The LG G8 Has a Vibrating OLED Screen For a Speaker

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LG’s next upcoming flagship smartphone is the LG G8, which is expected to debut at Mobile World Congress at the end of the month. While much of the phone is similar to last year’s model, LG yesterday announced some news on the phone’s audio capabilities. “The phone uses the same ‘Crystal Sound OLED’ branding that LG has used on some of its TVs before; this means that the entire display will vibrate to work as a speaker, which was previously rumored,” reports The Verge. “The news also confirms that the G8 will be the first flagship G-series phone not to use an LCD.” From the report: The G8 still has a bottom-facing speaker for louder use cases like speakerphone calls, and LG says this can be paired with the top part of the screen for 2-channel stereo sound. Elsewhere, the signature quad DAC from LG’s recent flagship phones returns — which means there’ll be a headphone jack — as does the “Boombox Speaker” functionality that produces surprisingly bassy sound when the phone is placed on a table. LG has already confirmed that the G8 will have a front-facing 3D camera with a time-of-flight sensor, while rumors suggest there could be an optional second screen accessory.

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The Moto G7 Lineup Offers Bigger Screens and Smaller Bezels On a Budget

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Motorola is releasing three versions of the Moto G7 this year: the G7, the G7 Power, and the G7 Play (a fourth, more powerful G7 Plus model will also be released internationally). These new devices offer slimmer bezels, bigger displays, and larger batteries than their predecessors. The Verge reports: [T]he $299 G7 (not to be confused with LG’s G7 ThinQ) is the top-of-the-line model, with a 6.2-inch Gorilla Glass display that features a 2270 x 1080 resolution and a more subtle teardrop notch. The G7 also has more RAM (4GB), and more internal storage (64GB) than its siblings, along with a dual-camera setup on the back that offers a 12-megapixel main lens along with a 5-megapixel depth sensor for a better portrait mode experience (the other G7 phones will have a software-based portrait mode instead). The G7 also supports Motorola’s 15W TurboPower charging spec, which promises nine hours of battery life from a 15-minute charge.

The next phone in the lineup, the $249 G7 Power, may not offer the same level of premium upgrades as the G7, but it does offer an intriguing feature that its pricier counterpart doesn’t: a massive 5,000mAh battery that Motorola promises should last for up to three days, besting the 3,000mAh battery in the G7 by a considerable amount (it also supports Motorola’s TurboPower charging). The G7 Power also features a 6.2-inch display, but at a lower 1520 x 720 resolution and with a larger notch, and only a single 12-megapixel camera on the back. It also drops down to 3GB of RAM and a base storage of 32GB, and is a bit bulkier than the main G7 — but if sheer battery life is your goal, it seems like the G7 Power will be tough to beat. Lastly, there’s the $199 G7 Play, the smallest and cheapest model in the 2019 Moto G lineup. There are more cuts here: a smaller 5.7-inch 1512 x 720 display with an even larger notch than the G7 Power, a cheaper plastic case, and just 2GB of RAM. All three devices will feature Qualcomm’s mid-tier Snapdragon 632 processor, Android 9.0 Pie, 8-megapixel front-facing cameras, charge via USB-C, and offer rear-mounted fingerprint sensors. Lastly, the 3.5mm headphone jack is still included on all three models. Motorola is promising a release date sometime in the spring for both the U.S. and Canada.

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AMD Radeon VII Graphics Card Launched, Benchmarks Versus NVIDIA GeForce RTX

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MojoKid writes: AMD officially launched its new Radeon VII flagship graphics card today, based on the company’s 7nm second-generation Vega architecture. In addition to core GPU optimizations, Radeon VII provides 2X the graphics memory at 16GB and 2.1X the memory bandwidth at a full 1TB/s, compared to AMD’s previous generation Radeon RX Vega 64. The move to 7nm allowed AMD to shrink the Vega 20 GPU die down to 331 square millimeters. This shrink and the subsequent silicon die area saving is what allowed them to add an additional two stacks of HBM2 memory and increase the high-bandwidth cache (frame buffer) capacity to 16GB. The GPU on board the Radeon VII has 60CUs and a total of 3,840 active stream processors with a board power TDP of 300 Watts. As you might expect, it’s a beast in the benchmarks that’s able to pull ahead of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 in spots but ultimately lands somewhere in between the performance of an RTX 2070 and 2080 overall. AMD Radeon VII cards will be available in a matter of days at an MSRP of $699 with custom boards from third-party partners showing up shortly as well.

