Marine Corps Boot Camp: Job Titles to Be ‘Gender Neutral’ by April

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Gina Harkins reports: The Marine Corps has been ordered to come up with a plan to make its enlisted entry-level training coed, and to make its job titles more gender-neutral following the recent move to open all military combat roles to women.

“It requires a look at … how much personnel to bring, how many drill instructors to bring, the leadership and support cadre that comes along with that.”

In a Jan. 1 memo to Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus requested a “detailed plan” on how the service will fully integrate its boot camp and Officer Candidate School. The plan is due Jan. 15 and will be implemented by April 1, the memo states.

“The barracks in San Diego are H-shaped, for example, so you can see everything that’s going on. If women are living in them, do you black out the windows or make an entire building that’s theirs? Do you do a floor for men and a floor for women?”

“The Department of the Navy’s implementation plan must include gender integration of Marine Corps enlisted recruit training and officer candidate school,” Mabus wrote. “In this submission, identify where, if anywhere, this training is already integrated, where it is separate, and specific steps that you will take to fully integrate these trainings.”

In a second memo from Mabus to Neller on the same day, the SecNav directed the Marine Corps to conduct a full review of its military occupational specialty titles in an effort to ensure that they are gender neutral.

“Please review the position titles throughout the Marine Corps and ensure that they are gender-integrated as well, removing ‘man’ from the titles and provide a report to me as soon as is practicable and no later than April 1, 2016.”

A Navy official said that the service received a similar memo pertaining to its MOS titles and descriptions. Mabus doesn’t intend to require iconic titles like “infantryman,” “rifleman” or “midshipman” to be changed, however, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Read the rest of this entry »


Virtual Reality System to Fly in Space Brings Non-Astronauts Aboard ISS

The ISS Floating Tour, in addition to being an amazing experience for high-end devices such as the upcoming retail Oculus Rift and PlayStation headsets, also will be viewable on high-resolution smartphones and tablets.

The ISS Floating Tour, in addition to being an amazing experience for high-end devices such as the upcoming retail Oculus Rift and PlayStation headsets, also will be viewable on high-resolution smartphones and tablets.

For the first time ever, a virtual reality recording system will be flown in space. The project, announced by Deep Space Industries (DSI), will use a spherical video capture system to create a virtual reality float-through tour of the International Space Station‘s science lab.

Feeding into the exciting growth of VR systems created by Oculus Rift, Sony, and Samsung, this project, initiated by DSI, is a cooperative effort with Thrillbox, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), managers of the ISS U.S.

National Laboratory. This innovative partnership will allow, for the first time, anyone with a VR headset to have a fully immersive astronaut experience aboard the International Space Station. Additionally, CASIS will use the spherical video to familiarize potential researchers with the scientific facilities on the ISS National Lab.

“The space station is packed with equipment, literally in every direction. Gear is built into the walls, embedded in the floor, and tucked into the ceiling,” said

David Gump, DSI Vice-Chair. “The spherical video captured during a float through will enable people to look everywhere, as they would if they were up in the station themselves.”

Deep Space Industries began the project as an early step in developing VR systems to be used for exploring and mining asteroids, and brought in Thrillbox to focus on distributing the captured images to the greatest number of people.

The partnership between Thrillbox and DSI provides the right combination of expertise in space operations and virtual reality, creating a successful project that provides value for CASIS and offers a unique experience to consumers.

The ISS Floating Tour, in addition to being an amazing experience for high-end devices such as the upcoming retail Oculus Rift and PlayStation headsets, also will be viewable on high-resolution smartphones and tablets.

“As excitement about spherical video spreads to more people, Thrillbox is providing a universal player for web sites and personal computers that delivers a sophisticated way to handle this new format,” said Benjamin Durham, CEO of Thrillbox. “The partnership with DSI will allow us to distribute this unique space experience to consumers around the world.”

A video capture rig with multiple cameras covering a spherical field of view will provide a “you-are-there” experience never before available. In addition to entertaining consumers, this detailed video will be used by CASIS for educating potential researchers and potentially by NASA for familiarizing future ISS crews with the ever-changing internal arrangement of the station’s gear and supplies. Read the rest of this entry »


You Call That an iPad? That’s Not an iPad. THIS is an iPad

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Apple Announces iPad Pro With New Larger Screen

 reports: Apple announced a new big-screen iPad at an event in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday. The new iPad, the iPad Pro, will have a 12.9-inch screen with a 2732 X 2048 resolution.

The long-rumored tablet will be the most powerful iOS device ever released, Apple marketing exec Phil Schiller said at the event. The iPad Pro’s A9X chip will be 1.8 times faster than the A8X in the iPad Air 2. The device will also have a 10-hour battery life and a four-speaker audio system for improved sound performance. The iPad Pro is 6.9 mm thick, just a bit thicker than the iPad Air’s 6.1 mm, and also features an 8 megapixel camera.

