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Nissan To Go All-Electric By 2030 Despite UK's Petrol Ban Delay

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 12:00md
"Nissan will make the switch to full electric by 2030 in Europe. We believe it is the right thing to do for our business, our customers and for the planet," said Nissan's chief executive Makoto Uchida. The announcement comes despite the UK postponing its 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035. The BBC reports: In an interview with the BBC, Mr Uchida said the company was aiming to bring down the cost of electric vehicles for customers, so that they were no more expensive than petrol and diesel cars. "It may take a bit of time, but we are looking at the next few years," he said. "We are looking at it from the point of view of the technology, from the point of view of cooperating with suppliers, and of course working with the government on how we can deliver that kind of cost competitiveness to the consumer," Mr Uchida added. Will that price parity happen by 2030? "That's what we're aiming for," confirmed Mr Uchida. Mr Uchida also said that the company was fast-tracking a different kind of battery technology, known as all-solid-state batteries (ASSB), which are lighter, cheaper, and quicker to charge. "We are going to have a pilot plant for ASSB in Japan from next year, and we want to ensure they can be mass produced by 2028," he said. "There are a lot of challenges with this, but we do have a solution, and we are on track [to meet that target]", he added.

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Top Chinese Scientist Questions India's Claim To Reaching Moon's South Pole

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 9:00pd
Last month, India became the first country to put a spacecraft near the lunar south pole -- breaking China's record for the southernmost lunar landing. Now, the so-called father of China's lunar exploration program, Ouyang Ziyuan, said claims about the accomplishment are overstated. Time reports: Ziyuan [...] told the Chinese-language Science Times newspaper that the Chandrayaan-3 landing site, at 69 degrees south latitude, was nowhere close to the pole, defined as between 88.5 and 90 degrees. On Earth, 69 degrees south would be within the Antarctic Circle, but the lunar version of the circle is much closer to the pole. "It's wrong!" he said of claims for an Indian polar landing. "The landing site of Chandrayaan-3 is not at the lunar south pole, not in the lunar south pole region, nor is it near the lunar south pole region." The Chandrayaan-3 was 619 kilometers (385 miles) distant from the polar region, Ouyang said.

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next-20230929: linux-next

Kernel Linux - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 6:24pd
Version:next-20230929 (linux-next) Released:2023-09-29

How Lockheed Martin Designed the World's Weirdest, Quietest Supersonic Jet

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 5:30pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fast Company: The Lockheed Martin X-59 is probably the strangest airplane ever designed. Its razor-sharp nose takes half of the airplane's length; there's no cockpit in sight; the wings are tiny compared to the entire fuselage; and its oversized tail engine looks like a weird hump about to fall off. Of course, there's a method to this madness. The design is the secret sauce that has produced a true unicorn: a supersonic jet that doesn't boom the hell out of people and buildings on the ground. [...] The X-59, developed alongside NASA, is designed as an experimental jet that NASA will use to test just how big of a boom people on the ground are willing to accept from a supersonic aircraft. According to Dave Richardson, the program director for X-59 at Lockheed Martin, with this new design, people shouldn't expect much of a boom at all. The X-59's "quiet" supersonic boom isn't made possible by expensive magical materials or exotic engines, Richardson explains. "There is no radical technology in the airplane itself. It really is just the shape of the aircraft." And if the shape looks more like an anime alien spaceship than an actual vehicle created by human beings, that's because it was dreamed up in another dimension -- by computers and humans -- through special software created by the Bethesda, Maryland, company's engineers. [...] Richardson and his team learned a few important lessons about designing for supersonic boom. First, the heavy, bulky parts of the plane needed to be as far back as possible. "We really put nothing out in the front, but we want to have that long, fine ratio," he says. This resulted in an extremely fine nose and body, with no surface interruptions that can produce noise when the plane breaks the sound barrier. "You want to be able to stretch out and manage the different shocks across the length of the airplane," he adds. They also learned that anything that causes discontinuity in the airplane's shape -- for instance a windshield or canopy -- can add to the boom effect. This led them to get rid of the windshield altogether. Instead, the X-59 uses an external vision system, which is the only advanced technology in the plane, according to Richardson. The pilot navigates using a camera, viewing the outside through a large display. This system had to undergo rigorous certification by the Federal Aviation Administration for use in the national airspace. [...] The X-59 has been designed to manage and distribute shockwaves differently from the very start while also flying at slower speeds than the Concorde (the Concorde's cruising speed was 1,350 mph, while the X-59 will cruise at around 925 mph). "I think most people look at the airplane and they say, 'Wait, something's wrong,'" Richardson says. "[They think] it's too long. The landing gear is too far in the back. And why is the nose so long?" The inaugural flight is scheduled for early 2024, notes Fast Company. "If they achieve their objectives, there's no reason why aircraft manufacturers can't take the concepts they discovered and turn them into commercial airliners, Richardson says." "Someday, people might be able to look up and see an alien shape in the sky, with the X-59's design transcending experimental nature and ushering in a new era for high-speed travel across the globe."

