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Industry & Technology

Etika: Body found in search is missing YouTuber

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 56 min ago
The gamer, who went missing last week, had uploaded a video describing suicidal thoughts.

Google city sparks fresh controversy

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 11 min ago
Plans for a digital city built "from the internet up" meet growing opposition in Toronto.

Dealmaster: Take 30% off a variety of Switch, PS4, and Xbox One games

Ars Technica - 2 hours 16 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by an expansive 30%-off sale on video games for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One currently going on at Target.

The catch here is that the discount doesn't apply to typical shipping; instead, you have to select "free order pickup" upon checking out and physically get the games yourself at a nearby store. That's a little annoying, but Target isn't exactly a mom-and-pop shop, and many of the deals available as part of the deal are good enough for the Dealmaster to think it's worth a quick drive. For instance, the sale brings first-party Switch games like Super Mario PartyMario Tennis Aces, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe down to $35, beating their prices in Nintendo's own E3 sale from a couple of weeks back. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the latest from Dark Souls maker From Software, is down to $34 from its usual $48, while the recent Resident Evil 2 remake is down to $28 from its usual $40.

The 30% discount applies to literally hundreds more games beyond those, but note that not everything in the sale is at or near an all-time price low. The Dealmaster has curated a list of games he finds to be good bargains below, but as always, price tracking tools like Keepa and CamelCamelCamel can help verify whether other games are really a good bargain. (Particularly now that Amazon Prime Day is right around the corner.) Exactly how available these games are will depend on where you live, too, as will how much tax you'll have to pay on top of the prices listed below, though the latter should only add a couple extra bucks. In any event, Target says this sale will last until June 29.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Steam and Ubuntu clash over 32-bit libs

Ars Technica - 2 hours 55 min ago

Enlarge / The new icon theme in Ubuntu 19.04. (credit: Scott Gilbertson)

It has been a tumultuous week for gaming on Linux. Last Tuesday afternoon, Canonical's Steve Langasek announced that 32-bit libs would be frozen (kept as-is, with no new builds or updates) as of this October's interim 19.10 release, codenamed "Eoan Ermine." Langasek was pretty clear that this did not mean abandoning support for running 32-bit applications, however.

Unfortunately, that part of the announcement may not have been entirely clear to all who read it. This group may include Steam lead Pierre-Loup Griffais, who responded by breaking up with Ubuntu in a tweet.

Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users. We will evaluate ways to minimize breakage for existing users, but will also switch our focus to a different distribution, currently TBD.

— Pierre-Loup Griffais (@Plagman2) June 22, 2019

Two days later, Canonical issued another public statement making it very explicit that support for commonly used 32-bit libs would be continued. That statement has been widely reported as an "about-face" from Canonical, but it appears to be more of a clarification of the original statement. The heart of the issue is that 32-bit computing represents an incredibly wide attack surface, with lessening amounts of active maintenance to discover, analyze, and patch flaws and exploits. Canonical, like any company, needs to apply its developer resources intelligently, so it looks for ways to remove unnecessary cruft where possible. The vast majority of 32-bit code is cruft.

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Facebook to identify French hate speech suspects

BBC Technology News - 3 hours 10 min ago
The deal between the French government and the tech giant is believed to be the first of its kind.

BMW speeds up plans to electrify 25 new models, now due by 2023

Ars Technica - 3 hours 38 min ago

In Munich on Tuesday, BMW revealed it is speeding up the plan to electrify its model range. Previously, it had committed to introducing 25 electric vehicles by the year 2025. Now, those EVs will reach us by 2023. Of those 25, BMW says more than half will be battery EVs, with the remainder being plug-in hybrid EVs (hopefully).

"By 2021, we will have doubled our sales of electrified vehicles compared with 2019," said Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, in Munich on Tuesday. "We will offer 25 electrified vehicles already in 2023—two years earlier than originally planned. We expect to see a steep growth curve towards 2025: Sales of our electrified vehicles should increase by an average of 30 percent every year."

The Bavarian car company has actually been rather proactive when it comes to electrification. It created the BMW i sub brand as a place to experiment with lightweight construction and electrification, which gave us the charming i3 city car and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. When it introduced the 530e plug-in hybrid, it bucked the trend of making PHEVs more expensive than their non-hybrid siblings, offering it at the exact same price as the plain-old 530i.

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Cease-and-desist transforms Mario Royale into DMCA Royale

Ars Technica - 4 hours 12 min ago

Enlarge / Mario? Who is Mario? My name is Infringio, and I'm a completely original character. (credit: Inferno Plus)

Web-based game Mario Royale attracted quite a bit of attention last week by taking Nintendo's well-known mascot and placing him next to 74 other human-controlled doppelgangers in a race through level designs taken directly from popular Mario games.