The cheapest model the iPad Pro will cost $799 and have 32 GB of storage. A 128GB version will cost $949, and a 128GB version with LTE capability will cost $1,079. Read the rest of this entry »


Before the Apple Watch There Was The Hewlett Packard Calculator Watch, Before That, The Seiko Watchman TV Watch

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Before the Apple Watch, there was the Hewlett Packard calculator watch. And before that, there was the Seiko Watchman TV watch. A curator from our  Museum of American History talks about the evolution of wrist tech on Smithsonian Science News

via Smithsonian


[VIDEO] Gordon Moore: Thoughts on the 50th Anniversary of Moore’s Law

This April marks the 50th Anniversary of Moore’s Law. Three years before co-founding Intel, Gordon Moore made a simple observation that has revolutionized the computing industry. It states, the number of transistors – the fundamental building blocks of the microprocessor and the digital age – incorporated on a computer chip will double every two years, resulting in increased computing power and devices that are faster, smaller and lower cost.

 


Hillary’s Middle Finger: She Actually Sent 55,000 (Paper) Pages of UNSEARCHABLE Emails to the State Department

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From WSJ’s James Taranto:

If you were following the revelations about Hillary Clinton’s private State Department IT operation last week, you probably heard that, as the initial New York Times story put it, “55,000 pages of emails were given to the department” in December after being selected by a private aide to the former secretary. You might have wondered: What does that mean, 55,000 “pages”? Or maybe you just read it, as the crack fact-check team over at PolitiFact did just last night, as 55,000 emails.

It turns out the reference is to literal physical pages. From Friday’s Times: “Finally, in December, dozens of boxes filled with 50,000 pages of printed emails from Mrs. Clinton’s personal account were delivered to the State Department.”

Why did Mrs. Clinton have her staff go through the trouble of printing out, boxing and shipping 50,000 or 55,000 pages instead of just sending a copy of the electronic record? One can only speculate, but there is an obvious advantage: Printed files are less informative and far harder to search than the electronic originals.

Via Twitchy


What’s the Apple Watch Good For?

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Developers and designers debate whether the Apple Watch will find its purpose

John Pavlus  writes: When Apple unveiled the first iPad in 2010, many pundits scoffed. Among the gripes: tablet computers had been tried before without success; most people already had laptops; and wasn’t it just a giant iPod Touch?

 “A watch is a very covert object,” she says. “I could see a new kind of private language or low-level communication emerging from this kind of wearable, using pulses or squeezes.”

— Laura Seargeant Richardson, a user experience expert at Argodesign, a consultancy based in Austin, Texas

The market, as we know, reacted differently. Tablet computers are now a hit—thanks in no small part to Apple’s savvy design, which offered people something that was instantly comprehensible and easy to use, but also flexible enough to suggest thousands of new applications.+

With the upcoming release of the Apple Watch, the company seems poised to repeat the trick. Despite a raft of existing smart watches from companies including Samsung, Motorola, and Pebble, wearable technology has resisted mainstream appeal, partly because the devices don’t feel particularly useful (see “So Far, Smart Watches Are Pretty Dumb”).

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The advance marketing for the Apple Watch has done little to explain why this product will fare better, but the tools (WatchKit) and documentation (Human Interface Guidelines) released for app developers provides some clues. They suggest a simple, intuitive mode of interaction centered on streamlined alerts. If the market influence of the iPhone and iPad are any indication, the user experience patterns that Apple establishes may come to define what all smart watches are “for” in eyes of their users.

The Apple Watch might seem like a computer that resides on your wrist, but technically that isn’t the case. Apps that run on it are actually just extensions of iOS apps that run on an iPhone; they use the watch as an auxiliary display. This encourages developers to exploit the device as a kind of remote control for their existing iOS apps, and imagine the UX accordingly.

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“You’re not allowed to run code on the watch at all,” says William Van Hecke, user experience lead at the Omni Group, a productivity software vendor that’s developing apps for the Apple Watch.

Nik Fletcher, product manager at Realmac Software, says his team “carefully reduced the core essence” of the company’s to-do list app, called Clear, in order to adapt it for the Apple Watch. Whereas the full iOS app lets users reorder tasks or mark off entire lists in one stroke, and includes animations and sound effects, the new version focuses on what Fletcher terms “recall and completion.” Upcoming reminders can be viewed using the watch’s (noninteractive) Glance view, and individual items can be crossed off. New entries must be input via the iPhone or Mac version of the software. Read the rest of this entry »


Joanna Stern: Raspberry Pi 2 Review: A $35 Computer Can Do a Heck of a Lot

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Our computers have become too easy to use.

Joanna Sternjoanna_stern writes: Right out of the box, they’re ready to go. No installing operating systems, no typing into a command-line prompt like in the old days. We don’t even have to hit save anymore.