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Bing Chat Responses Infiltrated By Ads Pushing Malware

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 4:02pd
Bill Toulas writes via BleepingComputer: Malicious advertisements are now being injected into Microsoft's AI-powered Bing Chat responses, promoting fake download sites that distribute malware. [...] Malicious ads spotted by Malwarebytes are pretending to be download sites for the popular 'Advanced IP Scanner' utility, which has been previously used by RomCom RAT and Somnia ransomware operators. The researchers found that when you asked Bing Chat how to download Advanced IP Scanner, it would display a link to download it in the chat. However, when you hover over an underlined link in a chat, Bing Chat may show an advertisement first, followed by the legitimate download link. In this case, the sponsored link was a malvertisements pushing malware. [...] Unfortunately, Malwarebytes could not find the final payload for this malware campaign, so it is unclear what malware is ultimately being installed. However, in similar campaigns, threat actors commonly distribute information-stealing malware or remote access trojans that allow them to breach other accounts or corporate networks.

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Reddit Is Removing Ability To Opt Out of Ad Personalization Based On Your Activity

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 3:25pd
Ivan Mehta writes via TechCrunch: Reddit said Wednesday that the platform is revamping its privacy settings with an aim to make ad personalization and account visibility toggles consistent. Most notably though, it is removing the ability to opt out of ad personalization based on Reddit activity. The company said that it will still have opt-out controls in "select countries" without specifying which ones. It mentioned in a blog post that users won't see more ads but they will see better-targeted ads following this change. The company is essentially removing the option to not track you based on whatever you do on Reddit. Additionally, Reddit is consolidating two toggles on showing ads based on activity and information from partners into one toggle. So there is no way to separate those two settings now. Reddit is seemingly removing toggles for getting post recommendations based on "general location" and activity on partner sites and apps. It's not clear if this means those parameters will be used for post suggestions by default and there is no way to turn them off. The social network said it will also roll out controls to limit certain advertising categories such as alcohol, weight loss, dating, gambling pregnancy and parenting. The company noted that ad-limiting controls will possibly show you fewer ads from mentioned categories if the toggles are turned off, but won't possibly filter out all ads. Reddit justified this by saying it uses manual tagging and machine learning to label ads, so there is a chance that it is not 100% accurate. Reddit is also simplifying its location customization setting under a single menu, which will be easily accessible through settings on apps and on the web.

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Disney's Password-Sharing Crackdown Has Begun

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 2:45pd
Starting on November 1st, Disney Plus will begin restricting password sharing in Canada. The Verge reports: Disney has not provided many details on how it plans to enforce this policy -- its email merely states that "we're implementing restrictions on your ability to share your account or login credentials outside of your household." The announcement reads more like a strong finger wag than anything else. "You may not share your subscription outside of your household," reads the company's updated Help Center. A new "account sharing" section in the Canadian subscriber agreement also notes that the company may "analyze the use of your account" and that failing to comply with the agreement could lead to account limits or termination. After Netflix started cracking down on password sharing in the U.S., it resulted in the "four single largest days of U.S. user sign-ups since January 2019," according to Variety. The streaming giant later went on to add 2.6 million U.S. subscribers in July.

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Freelancers Aren't Happy With Japan's New Invoice System