Given Nintendo's litigious reputation when it comes to fan games, it's perhaps no surprise that the "game got DMCA'd," as creator InfernoPlus noted in a comment on the game's YouTube trailer over the weekend. InfernoPlus himself didn't seem all that surprised. In an interview with Vice last week, he said he "anticiapate[d]" a letter from Nintendo. "I’d say it’s [a] 50/50 [chance of attracting Nintendo's legal ire], maybe more, because it got so big all of a sudden. If [Nintendo] does, I can just re-skin it."

Now, that's precisely what's happened. Following a June 21 "DMCA Patch," the game that was Mario Royale is now DMCA Royale. While the gameplay is unchanged, the game's music, sound effects, and in-game sprites have been replaced with much more generic versions—including a new player character named "Infringio."

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Used car batteries may power football stadium lights

BBC Technology News - 5 hours 18 min ago
Refurbished batteries are already in use at stadiums in Norway and the Netherlands.

Cyber-bullying affects more girls than boys in Northern Ireland

BBC Technology News - 7 hours 1 min ago
A study indicates some children were mocked about their appearance and some were sent nude pictures.

Guidemaster: The best dash cams worthy of a permanent place in your car

Ars Technica - 7 hours 18 min ago

Enlarge / Garmin Dash Cam Mini. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Update: Our original Dash Cam Guidemaster was published in March 2018, but we recently tested out some of the newest options and updated our picks—just in time for 2019 summer road trips.

If you've ever been in a fender-bender or a serious car accident, you can appreciate the importance of a dash cam. These tiny car cameras stick to your windshield and silently record driving footage, capturing all the strange, mundane, and perilous things going on in front of your car. In addition to peace of mind during daily commutes, they can provide information footage to law enforcement, insurance companies, and other parties in accident situations, monitor your car when you're not around, and sometimes capture fun videos of you and your friends on a road trip.

But with the numerous big and small companies making dash cameras now, wading through the sea of devices before you choose one to buy is a formidable task. Ars reviewed the newest dash cams and revisited our testing of existing devices to pick the best dash cams available now.

Read 44 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Global phone networks attacked by hackers

BBC Technology News - 9 hours 21 min ago
Attackers had power to shut networks down but chose to snoop on users instead.

Dutch emergency line hit by KPN telecoms outage

BBC Technology News - 11 hours 27 min ago
The four-hour disruption was the largest in years and the cause is still unclear.

The Falcon Heavy rocket launched early Tuesday—two cores made it back safely

Ars Technica - 12 hours 59 min ago

2:50am ET Tuesday Update: SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launched at 2:30am ET on Tuesday morning, sending its payload of 24 satellites into space. Less than three minutes after the launch, the rocket's two side-mounted boosters separated from the first stage's center core and subsequently returned to make a safe landing near Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

At 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the flight, the rocket's upper stage separated from the center core and flew onward, into the first of several orbits. The center core then attempted to make the "hottest" landing of a Falcon rocket to date, more than 1,200km downrange on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX founder Elon Musk had warned earlier that, because of the core's exceedingly high energy during its return to Earth, it only had about a 50% chance of landing on the drone ship. It didn't quite make it, making a visible explosion as it hit the water nearby.

Meanwhile, the Falcon Heavy's upper stage still had much work to do. Over the next 3 hours and 30 minutes, it was slated to drop off 24 satellites into three different orbits.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Changi Airport: Drones disrupt flights in Singapore

BBC Technology News - 14 hours 40 min ago
A rise in drone use has created growing security concerns for airports around the world.

Amazon takes on TCL’s Roku TV with low-cost HDR Fire TV

Ars Technica - 18 hours 39 min ago

Enlarge / Seeing is believing when it comes to HDR, and this mock-up comparison of the display tech hints at what awaits Toshiba buyers. (Note: The TV pictured above is NOT the one we're writing about today.) (credit: Ars Technica)

Things are looking a lot brighter for Amazon's collection of Fire TV Edition sets. The company is introducing three new smart televisions made by Toshiba that bring HDR support to the product line for the first time. The displays are also going up for sale at an appealing price point.

The Toshiba 4K UHD Smart TV HDR is an LCD panel that promises a typical contrast ratio of 4,000:1, plus HDR in the Dolby Vision standard. The Amazon product listing doesn't give any specifics on the maximum brightness for this hardware. As the product name implies, it has a 4K resolution as well as a 60Hz refresh rate.

