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Industry & Technology

Netherlands 'hosts most child sex abuse images'

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 5 min ago
About half of such images reported to the Internet Watch Foundation in 2018 were hosted in the Netherlands.

Review: Avengers Endgame is three of Marvel’s best films, rolled into one

Ars Technica - 2 hours 52 min ago

Enlarge / The beginning of the End... game. (credit: Marvel Studios)

Ars Technica takes spoilers seriously. This Avengers Endgame review has been written with a bare minimum of plot details, for those interested in seeing the film completely fresh-eyed starting on Friday, April 26.

The buzz word "inevitability" comes up a few times during the three-hour course of Avengers Endgame. And it's fitting: there's no ignoring the buzz and build-up for this film, which began with the mega-event of Infinity War and continued with two huge teases in the satisfying (and arguably time-killing) films Ant Man 2 and Captain Marvel.

It's gonna be big, epic, full of drama, this Endgame thing. Inevitable, right? And isn't the continuation of Disney's money-printing Marvel Cinematic Universe just as inevitable? How can this movie—whose trailers have focused on loss and grief—have any teeth if superhero business is supposed to continue as usual?

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Swirling patterns in Starry Night match those in gassy star nurseries

Ars Technica - 3 hours 23 min ago

Enlarge / The bold blue and yellow swirls of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night (1889) share turbulent properties with the molecular clouds that give birth to stars. (credit: Museum of Modern Art/Public domain)

In 2004, NASA published an image by the Hubble Space Telescope of turbulent eddies of dusty clouds moving around a supergiant star. The agency noted that this "light echo" was reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh's masterpiece, Starry Night. Now, two Australian graduate students have mathematically analyzed the painting and concluded it shares the same turbulent features as molecular clouds (where literal stars are born). They described their work in a paper posted to the physics arXiv.

The notion that van Gogh's often troubled life was reflected in his work is not especially new. In a 2014 TED-Ed talk, Natalya St. Clair, a research associate at the Concord Consortium and coauthor of The Art of Mental Calculation, used Starry Night (1889) to illuminate the concept of turbulence in a flowing fluid. In particular, she talked about how van Gogh's technique allowed him (and other Impressionist painters) to represent the movement of light across water or in the twinkling of stars. We see this as a kind of shimmering effect, because the eye is more sensitive to changes in the intensity of light (a property called luminance) than to changes in color.

In physics, turbulence relates to strong, sudden movements within air or water, usually marked by eddies and vortices. Physicists have struggled for centuries to mathematically describe turbulence. It's still one of the great remaining challenges in the field. But a Russian physicist named Andrei Kolmogorov made considerable progress in the 1940s when he predicted there would be a mathematical connection (now known as Kolmogorov scaling) between how a flow's speed fluctuates over time and the rate at which it loses energy as friction.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Crap artists rejoice! MS Paint is getting a last-minute reprieve

Ars Technica - 3 hours 38 min ago

Enlarge / Who needs Aurich's artistic talents, anyway? (credit: Peter Bright)

Long, long ago, Microsoft quietly announced that it was going to remove the venerable mspaint.exe from Windows 10. The app was listed as deprecated, indicating intent to remove it in a future Windows 10 update, and the app itself was even updated to warn users that it was going to be removed from Windows in a future release.

Microsoft said that Paint would still be installable from the Store, but it was no longer going to be included by default. The app was even updated to include a "Product alert" button on its ribbon that, when clicked, showed a message box to warn that Paint would soon be moving to the Store. Paint's role would be filled by the new Paint 3D application, which contains most Paint features, as well as lots of 3D things.

But there's good news. The very latest builds of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update have removed the "Product alert" button, and Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc has confirmed that Paint will in fact continue to be shipped with Windows 10. You won't need to get it from the Store. As such, there will be nothing standing between Windows users and terrible artwork.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Millimeter-wave 5G isn’t for widespread coverage, Verizon admits

Ars Technica - 3 hours 52 min ago

Enlarge / A Verizon booth at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles in September 2018. (credit: Verizon)

Verizon's early rollout of millimeter-wave 5G is producing high speeds and throughput, but the high-frequency spectrum isn't suitable for widespread coverage, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said today.

One day after T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray wrote that millimeter-wave spectrum "will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments," wireless industry analyst Craig Moffett asked Vestberg about Ray's statement during a Verizon earnings call.

Vestberg responded that millimeter-wave spectrum "has lived up to our expectation on performance" and will get better as Verizon improves the software for managing the spectrum. But he added a significant caveat.

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Twitter shuts down 5,000 pro-Trump bots retweeting anti-Mueller report invective

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 10:10pm

Enlarge / The since-suspended account for the empty "news site" The Globus was at the center of a 5,000 bot Twitter army denouncing the Mueller campaign and posting pro-Trump (and pro-Saudi) messages. (credit: Twitter.com via Internet Archive)

Twitter has suspended over 5,000 accounts tied to a network amplifying a message denouncing the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a "RussiaGate hoax." According to a researcher, the accounts—most of which had only posted three or four times in the past—were connected to other accounts previously used to post pro-Saudi messages.