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Meizu Unveils a Smartphone That Does Not Have Any Port, or a SIM Card Slot, or a Button, or Speaker Grill

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Phone maker Meizu has announced a new phone called “Zero,” which doesn’t have a headphone jack, or a charging port, or a physical SIM card slot, or any buttons, or a speaker grill. From a report: It doesn’t even come with a SIM card slot and buttons you’d usually see on a phone — the only elements that disturb the surface of its all-display, 7.8mm-thick ceramic unibody are its 12MP and 20MP rear cameras and two pinholes. One is a microphone, while the other is for hard resets. To make up for the lack of ports, Meizu Zero will support Bluetooth 5.0 and a wireless USB connectivity that will reportedly be able to transfer files as fast as the USB 3.0 standard can.

Zero’s 5.99-inch QHD OLED screen will act as some sort of a giant speaker and earpiece replacement. It does have a big enough bezel for a 20MP front camera, but its fingerprint reader is completely on-screen. The device, which is powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor, relies on 18W wireless charging due to the lack of a charger port. And it may not have the usual physical buttons, but it does have pressure-sensing ones with haptic feedback on its borders.

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Taking the Smarts Out of Smart TVs Would Make Them More Expensive

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In a wide-ranging interview, Nilay Patel of The Verge speaks with Bill Baxter, chief technology officer of Vizio, about what the company thinks of some TV vendors adding support for Apple’s AirPlay 2, and other things. A remarkable exchange on the business of data collection and selling: Nilay Patel: I guess I have a philosophical question. You guys are committed to low price points and you often beat the industry at those price points. Can you hit those price points without the additional data collection that TV does if you don’t have an ad business or a data business on top of the TV?
Bill Baxter: So that’s a great question. Actually, we should have a beer and have a long, long chat about that. So look, it’s not just about data collection. It’s about post-purchase monetization of the TV. This is a cutthroat industry. It’s a 6-percent margin industry, right? I mean, you know it’s pretty ruthless. You could say it’s self-inflicted, or you could say there’s a greater strategy going on here, and there is. The greater strategy is I really don’t need to make money off of the TV. I need to cover my cost.

And then I need to make money off those TVs. They live in households for 6.9 years — the average lifetime of a Vizio TV is 6.9 years. You would probably be amazed at the number of people come up to me saying, “I love Vizio TVs, I have one” and it’s 11 years old. I’m like, “Dude, that’s not even full HD, that’s 720p.” But they do last a long time and our strategy — you’ve seen this with all of our software upgrades including AirPlay 2 and HomeKit — is that we want to make things backward compatible to those TVs. So we’re continuing to invest in those older TVs to bring them up to feature level comparison with the new TVs when there’s no hardware limitation that would otherwise prevent that.

And the reason why we do that is there are ways to monetize that TV and data is one, but not only the only one. It’s sort of like a business of singles and doubles, it’s not home runs, right? You make a little money here, a little money there. You sell some movies, you sell some TV shows, you sell some ads, you know. It’s not really that different than The Verge website.

Patel: One sort of Verge-nerd meme that I hear in our comments or on Twitter is “I just want a dumb TV. I just want a panel with no smarts and I’ll figure it out on my own.” But it sounds like that lifetime monetization problem would prevent you from just making a dumb panel that you can sell to somebody.
Baxter: Well, it wouldn’t prevent us, to be honest with you. What it would do is, we’d collect a little bit more margin at retail to offset it. Again, it may be an aspirational goal to not have high margins on our TV business because I can make it up downstream. On the other hand, I’m actually aggregating that monetization across a large number of users, some of which opt out. It’s a blended revenue model where, in the end, Vizio succeeds, but you know, it’s not wholly dependent on things like data collection.