The largest model is 55 inches, and it is on sale now for $449.99. The other options are 50 inches for $379.99 and 43 inches for $329.99; those will be available starting June 30. All three of the new Fire TVs are exclusively available through Amazon or Best Buy thanks to the unusual alliance those sellers entered earlier this year.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Icelanders tire of disrespectful Instagram influencers

BBC Technology News - 20 hours 5 min ago
Locals are frustrated at a number of cases where influencers have been disrespectful at tourist sites.

How a ransomware attack cost one firm £45m

BBC Technology News - 20 hours 47 min ago
When malicious hackers disable a business and demand a ransom, many firms pay up. But should they?

AT&T sued over hidden fee that raises mobile prices above advertised rate

Ars Technica - June 24, 2019 - 9:22pm

Enlarge / An AT&T retail store in Chicago in 2018. (credit: Getty Images | jetcityimage)

AT&T is facing a class-action complaint over its practice of charging a $1.99-per-month "Administrative Fee" that isn't disclosed in its advertised rates.

As the complaint notes, "AT&T prominently advertises particular flat monthly rates for its post-paid wireless service plans." But after customers sign up, the telco "covertly increases the actual price" by tacking on the "bogus so-called 'Administrative Fee,'" according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in US District Court for the Northern District of California.

AT&T "hides" the fee in an easy-to-miss spot in customer bills, the complaint says, and it "misleadingly suggests that the Administrative Fee is akin to a tax or another standard government pass-through fee, when in fact it is simply a way for AT&T to advertise and promise lower rates than it actually charges."

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Bill Gates calls failure to fight Android his “greatest mistake”

Ars Technica - June 24, 2019 - 8:06pm

Enlarge / Bill Gates speaks to Village Global. (credit: Village Global)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently gave a wide-ranging interview to VC firm Village Global, and at one point, the topic of mobile came up. Gates revealed his biggest regret while at Microsoft was a failure to lead Microsoft into a solid position in the smartphone wars.

In the software world—particularly for platforms—these are winner-take-all markets. So, you know, the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is. That is, Android is the standard non-Apple phone platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win, and you know it really is winner-take-all. If you're there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you're on your way to complete doom. There's room for exactly one non-Apple operating system. And what's that worth? Four hundred billion? That would be transferred from Company G to Company M. And it's amazing to me having made one of the greatest mistakes of all time—and there was this antitrust lawsuit and various things—our other assets—Windows, Office—are still very strong. So we are a leading company. If we'd got that one right, we would be the leading company. But oh well.

In the interview, Gates takes full responsibility for not reacting to the new era of smartphones. But by that time, he already had a foot out the door at Microsoft to focus on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The original iPhone came out in 2007, and the first Android device was released in 2008. Gates had already announced his transition plan in June 2006.

The CEO of Microsoft at the time was Steve Ballmer, who famously laughed at the iPhone and called the $500 device "The most expensive phone in the world" while deriding its lack of a hardware keyboard. "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share," Ballmer once told USA Today. "No chance."

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The 2019 Audi A7 might be all the car anyone ever needs

Ars Technica - June 24, 2019 - 7:12pm

High expectations can be a killer. We see this all the time—the let-down sequel to a great movie or the indulgent sophomore follow-up to a brilliant debut album. It also applies to cars; ask any fan of the Mk2 VW Golf for their opinion of the Mk3 as proof. As humans we fall in love, too easily perhaps, with inanimate objects. When a replacement shows up, and our expectations exceed its ability, the result is disappointment. Which is a long-winded way of saying I was actually a little scared when I fired up the 2019 Audi A7 for the first time.

The previous A7 was a delightful car, particularly if you had a long way to go and wanted to do it in comfort and style. Here was an Audi that looked as good on the outside as it did on the inside thanks to its fastback body style. Back in the days before we knew they were belching NOXious gases, the TDI version would happily deliver 40mpg all day long. If you wanted something less economical but a lot faster, the RS7 and its snarling twin-turbo V8 offered close to the last word in all-weather, cross-country ability.

I first saw the second-generation A7 at last year's Detroit auto show. It follows the same script as before: lighter and less loaded down the A8 flagship, sleeker and more driver -ocused than the mainstream A6, but it's still built from the same toolbox and parts bin that Audi (and the rest of Volkswagen Group) call MLB Evo. It looks a lot like the car it replaces, but with sharper creases in the panels and some funky LED matrix headlights and LED tail lights that are meant to make it easier for you to see in the dark (as well as making you easier to see). That car is even available with a US-legal version of Audi's clever laser high beam headlights.

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