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 2:02pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Japan Times: From Oct. 1, a new tax regulation decades in the making will go into effect -- and hundreds of thousands of workers in Japan are angry. The Qualified Invoicing System, which requires taxable businesses to issue invoices containing tax information for transactions, has generated a full-fledged movement against it. A petition on to halt the regulation has received nearly 450,000 signatures. The social movement [...] has held regular demonstrations and conferences advocating against the law, alongside significant protest from the world of pop culture: Animators, filmmakers, voice actors, manga artists and V-tubers of all stripes have joined together against it. While the law is complex, the reason it's hated is not: It's effectively a tax increase. While the system was created to ensure that businesses will properly pay consumption tax, for many freelancers and small businesses the result will amount to a 10% increase in taxes -- a high enough jump to potentially devastate creatives who already make a living by the narrowest of margins. [...] Those who have already registered as taxable businesses or sole proprietors with sales of over 10 million yen are required to register for the system. Small freelancers and tax-exempt businesses, however, will need to consider carefully what to do. "Tax compliance will be the biggest issue for freelancers," [says Fumiko Mizoguchi, indirect tax service country leader at Deloitte]. "If freelancers agree to issue qualified invoices, they should offer the counter-suggestion that their prices will increase 10% as a result." Meanwhile, the protest movement is steady on the ground in Tokyo. Voiction, which has been meeting with legislators to try to halt the law, plans on continuing to fight through the rest of the year and beyond. [Voice actress Yuhko Kaida] explains that the government could still decide to allow small businesses to not file 2023's consumption tax in March 2024, when taxes are due. "If we have the willpower, we can stop this law," Kaida says. "Then we can reduce the damage to people's lives."

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Epic Games Cutting 16 Percent of Its Workforce

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 1:20pd
According to Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, Epic games is laying off 16 percent of its current workforce, which amounts to almost 900 employees losing their jobs. Kotaku reports: A memo was shared this morning at the North Carolina company, seen by Kotaku, informing staff of the bad news. It explains that alongside 16 percent of staff being laid off, the company is also selling Bandcamp, and "spinning off" most of marketing company SuperAwesome. "For a while now, we've been spending way more money than we earn," says the memo, sent to staff by CEO Tim Sweeney. "I have long been optimistic we could power through this transition without layoffs, but in retrospect I see that this was unrealistic." It seems that Fortnite's failure to continue growing was part of the problem. Sweeney reports that it's "starting to grow again," but this is driven by creator content "with significant revenue sharing." Despite efforts to reduce spending, Sweeney says "we still ended up far short of financial sustainability." These layoffs, he hopes, will "stabilize our finances." "Laid-off Epic employees will receive six months severance and health benefits," Schreier said on X, adding that an "all-hands meeting [is] happening shortly." Further reading: Apple Asks Supreme Court To Reverse App Store Ruling Won by Epic

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Nvidia's French Offices Raided In Cloud-Computing Competition Inquiry

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 12:40pd
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nvidia's French offices were raided this week on suspicion the chipmaker engaged in anticompetitive practices. Reuters reports: The French competition authority, which disclosed the dawn raid on Wednesday, did not say what practices it was investigating or which company it had targeted, beyond saying it was in the "graphics cards sector." The French competition authority said that its operation this week followed a broader inquiry into the cloud-computing sector. The broader inquiry revolves around concerns that cloud-computing companies could use their access to computing power to exclude smaller competitors. This week's operation had targeted Nvidia, which is the world's largest maker of chips used both for artificial intelligence and for computer graphics, the WSJ report added, citing people familiar with the raid. Chips originally made for computer graphics are suited for AI-related computing.

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Smartphone Sales Down 22 Percent In Q2, the Worst Performance In a Decade

Slashdot - Pre, 29/09/2023 - 12:00pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Canalys has some gruesome new numbers out for the North American smartphone market in Q2 2023, detailing what it's calling the "worst quarterly performance for over a decade." Q2 has plummeted 22 percent, year over year, and with these numbers, Canalys is predicting the smartphone market will be down 12 percent overall in 2023. Apple is down 20 percent for Q2 and still in a dominant position with 54 percent market share. Samsung is down 27 percent, in second place overall with 24 percent market share in Q2 2023. Motorola is next with a 25 percent decline and only 8 percent market share. TCL, a TV company that feels like it only briefly dabbled in smartphones, is the single biggest loser, down 30 percent, with 5 percent market share. Only a single company survived this quarter unscathed, and it's actually Google! The company might be at the bottom of the smartphone charts, but Pixel phone sales are up 59 percent, earning Google 4 percent of the market. It was the same story last year, when Google jumped from 1 to 2 percent. In a few quarters, the company might hit fourth place. The biggest loss on the chart is actually "others," down 43 percent, likely representing the further consolidation of the Android market. These are your OnePluses, your HMD/Nokias, and trashy pre-paid vendors like Blu.

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New Debian Developers and Maintainers (July and August 2023)

Bits from Debian - Mër, 27/09/2023 - 4:00md

The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

  • Marius Gripsgard (mariogrip)
  • Mohammed Bilal (rmb)
  • Lukas Märdian (slyon)
  • Robin Gustafsson (rgson)
  • David da Silva Polverari (polverari)
  • Emmanuel Arias (eamanu)

The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

  • Aymeric Agon-Rambosson
  • Blair Noctis
  • Lena Voytek
  • Philippe Coval
  • John Scott


Is the Philips Hue Ecosystem 'Collapsing Into Stupidity'?