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NVIDIA Launches $349 GeForce RTX 2060, Will Support Other Adaptive Sync Monitors

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MojoKid writes from a report via Hot Hardware: NVIDIA launched a new, more reasonably-priced GeForce RTX card today, dubbed the GeForce RTX 2060. The new midrange graphics card will list for $349 and pack all the same features as NVIDIA’s higher-end GeForce RTX 2080 and 2070 series cards. The card is also somewhat shorter than other RTX 20-series cards at only 9.5″ (including the case bracket), and its GPU has a few functional blocks disabled. Although it’s packing a TU106 like the 2070, six Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs) have been disabled, along with 20% of its Tensor and RT cores. All told, the RTX 2060 has 1,920 active CUDA cores, with 240 Tensor cores, and 30 RT cores. Although the GeForce RTX 2060 seems like the next-gen cousin to the 1060, the RTX 2060 is significantly more powerful and more in line with the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and GTX 1080 in terms of raw performance in the benchmarks. It can also play ray-tracing enabled games like Battlefield V with decent frame rates at 1080p with high image quality and max ray-tracing enabled. NVIDIA has also apparently decided to support open standards-based adaptive refresh rate monitor technology and will soon begin supporting even AMD FreeSync monitors in future driver update.

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‘Two Years Later, I Still Miss the Headphone Port’

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An anonymous reader shares a column: I’ve been trying to figure out why the removal of the headphone port bugs me more than other ports that have been unceremoniously killed off, and I think it’s because the headphone port almost always only made me happy. Using the headphone port meant listening to my favorite album, or using a free minute to catch the latest episode of a show, or passing an earbud to a friend to share some new tune. It enabled happy moments and never got in the way.

Now every time I want to use my headphones, I just find myself annoyed. Bluetooth? Whoops, forgot to charge them. Or whoops, they’re trying to pair with my laptop even though my laptop is turned off and in my backpack. Dongle? Whoops, left it on my other pair of headphones at work. Or whoops, it fell off somewhere, and now I’ve got to go buy another one. I’ll just buy a bunch of dongles, and put them on all my headphones! I’ll keep extras in my bag for when I need to borrow a pair of headphones. That’s just like five dongles at this point, problem solved! Oh, wait: now I want to listen to music while I fall asleep, but also charge my phone so it’s not dead in the morning. That’s a different, more expensive splitter dongle (many of which, I’ve found, are poorly made garbage).

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How Google Software Won 2018

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Google is relatively new to the hardware game — at least compared to rivals Apple and Samsung. But it’s not just what’s outside that matters. An analysis, by Engadget : The Pixel 3 is the best example. Physically, the phone is a more premium version of the Pixel 2. But aside from that, nothing about the Pixel 3’s design makes me yearn for the phone. In fact, the 3 XL even has one of the biggest screen notches in the market, which some people find hideous. And yet, the Pixel 3s were still one of our favorite phones of the year, and ended up on our best gadgets list. But if you can stomach the notch, or don’t mind using the smaller phone, then boy, will you be blown away by Google’s software. Let’s start with my favorite — Call Screening.

On the Pixels, you can have Assistant field calls for you without having to answer the phone or even say a single word. It’s easy to dismiss this feature as simply a glorified voice messaging system, but it’s so much more than that. Assistant will ask your caller what they want, transcribe what they’re saying in real time and suggest actions for you. Say you realize it’s your doctor calling. You could ask them more questions, dictate a real time reply, or use a preset action like hang up or promise to call back. Can your voicemail do that? I don’t think so.

[…] Nowhere is the importance of software exemplified as effectively as it is in Google’s imaging algorithms, which are so powerful they helped the Pixel 3 nab the smartphone camera crown in our tests. Not only can the phones capture clear, colorful pictures with just a single rear camera, but the Pixels produced the nicest Portrait mode effects using pure software alone. And with the magical Night Sight mode, Google easily kicked Apple and Samsung’s butts in low light photography, turning dark, noisy pictures into shots that look like they were taken in daytime. […]

Counter-point: DxOMark’s Pixel 3 camera score shows AI isn’t enough.

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Could You Live Without a Smartphone For a Year?

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shanen writes about Vitaminwater’s latest “publicity stunt,” where they will pay $100,000 to one select contestant who can live without their smartphone for a year: All you have to do is come up with the most amusing entry [about how you will spend 365 days without the device] and have sufficient willpower to give up your smartphone for a year. They obviously have to pick a power user to make it interesting, but that’s not the reason I’m disqualified. I would just read more books, which is boring from their perspective. So maybe you want to share your idea here? If it’s really good, you don’t have to worry about someone stealing it. After all, you’d have the evidence that it was your idea first, but you might be able to refine your entry while amusing the mob. The company will reportedly give you a 1996 cellphone to use in times of emergencies. Also, they will reward you with $10,000 if you are able to get through 6 months. According to Tech Times, contestants can use computers or desktops, “but not smartphones or tablets, even those owned by other people, or anything which the candidate can scroll or swipe on.” Always-listening smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, are permitted. To make sure the candidate doesn’t cheat, Vitaminwater will subject them to a lie-detector test at the end of the year.