In response to an inquiry by Ars, a Twitter spokeswoman said, "We suspended a network of accounts and others associated with it for engaging in platform manipulation—a violation of the Twitter Rules." An investigation into the network is still ongoing, the spokeswoman said, but no determination has yet been made about who was behind the campaign.

"In cases such as this, attribution is difficult," the spokeswoman noted. "If we do have reasonable evidence to support state-backed activity, we will disclose the accounts as part of our information operations archive." (This archive is the data repository used to reveal operations of networks previously tied to election manipulation and other state-backed information operations.)

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Intel puts 8 cores, 16 threads, and a 5GHz turbo option in a laptop processor

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 9:30pm

Enlarge / An eight-core/16-thread Coffee Lake die. (credit: Intel)

The first processors to include Intel's ninth-generation Core branding came out last year with a limited line-up: just a handful of high-end desktop processors in the Coffee Lake family. Today, the company has unveiled a bumper crop of new ninth-gen chips. There's a set of H-series processors for laptops and a complete range of desktop processors across the Celeron, Pentium, and Core brands, from i3 all the way to i9.

The most exciting of these are the mobile H-series parts and in particular the top-of-the-line Core i9-9980HK. This is a 45W processor with eight cores, 16 threads, and 16MB of cache, with a base clock speed of 2.4GHz and a turbo speed of 5GHz. The "K" on the name also indicates that the chip is overclockable: for those truly monstrous gaming laptops with high-powered cooling systems, you'll be able to go beyond the default speeds. This chip, along with its close partner, the i9-9880H (8C/16T, 2.3-4.8GHz), has a new feature called "Thermal Velocity Boost," too. TVB allows the chip to run 100MHz quicker if it detects that the system still has thermal headroom to do so; as long as case temperatures are below 50°C, it'll give you some extra speed. In fact, TVB is the only way to hit 5GHz; without it, the maximum turbo speed drops to 4.9GHz.

The chip will be good for powerhouse mobile workstations, too; it supports up to 128GB RAM when used with the latest 32GB DDR4 modules, and it can be paired with a discrete GPU using its 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Intel has dubbed these powerhouse laptops as "musclebooks;" they'll be hefty desktop replacements and are likely to be outfitted with oversized cooling systems in order to more consistently reach the high clock speeds their processors are capable of. They won't come cheap, though; the i9-9980HK has a recommended price of $583 for the processor.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Listen up: We’ve detected our first marsquake

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 9:06pm

Enlarge / An artist's rendition of the InSight lander operating on the surface of Mars. The seismometer is in the foreground. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

After landing on Mars last November, the InSight probe first deployed a suite of meteorological equipment and then began to check the health of its science instruments. Following this, the NASA lander extended its French-made seismometer to the red planet's surface in December, then commissioned the instrument in early February.

InSight began listening. Finally, on April 6, the seismometer detected a weak but distinct seismic signal. It was, scientists concluded, a shaking of the ground coming from the interior of the world, not due to some external factor such as wind.

"We've been waiting months for our first marsquake," said Philippe Lognonné, the principal investigator for the seismometer mission, which was developed by the French space agency CNES. "It's so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active. We're looking forward to sharing detailed results once we've studied it more and modeled our data."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The OnePlus 7 (and 7 Pro) are launching May 14

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 7:24pm

OnePlus is gearing up to release a new smartphone, the OnePlus 7, and it has reached the point in its hype cycle where the company has started a slow drip of information every few days. The latest news is the launch date itself. OnePlus is holding a launch event May 14 in several cities, and the company is even selling tickets to the event to the general public.

For this year's flagship release, OnePlus is actually announcing two phones: the OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro. While a lot of companies release two phones with identical designs in two different sizes, that is not the case here. OnePlus is shipping two different phones with different designs.

We've already seen a bit of the OnePlus 7 Pro. We posted renders in March showing an all-screen OnePlus phone with a pop-up camera and three cameras. At the time, we called it the OnePlus 7, but this is actually the OnePlus 7 Pro.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Check out Batman’s and Marty McFly’s rides at the Petersen Museum

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 6:55pm

A new exhibition will open shortly at Los Angeles' wonderful Petersen Automotive Museum. It's called "Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy," and as the name suggests, it features the two- and four-wheel stars of movies and video games, most of which will be very familiar to anyone with a passing interest in depictions of dystopian futures or speculative fiction.

"'Hollywood Dream Machines’ will be the biggest exhibit of our 25th anniversary," said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. "With more than 40 vehicles from the silver screen spread across the museum, the exhibit is an ode to the industry that Los Angeles was built upon. We can’t wait to explore the fantasy and fictional concepts behind these extraordinary vehicles with the world."