Slashdot - Mër, 27/09/2023 - 12:00md
The Philips Hue ecosystem of home automation devices is "collapsing into stupidity," writes Rachel Kroll, veteran sysadmin and former production engineer at Facebook. "Unfortunately, the idiot C-suite phenomenon has happened here too, and they have been slowly walking down the road to full-on enshittification." From her blog post: I figured something was up a few years ago when their iOS app would block entry until you pushed an upgrade to the hub box. That kind of behavior would never fly with any product team that gives a damn about their users -- want to control something, so you start up the app? Forget it, we are making you placate us first! How is that user-focused, you ask? It isn't. Their latest round of stupidity pops up a new EULA and forces you to take it or, again, you can't access your stuff. But that's just more unenforceable garbage, so who cares, right? Well, it's getting worse. It seems they are planning on dropping an update which will force you to log in. Yep, no longer will your stuff Just Work across the local network. Now it will have yet another garbage "cloud" "integration" involved, and they certainly will find a way to make things suck even worse for you. If you have just the lights and smart outlets, Kroll recommends deleting the units from the Hue Hub and adding them to an IKEA Dirigera hub. "It'll run them just fine, and will also export them to HomeKit so that much will keep working as well." That said, it's not a perfect solution. You will lose motion sensor data, the light level, the temperature of that room, and the ability to set custom behaviors with those buttons. "Also, there's no guarantee that IKEA won't hop on the train to sketchville and start screwing over their users as well," adds Kroll. What has your experience been with the Philips Hue ecosystem? Do you have any alternatives you recommend?

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Chinese Astronauts May Build a Base Inside a Lunar Lava Tube

Slashdot - Mër, 27/09/2023 - 9:00pd
According to Universe Today, China may utilize lunar caves as potential habitats for astronauts on the Moon, offering defense against hazards like radiation, meteorites, and temperature variations. From the report: Different teams of scientists from different countries and agencies have studied the idea of using lava tubes as shelter. At a recent conference in China, Zhang Chongfeng from the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology presented a study into the underground world of lava tubes. Chinese researchers did fieldwork in Chinese lava tubes to understand how to use them on the Moon. According to Zhang, there's enough similarity between lunar and Earthly lava tubes for one to be an analogue of the other. It starts with their two types of entrances, vertical and sloped. Both worlds have both types. Most of what we've found on the Moon are vertical-opening tubes, but that may be because of our overhead view. The openings are called skylights, where the ceiling has collapsed and left a debris accumulation on the floor of the tube directly below it. Entering through these requires either flight or some type of vertical lift equipment. Sloped entrances make entry and exit much easier. It's possible that rovers could simply drive into them, though some debris would probably need to be cleared. According to Zhang, this is the preferred entrance that makes exploration easier. China is prioritizing lunar lava tubes at Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility) and Mare Fecunditatis (Sea of Fecundity) for exploration. China is planning a robotic system that can explore caves like the one in Mare Tranquillitatis. The primary probe will have either wheels or feet and will be built to adapt to challenging terrain and to overcome obstacles. It'll also have a scientific payload. Auxiliary vehicles can separate from the main probe to perform more reconnaissance and help with communications and "energy support." They could be diversified so the mission can meet different challenges. They might include multi-legged crawling probes, rolling probes, and even bouncing probes. These auxiliary vehicles would also have science instruments to study the lunar dust, radiation, and the presence of water ice in the tubes. China is also planning a flight-capable robot that could find its way through lava tubes autonomously using microwave and laser radars. "China's future plan, after successful exploration, is a crewed base," the report adds. "It would be a long-term underground research base in one of the lunar lava tubes, with a support center for energy and communication at the tube's entrance. The terrain would be landscaped, and the base would include both residential and research facilities inside the tube." "[R]egardless of when they start, China seems committed to the idea. Ding Lieyun, a top scientist at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, told the China Science Daily that 'Eventually, building habitation beyond the Earth is essential not only for all humanity's quest for space exploration but also for China's strategic needs as a space power.'"

