The limits of language

OSNews - sze, 2015-09-02 10:47
The best class I took in college was on the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Until that point, I had avoided philosophy of language as simply being too esoteric and hermetic to be of use. David Pears, a prodigious yet modest and approachable figure visiting from Oxford, changed my mind. In large part because of Pears' instruction, Wittgenstein's philosophy has been directly relevant to my thinking about computer science, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science. When other scholars were thinking that language and thought could be reduced to a universal, logical language, Wittgenstein turned the matter to practical questions and raised incredibly inconvenient questions that gained traction in artificial intelligence in the 1970s, 40 years after he was working on them. Great article. I found this paragraph especially interesting: Here's one example. The French equivalents for here and there are ici and là respectively. But if I point to a pen and say, "The pen is here," the French equivalent is not "Le stylo est ici," but "Le stylo est là." In French, là is always used to refer to a specific place or position, while in English here or there can both work. This rule is so obscure I never learned it in French classes, but obviously all native speakers learn it because no one ever uses it differently. It could just as easily be the other way round, but it's not. The situation is not arbitrary, but the way in which language carves up the interaction between mind and world varies in such a way that French speakers recognize certain practices as right or wrong in a different way than English speakers do. This may seem a trivial point, until you have to program a computer to translate "I pointed to Paris on the map and said, 'She is here.' " into French - at which point it becomes a nightmare. (If you are a translator, on the other hand, this is great news.) Aside from the obvious fact that I can relate to the remark about translators, the author touches upon something that I benefit from every day. I always feel that being multilingual (just Dutch, English, German, some French, and a basic grasp of ancient Greek and Latin - relatively limited when compared to true multilinguals) makes it easier for me to express myself. Being able to use words, concepts, ideas, structures, and conventions from foreign languages and incorporate them into my Dutch - even if only in my inner monologue - allows me to describe objects, concepts, and situations in a more fine-grained, and therefore, more accurate manner (accurate to my perception, which does not mean "more correct" in more absolute terms). I appreciate how ridiculously pretentious this sounds, but I do firmly believe this is true: being able to understand, read, write, and speak multiple language makes me better at language. I'm no programmer - something I like to repeat as often as I can to make sure everyone knows where I'm coming from on the subject of programming - but I get the idea that programming is not very different in that regard. That is, being able to program in multiple programming languages will make you better at programming, and not just in the sense that you will be useful in more situations (you can find a job both as a Java and an Objective-C programmer, for instance), but also in the sense that knowledge and experience in programming language Abc will give you new and different insights into programming language Xyz, allowing you to use a certain language in more unconventional ways that people with knowledge of fewer languages might not. As much as language is an expression of culture, a programming language is an expression of how a computer works. Both contain within them invaluable knowledge that cannot be easily expressed in other languages - and as such, they are invaluable in preserving knowledge, both culturally and digitally.
Kategóriák: Napi hírek

Nextbit's Robin is an Android phone that never runs out of storage

OSNews - sze, 2015-09-02 10:09
Nextbit, a company founded by former Android engineers from Google, HTC, and others, has unveiled its first smartphone. The Robin has a pretty unique and fun design, but the major selling point - they claim - is that the phone intelligently manages its limited storage by offloading lesser-used or unused stuff (content and applications) to the internet. An interesting strategy in the current climate of privacy wariness - especially since these more boutique Android phones tend to be for technologically inclined users, who will be more aware of these issues. One also has to wonder how well this will work and how reliable it'll be, considering the company's young age. As for specifications: Speaking of hardware, the Robin is a uniquely designed mid-range Android phone. Nextbit tapped former HTC designer Scott Croyle as its head of design in 2014, and set out to make a phone that stands out among the sea of similar looking phones. The result is a device that's starkly rectangular, but with circular details throughout. The Robin's all-plastic chassis houses a 5.2-inch, 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 2,680mAh battery, and 13-megapixel camera. Unique additions include a USB Type-C charging port and fingerprint scanner embedded into the side-mounted power button. The Robin is completely carrier and bootloader unlocked and is compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile LTE. Decidedly midrange for a phone that's on Kickstarter right now and will (supposedly) ship in January.
Kategóriák: Napi hírek

Visual updates to Search and Now cards

OSNews - sze, 2015-09-02 09:57
The web and tech journalists were all afire yesterday. A major new innovation? A brand new software release? Nope - Google has a new logo. Yeah. That's the hard-hitting tech news deserving of totally unbiased and very unpredictable hot takes. There was actually real Google news too - the company made some changes to how search is displayed on mobile. With mobile devices in mind, we've also made some changes to our search results page to help you more easily find what you need and dive into diverse content such as images, videos, news stories and more - by simply swiping and tapping.
Kategóriák: Napi hírek

Native EFI Bootloader Support for OpenBSD

OpenBSD Journal - sze, 2015-09-02 09:45
As the j2k15 hackathon comes to a close, OpenBSD gets its very own native EFI bootloader.