Some of the featured vehicles will be more instantly recognizable than others. I'm sure everyone is familiar with Batmobiles and the time machine from Back to the Future. Others might be a little more obscure, like the Weyland Industries RT01 Group Transport from Prometheus, or Frankenstein's Corvette from Death Race 2000. And they aren't all from films, either. Halo's iconic Warthog will be on display, and along with the BTTF DeLorean, you can don a HoloLens to check it out in augmented reality.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Dealmaster: Save on a bunch of PC accessories in Amazon’s Gold Box sale

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 6:23pm

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a number of deals on PC gear and accessories over at Amazon, which has them all rounded up in its latest one-day Gold Box sale.

These aren't the highest-profile devices around, but the sale includes discounts on a number of storage solutions, gaming mice, PC building equipment, and networking gear. Highlights include $10 off the 2TB variant of Seagate's Backup Plus Slim portable hard drive, $70 off the 10TB version of WD's Elements desktop hard drive, the Destiny 2 version of Razer's DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse for $40, a version of Netgear's Orbi mesh Wi-Fi system for $200, and, if you want to splurge, a new low on AMD's high-end Ryzen Threadripper 2950X processor.

There's plenty more to peruse beyond that, with most items at or at least close to their cheapest prices on Amazon. If you're not interested in new PC gear, we also have deals on Dell's newest XPS 13 laptop (which we really liked), the acclaimed board game Gloomhaven (ditto), Anker's MFi-certified USB-C to Lightning cables, and much more. Have a look for yourself below.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google Wing drones approved for US home deliveries

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 6:18pm
Drone home delivery company Wing will start deliveries in rural Virginia "within months".

Google 'retaliating against harassment protest organisers'

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 6:01pm
Organisers of walkouts in protest at Google's treatment of women say they are facing backlash at work.

Election interference is 'online harm', MPs hear

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 5:58pm
The UK's information commissioner has strong words on the need for reform of political ads online.

Twitter shares surge 17% as users rise

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 5:20pm
The social media platform reports better-than-expected results as it plans to minimise "outrage".

Nintendo issues DMCA takedown for Super Mario Bros. Commodore 64 port

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 5:09pm

Enlarge / The Commodore 64 version of Super Mario Bros. that Nintendo doesn't want you to see!

Late last week, a retro computer developer going by the handle ZeroPaige culminated what he said was seven years of development on Super Mario Bros. 64, a complete and highly authentic port of the original NES side-scroller for the original Commodore 64 computer. The 109KB file is an incredible achievement, coded for a computer with a clock speed of around 1Mhz (about 55 percent of the NES' speed) that needs a bit of massaging to get smooth screen scrolling working at all.

Last night, though, Nintendo reportedly issued a DMCA notice for the game, leading to its removal from many hobbyist sites and upload services. "Due to a DMCA takedown notice we had to remove the Super Mario Bros. 64 download from our website blog post from 4 days ago," the Vancouver-based hobbyist group Commodore Computer Club tweeted last night. "Hopefully everyone enjoys the Commodore 64 game who was able to snag it."

The ROM file, which can be run on emulators and real C64 hardware, is still floating around online, if you know where to look. But the takedown notice continues Nintendo's long history of using legal muscle to stifle everything from ROM distribution sites and fangames to online emulators and even certain game mods based on its properties.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

AT&T’s fake 5G icons aren’t going away despite settlement with Sprint

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 4:33pm

Enlarge / A smartphone with AT&T's "5G E" network indicator. (credit: AT&T)

AT&T will reportedly get to keep using its misleading "5G E" marketing for its 4G network after settling a false advertising lawsuit filed by Sprint.

AT&T and Sprint met with US District Judge Vernon Broderick yesterday and informed him "that they had reached settlement in principle," Broderick wrote in an order paving the way for the case to be dismissed. Broderick ordered the carriers to "submit a stipulation of voluntary dismissal no later than April 24, 2019" or a joint letter on the status of their settlement talks if they aren't ready to dismiss the case yet.

For consumers, the key question is whether AT&T will keep using the misleading 5G E designation to describe large portions of its 4G LTE network. Multiple reports say that AT&T will be allowed to continue doing so.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple AI accused of leading to man's wrongful arrest

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 3:54pm
A man is suing Apple after claiming its in-store AI led to his arrest.

Russia may soon decommission the world’s most historic launch pad

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 3:02pm

Enlarge / A Soyuz rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2012. (credit: NASA)

Site no. 1 in dusty Baikonur, Kazakhstan, is where it all began. In October 1957, an R-7 missile launched the first satellite, Sputnik, into space. Less than four years later, Yuri Gagarin reached orbit from this launch pad, and the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, followed two years later.

Even today, all Russian, American, Canadian, European, and Japanese astronauts launch into space from Site no. 1—which is also known as Gagarin's Start—as it has been reconfigured for launches of the Soyuz FG rocket. But soon, that will change.

Russia has already moved its Progress cargo launches to the new Soyuz 2 rocket, and now, according to reports in that country, it will move crew launches as well to the newer rocket. In its most powerful configuration, the Soyuz 2.1b has a payload capacity of 8.2 tons to low-Earth orbit, in comparison to 6.9 tons with the Soyuz FG booster.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Sri Lanka attacks: The ban on social media

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 12:39pm
Is the ban a sign of things to come for social media firms unable to halt the spread of misinformation?

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