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Nintendo Warns It Won’t Make More Retro NES and SNES Consoles

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Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime warned that the NES Classic and SNES Classic will sell in the Americas through the holidays, but will be “gone” once they sell out. Engadget reports: If you want to walk down memory lane after that, you’ll have to take advantage of the games that come with Switch Online. You might also want to tamp down your hopes for a Nintendo 64 Classic. Fils-Aime added that the existing systems are the “extent of our classic program.” That wouldn’t be completely surprising given that the N64 was considerably more complex than its predecessor. The executive likewise ruled out additional games for the mini NES and SNES models.

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New LG Gram is the Lightest 17-inch Laptop Ever at Just 3 Pounds

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LG has unveiled two new laptops in its Gram lineup in advance of CES in Las Vegas next month, and the Gram 17 looks like a stunner. LaptopMag: It weighs just 3 pounds, which is crazy light for a notebook with a 17-inch display. That’s the same weight as the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. A typical 17-inch laptop weighs 6 to 6.5 pounds, so getting such a big screen in such a lightweight package is definitely no small feat.

Does that mean the specs skimpy? Nope. LG says the 15 x 10.5 x 0.7-inch Gram 17 packs a 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8565U, up to 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. (There’s also a slot for an additional SSD). The Gram 17’s 72W battery is rated for up to 19.5 hours of usage, which we will obviously put to the test once we get our hands on the laptop. Other highlights include a sharp 2560 x 1600 pixel display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, a fingerprint reader and a chassis that’s rated MIL-STD-810G for durability. LG’s website lists a suggested price of $1,699.99 for the LG Gram 17.

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Electron and the Decline of Native Apps

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SwiftOnSecurity, regarding Microsoft’s switch to Chromium as Windows’s built-in rendering engine: This isn’t about Chrome. This is about ElectronJS. Microsoft thinks EdgeHTML cannot get to drop-in feature-parity with Chromium to replace it in Electron apps, whose duplication is becoming a significant performance drain. They want to single-instance Electron with their own fork. Electron is a cancer murdering both macOS and Windows as it proliferates. Microsoft must offer a drop-in version with native optimizations to improve performance and resource utilization. This is the end of desktop applications. There’s nowhere but JavaScript.

John Gruber of DaringFireball: I don’t share the depth of their pessimism regarding native apps, but Electron is without question a scourge. I think the Mac will prove more resilient than Windows, because the Mac is the platform that attracts people who care. But I worry. In some ways, the worst thing that ever happened to the Mac is that it got so much more popular a decade ago. In theory, that should have been nothing but good news for the platform — more users means more attention from developers. The more Mac users there are, the more Mac apps we should see.

The problem is, the users who really care about good native apps — users who know HIG violations when they see them, who care about performance, who care about Mac apps being right — were mostly already on the Mac. A lot of newer Mac users either don’t know or don’t care about what makes for a good Mac app.

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Microsoft’s Surface Roadmap Reportedly Includes Ambient Computing and a Modular All-in-One PC

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Journalist Brad Sams is releasing a book chronicling the company’s Surface brand: Beneath a Surface. VentureBeat writes: While you’ll want to read all 26 chapters to get the juicy details, the last one includes Microsoft’s hardware roadmap for 2019, and even a part of 2020 — spanning various Surface products and even a little Xbox. Here’s a quick rundown of Microsoft’s current Surface lineup plans:

Spring 2019: A new type of Surface-branded ambient computing device designed to address “some of the common frustrations of using a smartphone,” but that isn’t itself a smartphone.
Q4 2019: Surface Pro refresh with USB-C (finally), smaller bezels, rounded corners, and new color options.
Q4 2019: AMD-based Surface Laptop — Microsoft is exploring using the Picasso architecture.
Late 2019: Microsoft’s foldable tablet Andromeda could be larger than earlier small form factor prototypes for a pocketable device with dual screens and LTE connectivity.
Q1 2020: Surface Book update that might include new hinge designs (high-end performance parts may delay availability).
2020: A Surface monitor, and the modular design debuted for Surface Hub 2 could make its way to Surface Studio. The idea is to bring simple upgrades to all-in-one PCs, rather than having to replace the whole computer. GeekWire adds: A pair of new lower-cost devices Xbox One S devices could come next year. Sams reports that one of the models may be all digital, without a disc drive.