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next-20230927: linux-next

Kernel Linux - Mër, 27/09/2023 - 5:50pd
Version:next-20230927 (linux-next) Released:2023-09-27

Burkey Belser, Designer of Ubiquitous Nutrition Facts Label, Dies At 76

Slashdot - Mër, 27/09/2023 - 5:30pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Washington Post: Burkey Belser, a graphic designer who created the ubiquitous nutrition facts label -- a stark rectangle listing calories, fat, sodium and other content information -- that adorns the packaging of nearly every digestible product in grocery stores, died Sept. 25 at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 76. The cause was bladder cancer, said his wife Donna Greenfield, with whom he founded the Washington, D.C., design firm Greenfield/Belser. Mr. Belser's nutrition facts label -- rendered in bold and light Helvetica type -- was celebrated as a triumph of public health and graphic design when it debuted in 1994 following passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act. Although some products had previously included nutritional information, there was no set standard, and the information was of little public health value in helping consumers make better food choices. The new law, drafted as obesity and other diet-related illnesses were surging, required mandatory food labels with nutrients presented in the context of a healthy 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. Writing in a journal published by the Professional Association for Design, Massimo Vignelli, the renowned Italian designer, called Mr. Belser's creation a "clean testimonial of civilization, a statement of social responsibility, and a masterpiece of graphic design." The Food and Drug Administration chose Mr. Belser to design the nutrition label following his success creating the black and yellow energy guide label for appliances. Once dubbed the "Steve Jobs of information design," Mr. Belser's fondness for exceedingly simple design perfectly suited him for a job that required stripping down nutritional facts to the bare essentials. The report proceeds to tell the tale of how Mr. Belser worked pro bono with his team to labor through three dozen iterations of the label, ultimately settling on "simplicity in itself." "There's a harmony about it, and the presentation has no extraneous components to it," Belser told The Washington Post. "The words are left and right justified, which gave it a kind of balance. There was no grammatical punctuation like commas or periods or parentheses that would slow the reader down." He compared the finished product -- which he later adapted to over-the-counter drugs -- to the Apple iPod. "The detail is so important that you wouldn't even notice it and if you didn't notice it's a sign that it succeeded," he said. "I don't know if anybody's heart beats faster when they see nutrition facts, but they sense a pleasure that they get the information they need."

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World's First Drug To Regrow Teeth Enters Clinical Trials

Slashdot - Mër, 27/09/2023 - 4:02pd
Michelle Butterfield writes via Global News: A team of scientists, led by a Japanese pharmaceutical startup, are getting set to start human trials on a new drug that has successfully grown new teeth in animal test subjects. Toregem Biopharma is slated to begin clinical trials in July of next year after it succeeded growing new teeth in mice five years ago, the Japan Times reports. Dr. Katsu Takahashi, a lead researcher on the project and head of the dentistry and oral surgery department at the Medical Research Institute Kitano Hospital, says "the idea of growing new teeth is every dentist's dream." In his research, which he's been conducting at Kyoto University since 2005, Takahashi learned of a particular gene in mice that affects the growth of their teeth. The antibody for this gene, USAG-1, can help stimulate tooth growth if it is suppressed -- and scientists have since worked to develop a "neutralizing antibody medicine" that is able to block USAG-1. Now, his team has been testing the theory that "blocking" this protein could grow more teeth. After their successful tests on mice, the team went on to perform similarly positive trials on ferrets -- animals who have a similar dental pattern to humans. Now, testing will turn to healthy adult humans and, if all goes well, the team plans to hold a clinical trial for the drug from 2025 for children between two and six years old with anodontia -- a rare genetic disorder that results in the absence of six or more baby and/or adult teeth. According to the Japan Times, the children involved in the clinical trial will be injected with one dose of the drug to see if it induces teeth growth. If successful, the medicine could be available for regulatory approval by 2030.

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Unity Dev Group Dissolves After 13 Years Over 'Completely Eroded' Company Trust

