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Monday Morning (15 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 5-May-2014  01:36:08 (GMT +10) - by Agg

The programming language BASIC is fifty years old. Early BASIC was a strange beast but the language slowly but surely accreted all of the tools necessary to do real work. Most early home computers ran BASIC as a default and I fondly recall created executables in Turbo Basic, a powerful successor to Dartmouth BASIC that essentially bolted a Ferrari engine into a Pinto. With the rise of the web BASIC fell out of fashion but you can still mess around with it on OS X, Windows, and Linux. You can even program it on Android and iOS.

A jury has (mostly) decided that Samsung infringed several Apple patents, with $119.6M awarded in damages. The jury found all accused Samsung phones infringed on the first patent at issue, the ’647 “quick-links” patent, but the devices did not infringe on two others related to universal search and background synchronization. For the ’721 “slide-to-unlock” patent, it ruled some Samsung products infringed, while others did not. Discussion continues in this thread.

There's a new chemical element, number 117, thanks BFM. In 2010 a US Russian collaboration announced they had produced atoms of an element with 117 protons, filling a gap that appeared when 118 was made four years earlier. However International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) insists on corroboration by two independent teams before it allows new elements to be added to the Periodic Table, although a temporary name of Ununseptium is in use until confirmation has been made. It has taken four years, but this appears to have finally arrived.

Google's self-driving cars are getting smarter. Google has released a new video that demonstrates some impressive software improvements that have been made over the last two years: Most notably, its self-driving cars can now track hundreds of objects simultaneously, including pedestrians, an indicating cyclist, a stop sign held by a crossing guard, or traffic cones.

However Stephen Hawking warns that we might not be taking AI seriously enough. One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.

John McAfee is keeping himself in the headlines, this time with a new chat program. Chadder uses "key server encryption," which Mr. McAfee says would mean that Chadder's servers do not see the unencrypted message, and only the recipient of the message would be able to see it. Upon further explanation on the app's Facebook page, it is detailed that the messages are encrypted using 256 bit AES (which is what is currently used for SSL/TLS) and the encryption keys are handled by a "3rd party." The post on Facebook explains that it "makes it so [that] the content you send through our servers is only visible to you and the recipients of the message."

New on the "interesting but of dubious real-world use" front is this microSD to SSD converter. This microSD Card Drive Creator lets you gather up all your old microSD memory cards and add them to a single unit which you can then plug into your computer to give you SSD type storage at a stroke. You’ll need a fair few cards to make it worthwhile, since the unit accepts up to 10 cards, and you’ll have to use Class 10 cards to make it worthwhile, but it’s still a bit of a gas.

If you're feeling contesty, Hackaday have a trip to space up for grabs, while Intel want you to make a game.

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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.