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Does Switching Jobs Make You a Worse Programmer?

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Slashdot reader theodp shares some thoughts from Virginia-based cloud architect Forrest Brazeal, who believes that switching jobs or teams makes you — at least temporarily — a worse programmer:
“When you do take a new job,” Brazeal writes, “everybody else will know things you don’t know. You’ll expend an enormous amount of time and mental energy just trying to keep up. This is usually called ‘the learning curve’. The unstated assumption is that you must add new knowledge on top of the existing base of knowledge you brought from your previous job in order to succeed in the new environment.
“But that’s not really what’s happening. After all, some of your new coworkers have never worked at any other company. You have way more experience than they do. Why are they more effective than you right now? Because, for the moment, your old experience doesn’t matter. You don’t just need to add knowledge; you need to replace a wide body of experiences that became irrelevant when you turned in your notice at the old job. To put it another way: if you visualize your entire career arc as one giant learning curve, the places where you change jobs are marked by switchbacks.”
He concludes, “I’m not saying you shouldn’t switch jobs. Just remember that you can’t expect to be the same person in the new cubicle. Your value is only partly based on your own knowledge and ingenuity. It’s also wrapped up in the connections you’ve made inside your team: your ability to help others, their shared understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and who knows what else. You will have to figure out new paths of communication in the new organization, build new backlogs of code references pertaining to your new projects, and find new mentors who can help you continue to grow. You will have to become a different programmer.
“There is no guarantee you will be a better one.”
This seems counter-intuitive to me — but what do Slashdot’s readers think? Does switching jobs make you a worse programmer?

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Ask Slashdot: What Kind of Keyboard Do You Use With Your Computer and Why?

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An anonymous reader writes: Hello all. I am looking to buy a good mechanical keyboard for my everyday usage — programming and writing. I see some good offers on certain keyboards — thanks to Black Friday deals. Just this week, Razer launched what looks like a good mechanical keyboard for people who are looking for a budget gear. One of the issues I have come across looking for a good keyboard is how most of them are designed for Windows OS by default. (I know you can customize keys, but.) Slashdot has run keyboard discussion posts in the past — the best laptop with best keyboard, greatest keyboard ever made, and quest to find a good keyboard , but I don’t see any recent story on this. I was curious to know what kind of keyboard you use and why did you choose the one you have?

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Mid-Range Google ‘Pixel 3 Lite’ Leaks With Snapdragon 670, Headphone Jack

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The first alleged images of the rumored “budget” Pixel 3 have been leaked. The Pixel 3 Lite, as it is being called, looks very similar to the Pixel 3, although it features a plastic build construction, slower processor, and a headphone jack. 9to5Google reports: Just like the standard Pixel 3, there’s a display that’s roughly 5.56-inches in size, but this time it’s an IPS LCD panel at 2220×1080 rather than an OLED panel. Obviously, there’s also no notch to be seen on this alleged Pixel 3 Lite. There’s a single front-facing camera as well as one speaker above that display, relatively thick bezels on the top and bottom, and a speaker along the bottom of the device as well.

Perhaps most interesting when it comes to the hardware, though, is that there’s a headphone jack on the top of the phone. That’s certainly unexpected since the Pixel 2 dropped the jack and Google hasn’t looked back since. Tests from Rozetked reveal some of the specifications running this device as well. That includes a Snapdragon 670 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. Previous reports have pointed to a Snapdragon 710. Battery capacity on this device is also reported at 2915 mAh and there’s a USB-C port along the bottom. It is rumored to include the same 12MP and 8MP cameras found in the standard Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, which will be a huge selling point for the affordable phone market. The price is expected to be around $400-500.