Slashdot - Mër, 27/09/2023 - 3:25pd
Kyle Orland writes via Ars Technica: The "first official Unity user group in the world" has announced that it is dissolving after 13 years because "the trust we used to have in the company has been completely eroded." The move comes as many developers are saying they will continue to stay away from the company's products even after last week's partial rollback of some of the most controversial parts of its fee structure plans. Since its founding in 2010, the Boston Unity Group (BUG) has attracted thousands of members to regular gatherings, talks, and networking events, including many technical lectures archived on YouTube. But the group says it will be hosting its last meeting Wednesday evening via Zoom because the Unity of today is very different from the Dave Helgason-led company that BUG says "enthusiastically sanctioned and supported" the group at its founding. "Over the past few years, Unity has unfortunately shifted its focus away from the games industry and away from supporting developer communities," the group leadership wrote in a departure note. "Following the IPO, the company has seemingly put profit over all else, with several acquisitions and layoffs of core personnel. Many key systems that developers need are still left in a confusing and often incomplete state, with the messaging that advertising and revenue matter more to Unity than the functionality game developers care about." BUG says the install-fee terms Unity first announced earlier this month were "unthinkably hostile" to users and that even the "new concessions" in an updated pricing model offered late last week "disproportionately affect the success of indie studios in our community." But it's the fact that such "resounding, unequivocal condemnation from the games industry" was necessary to get those changes in the first place that has really shaken the community to its core. "We've seen how easily and flippantly an executive-led business decision can risk bankrupting the studios we've worked so hard to build, threaten our livelihoods as professionals, and challenge the longevity of our industry," BUG wrote. "The Unity of today isn't the same company that it was when the group was founded, and the trust we used to have in the company has been completely eroded."

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Windows 11's New 'Never Combine' Icons Feature Is Almost Unusable

Slashdot - Mër, 27/09/2023 - 3:02pd
Lawrence Abrams writes via BleepingComputer: After almost three years, Microsoft has finally added the 'Never combine taskbar button' back to Windows, and it still doesn't work correctly. The combine taskbar items feature in Windows 10 allows you to show an icon for every open application in Windows, even if they are multiple instances of the same application. For example, if you have ten instances of Notepad or a few browser windows open, the feature will allow you to see an icon on the taskbar for each open Windows rather than combining it into a single application icon. For me and many others, removing this feature made it impossible to upgrade to Windows 11, as switching between the myriad open windows became a nightmare. This frustration is reflected in the Windows 11 Feedback Hub, where a suggestion to never combine app icons and show labels has received 17,527 upvotes, making it the 10th most requested feature. Today, those users who have been holding off on upgrading to Windows 11 because of this missing feature "may" finally be able to do so. This is because Microsoft finally released the "never combine" feature as part of its Windows 11 22H2 Moment 4 update released today. However, even with this feature added, it is still subpar to Windows 10, as, unlike the previous version of Windows, it continues to show the windows titles next to the icon, taking up a lot of space. It's baffling that Microsoft can't get this feature right after three years with it being one of the most highly requested features. A simple toggle to disable the showing of Windows titles could have been added, or Microsoft could have replicated the Windows 10 feature many of us requested.

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Air Force Receives Its First Electric Air Taxi

Slashdot - Mër, 27/09/2023 - 2:45pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the New York Times: The Air Force said on Monday that it had received its first electric passenger aircraft capable of taking off and landing vertically, a milestone for the companies that hope to one day sell thousands of such vehicles to serve as air taxis. Joby Aviation, an air taxi start-up, delivered the aircraft to Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California, where the first supersonic flight took place. Air taxis are typically powered by batteries and designed to lift off and land like helicopters, but include wings to fly like airplanes. Joby, which is based in Santa Cruz, Calif., said that its electric aircraft is substantially quieter than helicopters or planes. Each can carry one pilot and four passengers and travel as fast as 200 miles per hour and as far as 100 miles, according to the company. The delivery is the first under an Air Force contract that Joby said was valued at up to $131 million and gives the government the option to receive up to nine aircraft. The Air Force and Joby will operate the vehicle, but Joby will still own the aircraft and receive both fixed and variable payments for hours flown. NASA, which has a facility at the base, will also conduct research on the vehicle. The Air Force has signed similar contracts with other air taxi companies under a program called Agility Prime, part of a broader effort to promote innovation. Agility Prime's mission is to support development of air taxis and similar technology, giving the Air Force a head start in exploring how it might use such aircraft while also providing financial and testing support to the air taxi companies. At Edwards Air Force Base, Joby's aircraft will be tested as a means to transport cargo and people. The vehicles could also be used to monitor the expansive base or tested to conduct medical evacuations, for example. All told, the Air Force has more than 100 performance measures it wants to evaluate, said Beau Griffith, the deputy lead of Agility Prime. "Bearing out the promise of these vehicles is the program's goal," he said. NASA will work closely with the military and Joby in testing the aircraft, with the aim of using its research to guide air taxi development and support the F.A.A. Starting next year, NASA pilots and researchers will explore how Joby's vehicle would operate in a typical city environment, examining flight procedures and how it could interact with air traffic control and local infrastructure. Joby's aircraft is expected to remain at the base for at least a year, and the company has plans to deliver another in 2024.

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