of cellphone theft have been rising for several years and are fast becoming an epidemic. IDG News Service collected data on serious crimes in San Francisco from November to April and recorded 579 thefts of cellphones or tablets, accounting for 41 percent of all serious crime. In just over half the incidents, victims were punched, kicked or otherwise physically intimidated for their phones, and in a quarter of robberies, users were threatened with guns or knives. This isn't just happening in tech-loving San Francisco, either. The picture is similar across the United States. A big reason for such thefts, until recently, is that there had been little to stop someone using a stolen cellphone. Reacting to pressure from law enforcement and regulators, the U.S.'s largest cellphone carriers agreed early last year to establish a database of stolen cellphones."
recoiledsnake writes "The first real world stats for Chromebooks show that they're struggling to have any traction in the marketplace. In its first week of monitoring worldwide usage of Google's Chrome OS, NetMarketShare reported that the percentage of web traffic from Chromebooks was roughly 2/100 of 1 percent, a figure too small to earn a place on its reports. The first Chromebooks went on sale in June 2011, nearly two years ago, with Acer reportedly selling fewer than 5000 units in the first six months and Samsung selling even fewer. In the past three years, Chromebook sales have been worse than even three months worth of WindowsRT sales. Perhaps users are heeding Stallman's warning on Chromebooks. We previously discussed reports of Chromebook topping Amazon sales, selling to 2000 schools and wondered whether QuickOffice on ChromeOS can topple Microsoft Office." I find ChromeOS good in some contexts (any place that a browser and a thin layer of Linux is all you need), but the limitations are frustrating — especially on hardware that can run a conventional Linux as well as Google's specialized one. We'll watch for developments in the Google hardware world at next week's I/O conference.
sciencehabit writes "If you've ever cringed when your parents said 'groovy,' you'll know that spoken language can have a brief shelf life. But frequently used words can persist for generations, even millennia, and similar sounds and meanings often turn up in very different languages. Now, a new statistical approach suggests that peoples from Alaska to Europe may share a linguistic forebear dating as far back as the end of the Ice Age, about 15,000 years ago. Indeed, some of the words we use today may not be so different than those spoken around campfires and receding glaciers."
Why does a car rated for 47mpg fall so far short? The Houston Chronicle features an article on just why EPA gas estimates can be so different from real-world drivers' experience at the pump (or in looking at the dashboard display), in particular for hybrid cars. From the article: "A geometric average of the FTP-75 and HFET results (with city driving weighted at 55 percent and highway driving weighted at 45 percent) produces a vehicle's CAFE fuel economy, which is then incorporated into a manufacturer's corporate average. CAFE is measured using these tests to the present day. In fact, this methodology will be 50 years old when it's used to gauge compliance with the forthcoming 54.5-mpg CAFE requirements in 2025. That kind of continuity is admirable in baseball, but not in transportation. These tests are irrelevant to contemporary real-world driving. For example, the maximum acceleration on either test is 3.3 mph per second. At that rate, it takes more than 18 seconds to hit 60 mph. Even in the horsepower-deprived 1970s, most people were driving harder than that. And the 60-mph maximum speed on the highway test does not accord with the 75-mph truth of today's interstate traffic."
waderoush writes "Consumer Reports calls extended warranties 'money down the drain,' and as a tech journalist and owner of myriad gadgets — none of which have ever conked out or cracked up during the original warranty period — that was always my attitude too. But when I met recently with Steve Abernethy, CEO of San Francisco-based warranty provider SquareTrade, I tried to keep an open mind, and I came away thinking that the industry might be changing. In a nutshell, Abernethy says he's aware of the extended-warranty industry's dreadful reputation, but he says SquareTrade is working to salvage it through a combination of lower prices, broader coverage, and better service. On top of that, he made some persuasive points – which don't seem to figure into Consumer Reports' argument – about the way the 'risk vs. severity' math has changed since the beginning of the smartphone and tablet era. One-third of smartphone owners will lose their devices to drops or spills within the first three years of purchase, the company's data shows. If you belong to certain categories — like people in big households, or motorcycle owners, or homeowners with hardwood floors — your risk is even higher. So, in the end, the decision about buying an extended warranty boils down to whether you think you can defy the odds, and whether you can afford to buy a new device at full price if you're one of the unlucky ones."
Lank writes "A team of computer scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have managed to coordinate nearly 2 million cores to achieve a blistering 504 billion events per second, over 40 times faster than the previous record. This result was achieved on Sequoia, a 120-rack IBM Blue Gene/Q normally used to run classified nuclear simulations. Note: I am a co-author of the coming paper to appear in PADS 2013."
gmfeier writes "The EPA has significantly lowered its estimate of how much methane leaks during natural gas production. This has major implications for the fracking debate, but puts the EPA at odds with NOAA. From the article: 'The scope of the EPA's revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That's about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. The agency converts the methane emissions into their equivalent in carbon dioxide, following standard scientific practice.'"
waderoush writes "A San Francisco startup called Automatic Labs came out of stealth mode in March, offering a Bluetooth gadget that connects to your car's onboard data port and sends engine performance data to an app on your smartphone (iPhone only right now, Android coming this fall). Xconomy went on a test drive with Automatic's chief product officer and captured video of the system in action. The app chirps at you when it notices rough braking, aggressive acceleration, or speeding over 70 mph. It also keeps a record of your fuel economy and gives you a gamified 'driving score' to encourage more efficient driving habits and fuel savings. It's all a sign that that the ethic of ubiquitous mobile/cloud sensing and analytics that 'quantified selfers' are applying to their personal health and fitness is spilling over to neighboring areas of consumer technology, including transportation. The Automatic Link device costs $70 and will begin shipping in May." Along similar lines, the Kiwi Drive Green has been available for several years.