Most weeks, I’m the first to celebrate this and to say I miss nothing about the way it used to be. But not this week.

This week I’ve been using the $35 Raspberry Pi 2, a bare-bones Linux computer no bigger than a juice box. And I’ve rediscovered something I had forgotten: the thrill of tinkering with a machine and its software. Of course, that thrill is accompanied, from time to time, with the urge to take a baseball bat to an inanimate object.

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The Raspberry Pi is the antithesis of our polished, hermetically sealed Apple and Windows PCs. Open the cardboard box and all you’ll find inside is a green board covered with chips, circuits and ports. There’s no keyboard, monitor, or power cord. There isn’t even an operating system. And that’s all by design.

It was made by a U.K.-based nonprofit called the Raspberry Pi Foundation to encourage today’s children, around the age 10 and up, to learn more about how computers really work. Children today “have wonderful technology in their lives, but they are deprived of learning how it works,” Eben Upton, co-founder of the foundation, says. So while every other electronics maker has been slaving away on ease-of-use features, Mr. Upton decided to deliberately create a computer that dials back the user friendliness.

Using media center software you can turn the Pi into a Apple TV or Roku alternative.PHOTO: DREW EVANS/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Using media center software you can turn the Pi into a Apple TV or Roku alternative. PHOTO: DREW EVANS/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

After using the Pi 2, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a great way for children and teenagers to learn about computer hardware and software. It’s also great for us curious adults who are interested in knowing more about the worlds of open-source and software coding, and don’t mind typing arcane commands into a DOS-looking interface to get there.

But don’t let that scare you. I challenged myself to see what I could do with the little thing and it put my problem-solving skills and patience to the test. Even if you’re someone like me, with little to no computer coding knowledge, you’ll be amazed by the number of things you can do with a $35 computer.

Raspbian provides a basic desktop and menu with access to programs and settings. PHOTO: DREW EVANS/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Raspbian provides a basic desktop and menu with access to programs and settings. PHOTO: DREW EVANS/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A $35 Linux Computer

My journey all started with gathering the right pieces to make the Pi my main computer for past few days.

Not only doesn’t the Pi come with an operating system, there isn’t even a hard drive inside. There is, however, a MicroSD card slot. So I did what the very helpful Raspberry Pi websites and community of experts tell beginners to do: I bought a $10 card preloaded with Raspbian, a basic Linux OS optimized for the Pi. (You can download the free software and put it on a card you already own, too.) Later this year, a new version of Windows will be released for the Pi.

OK, so it costs a little more than $35. I also bought a $5 plastic box to house the board, a $13 USB Wi-Fi dongle and a $8 Pi-compatible MicroUSB power cord from Adafruit.com, a website that sells the Pi and a selection of hardware add-ons for it, and provides tutorials.

With those things, plus a USB mouse and keyboard and an HDMI monitor I already had (TVs work fine, too), I was up and running. To get started, I did have to type some text into the command line and go through some installation processes, but believe it or not, it took less time to set up the computer than to bake a real raspberry pie. (Even with a pre-made crust!)

With the help of Limor Fried, the founder of Adafruit, Joanna Stern turned the Pi into small robot. PHOTO: DREW EVANS/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

With the help of Limor Fried, the founder of Adafruit, Joanna Stern turned the Pi into small robot. PHOTO: DREW EVANS/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Raspbian, which launched a Windows-style graphic interface once I installed it, provides a basic desktop and menu with access to programs and settings. Using the preloaded Web browser, I’ve been able to do most of what I do on my laptop—check email, Twitter, Facebook. I also downloaded the free LibreOffice suite from the preloaded Pi Store. Read the rest of this entry »


The Man, the Myth, the Mystery of Rob ‘Der Crack-Burgermeister Von Toronto’ Ford

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The riveting psychodrama of Toronto city politics

For the Toronto StarJohn Barber  writes: Now that Rob Ford has so abruptly left town, fate has arranged for an interlude to divert our attention until the fateful day he returns, fully rehabilitated after a quick turn in some spin-dry drunk tank, to scare us once again into believing he might actually get re-elected. It so happens we have a provincial election to amuse us until that fateful day — after which, if past is prologue, all attention will return to the riveting psychodrama of Toronto city politics.

[See also: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Missing: A Week After Trip to Rehab, Disappears After His Plane Lands in U.S. ]

Would NDP Leader Andrea Horwath have had the nerve to bring down Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals had Rob Ford not been whisked into guaranteed oblivion mere hours before the budget came down? Attention to any provincial theatrical would have been divided at best as long as Rob Ford remained lurching in the wings, threatening at any moment to swing across the stage scattering cluster bombs of scandal. They are lucky to have it to themselves for the brief period it will take Ford to forgive himself.

But they only get one month. The main event — the drama of “der Crack-Burgermeister von Toronto” — goes on and on.

Read the rest of this entry »