On Twitter, Yojiro UO (yuo@-san) posted a list of systems tested and working with the new bootloader.

result: UEFI/Openbsd tested on VAIO Fit15A, VAIO Z, VAIO Z Canvas, minnow board max, lenovo E145, NEC Lavie LX750. all of them work fine.

— Yojiro UO (@yojiro) September 2, 2015

As you can see, a number of EFI-only systems are now successfully booting OpenBSD.

And as seen on twitter Yasuoka@-san posted a little teaser with the dmesg from an EFI-only MinnowBoard

Kategóriák: *BSD

Microsoft, Google, Amazon, others, aim for royalty-free codecs

OSNews - sze, 2015-09-02 09:30
Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Cisco, Intel, Netflix, and Amazon today launched a new consortium, the Alliance for Open Media. The group plans to develop next-generation media formats - including audio and still images, but with video as the top priority - and deliver them as royalty-free open source, suitable for both commercial and noncommercial content. The problem is that the supposed next-generation codec, HVEC, is going to be a lot more expensive, whereas other initiatives, such as Google's VP9/VP10, would surely face patent trolling from the other major players. By coming together like this, all these players can have a say, without fear of them suing each other. That being said, smaller players will still want to sue, but at least the united front should make that a little harder. And, unsurprisingly, one major player is not part of this new initiative. I guess they didn't like the open and royalty-free part.
Kategóriák: Napi hírek

LLVM 3.7 released

Linux Weekly News - sze, 2015-09-02 08:03
Version 3.7 of the LLVM compiler suite is out. "This release contains the work of the LLVM community over the past six months: full OpenMP 3.1 support (behind a flag), the On Request Compilation (ORC) JIT API, a new backend for Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF), Control Flow Integrity checking, as well as improved optimizations, new Clang warnings, many bug fixes, and more." See the release notes for LLVM and Clang for details.
Kategóriák: Linux

Running Linux Mint 17.2 Xfce

LinuxToday - sze, 2015-09-02 07:30
Kategóriák: Linux

08/27 Ubuntu Kylin 15.10-beta1

DistroWatch - sze, 2015-09-02 02:00
Kategóriák: Stuff

Linux and Unix dig Command Examples

LinuxToday - k, 2015-09-01 23:30
Kategóriák: Linux

OpenBSD 5.8's third song announced

OpenBSD Journal - k, 2015-09-01 21:27
The third of the expected four OpenBSD 5.8 release songs, A Year in the Life, has been released.

The song is available in mp3 and ogg formats, with lyrics mainly about the LibreSSL story (remember this?), but as the song notes point out,

The pattern of LibreSSL development is a pattern that has repeated itself many times in OpenBSD -- a decision is made by a few people to do something, followed by action, and letting the world share it if they like it (such as with OpenSSH).

Bob Beck's full announcement reads:


Kategóriák: *BSD

Microsoft, Google, Amazon, others, aim for royalty-free video codecs (Ars Technica)

Linux Weekly News - k, 2015-09-01 20:49
Ars Technica reports that Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Cisco, Intel, Netflix, and Amazon have launched a new consortium, the Alliance for Open Media. "The Alliance for Open Media would put an end to this problem [of patent licenses and royalties]. The group's first aim is to produce a video codec that's a meaningful improvement on HEVC. Many of the members already have their own work on next-generation codecs; Cisco has Thor, Mozilla has been working on Daala, and Google on VP9 and VP10. Daala and Thor are both also under consideration by the IETF's netvc working group, which is similarly trying to assemble a royalty-free video codec."
Kategóriák: Linux

First Update to LibreOffice 5 Lands

LinuxToday - k, 2015-09-01 19:30
Kategóriák: Linux

Tuesday's security advisories

Linux Weekly News - k, 2015-09-01 18:36

Fedora has updated qemu (F21: multiple vulnerabilities).

Oracle has updated gdk-pixbuf2 (OL7; OL6: code execution), jakarta-taglibs-standard (OL7; OL6: code execution), and nss-softokn (OL7; OL6: signature forgery).

Red Hat has updated nss-softokn (RHEL6,7: signature forgery) and pcs (RHEL6,7: privilege escalation).

Ubuntu has updated expat (15.04, 14.04, 12.04: denial of service) and gnutls28 (15.04: two vulnerabilities).

Kategóriák: Linux

India is milliárdos büntetést szabhat ki a Google-ra

HWSW - k, 2015-09-01 17:45
Az Indiai Versenyügyi Bizottság szerint a keresőóriás ott is évek óta visszaél dominanciájával. Ha az ügyben végül a Google alulmarad, akár 5,6 milliárd dolláros bírságot is kaphat.

Kategóriák: Napi hírek