JimboFBX writes "Interesting piece of baseball history happened on Friday. Jean Segura of the Milwaukee Brewers stole second, tried to steal third too early, but made it back to second before being tagged. The problem was that teammate Ryan Braun already made it to second on the steal attempt. After tags were applied to both baserunners, Segura started trotting to the dugout before realizing that he wasn't out, Braun was, and his only option was to make it back to first. He then of course proceeded to try to steal second base again. The software for keeping the box score? Doesn't (yet) support someone running backwards on the bases. Looks like that will have to change." Here is video of the sequence.
quarterbuck writes "Many politicians, especially in Europe, have used the idea that economic growth is impeded by debt levels above 90% of GDP to justify austerity measures. The academic justification came from a paper and a book by Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. Now researchers at U Mass at Amherst have refuted the study — they find that not only was the data tainted by bad statistics, it also had an Excel error. Apparently when averaging a few GDP numbers in an excel sheet, they did not drag down the cell ranges down properly, excluding Belgium. The supporting website for the book, 'This time it is different,' has lots of financial information if a reader might want to replicate some of the results." The Excel error is making the rounds as the cause of the problems with the study, but it's actually a minor component. The study also ignores some post-WWII data for countries that had a high debt load and high growth, and there's some fishy weighting going on: "The U.K. has 19 years (1946-1964) above 90 percent debt-to-GDP with an average 2.4 percent growth rate. New Zealand has one year in their sample above 90 percent debt-to-GDP with a growth rate of -7.6. These two numbers, 2.4 and -7.6 percent, are given equal weight in the final calculation, as they average the countries equally. Even though there are 19 times as many data points for the U.K."
krygny sends this quote from The Economist: "The internet browser you are using to read this blog post could help a potential employer decide whether or not you would do well at a job. How might your choice of browser affect your job prospects? When choosing among job applicants, employers may be swayed by a range of factors, knowingly and unknowingly. ... Evolv, a company that monitors recruitment and workplace data, has suggested that there are better ways to identify the right candidate for job. ... Among other things, its analysis found that those applicants who have bothered to install new web browsers on their computers (such as Mozilla's Firefox or Google's Chrome) perform better and stay in their posts for 15% longer, on average."
adeelarshad82 writes "According to an 18-month study from German independent testing lab AV-Test, searches on Bing returned five times more links to malicious websites than Google searches. The study looked at nearly 40 million websites provided by seven different search engines. About 10 million results came from Bing and another 10 million from Google. 13 million sites were provided by the Russian service Yandex, with the rest coming from Blekko, Faroo, Teoma and Baidu respectively. Of these 40 million sites, AV-Test found 5,000 pieces of malware—and admittedly small percentage of websites."
yl-roller writes "IDC says Windows 8 is partly to blame for PC sales suffering the largest percentage drop ever. 'As if that news wasn't' troubling enough, it appears that a pivotal makeover of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system seems to have done more harm than good since the software was released last October.' According to a ZDNet article, IDC originally expected a drop, but only half the size."
dcblogs writes "The unemployment rate for people at the heart of many tech innovations — electrical engineers — soared in the first quarter of this year to 6.5%. That's nearly double the unemployment rate from last year. The reasons for the spike aren't clear, but the IEEE-USA says the increase is alarming. At the same time, U.S. Labor Dept. data showed that jobs for software developers are on the rise. The unemployment rate for software engineers was 2.2% in the first quarter, down from 2.8% last year. This professional group warns that unemployment rates for engineers could get worse if H-1B visas are increased. The increase in engineering unemployment comes at the same time demand for H-1B visas is up."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Kickstarter has taken off in the past year, raising big money for a wide variety of projects. Look at some of their stats: in June 2012, only seven projects raised more than a million dollars apiece; in the past nine months, another 16 projects have passed that threshold. Since the site began operations in 2009, several of the 38,000 funded projects have broken out as superstars, including the Pebble Watch and a new gaming console. With all this competition, has crowdfunding gotten, well, too crowded? Is Kickstarter peaking? As the dollar amounts have grown, so has the potential for abuse. Hidden amidst all these success stories and multi-million dollar payouts are some sadder tales. The majority of the nearly 50,000 unfunded Kickstarter projects received less than 20 precent of their funding goals, with 11 percent never even getting a single pledge."