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A New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ Has Arrived With Bluetooth 4.2 and Dual-Band Wi-Fi For $25

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Raspberry Pi has introduced a new version of one of its most popular models just in time to stuff your stocking: the Model A+. And this time around, it’s even more attractive. From a report: The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ costs $25, $5 more than the previous generation, but has a lot more going for it. Just like the top-of-the-line Model B+, the new Model A+ has a 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core processor, and you’ll also get dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz + 5 GHz), a feature that was missing from the previous A+. And you’ll have to use it, since the A+ doesn’t have an Ethernet port. It does, however, have Bluetooth 4.2 on board. For $10 less than the $35 Model B+, you’ll also only get a single USB port (versus four on the B+) as well as 512MB of RAM (versus 1GB on the B+). But otherwise, the devices are identical, with a full-size HDMI port, CSI camera port, DSI display port, stereo output and composite video port, and a micro SD port. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ isn’t the cheapest Pi model available — the Zero costs $5 and the Zero W costs just $10 — but it rounds out the options nicely. The new model is available now through Raspberry Pi retailers.

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What Does It Take To Keep a Classic IBM 1401 Mainframe Alive?

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“Think your vintage computer hardware is old?” writes long-time Slashdot reader corrosive_nf. “Ken Shirriff, Robert Garne, and their associates probably have you beat.

“The IBM 1401 was introduced in 1959, and these guys are keeping one alive in a computer museum… [T]he volunteers have to go digging through historical archives and do some detective work to figure out solutions to pretty much anything!”

Many things that we take for granted are done very differently in old computers. For instance, the IBM 1401 uses 6-bit characters, not bytes. It used decimal memory addressing, not binary. It’s also interesting how much people could accomplish with limited resources, running a Fortran compiler on the 1401 with just 8K of memory. Finally, working on the 1401 has given them a deeper understanding of how computers really work. It’s not a black box; you can see the individual transistors that are performing operations and each ferrite core that stores a bit.
“It’s a way of keeping history alive,” says one of the volunteers at Silicon Valley’s Computer History museum. “For museum visitors, seeing the IBM 1401 in operation gives them a feeling for what computers were like in the 1960s, the full experience of punching data onto cards and then seeing and hearing the system processing cards….
“So far, things are breaking slowly enough that we can keep up, so it’s more of a challenge than an annoyance.”

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Samsung Will Put Notches On Its Future Phones

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Samsung is one of the biggest smartphone makers to hold off on releasing smartphones with display notches. But at the company’s developer conference today, Samsung confirmed that it’s soon going to join in on the trend. “A slide during the keynote showed several notch designs that are almost certainly coming to Samsung-branded devices in 2019 and beyond,” reports The Verge. From the report: Hassan Anjum, a director of product marketing at Samsung, took the stage to highlight Samsung’s previous breakthroughs in reducing bezels and maximizing display size year after year. “We’re going to keep going. The bezels are going to shrink even further,” Anjum said. “We’re going to push the limits with our new lineup: the Infinity U, V, and O displays. These are new concepts that are just around the corner, and I can’t wait to tell you more about them.” Infinity U: This basically looks identical to the Essential Phone’s notch design. It’s a small half oval that cuts down into the top middle of the display.
Infinity V: Similar to Infinity U, but with four edges instead of a curved half-oval.
Infinity O: This is a full circular cutout of the display and not so much a “notch” the top edge of the screen. Still, it seems like an eyesore and it’s hard to imagine reaction to this being very positive. What’s gained by that little area of display above it? Asus seems to be exploring a similar idea for its ZenFone 6, and feedback has been overwhelmingly bad.
New Infinity: This looks to be a completely notchless display. Anjum didn’t discuss this one onstage, and the technology isn’t quite there to allow for this design just yet. That said, Samsung could be exploring the idea of a slider phone that would house the selfie camera and other components somewhere outside their usual location.

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Mac Mini Receives First Overhaul in Four Years; New iPad Pro With No Home Button Announced

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Apple is turning its attention to a range of devices it has not upgraded in recent years. Alongside the new MacBook Air that the company unveiled on Tuesday, it is also upgrading the Mac Mini for the first time in four years, and also has a new iPad Pro in the offering. Regarding the new Mac Mini: It has Intel’s 8th generation processors — in four- and six-core i7, i5, and i3 flavors — and 60 percent faster graphics. The processor’s paired with up to 64GB of RAM (8GB comes on standard) at 2666MHz and up to 2TB of SSD storage — double the capacity of previous Mac Minis. Overall, it’s up to 5 times faster than the previous-gen models, Apple claims, and can drive 4K and 5K Thunderbolt displays and output in three formats. In terms of ports, there’s plenty to go around: two USB-A, HDMI 2.0 video, four Thunderbolt USB-C, an audio out port, and a Gigbabit Ethernet port (you can add up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, if you so choose). Also onboard is Apple’s T2 chip. It’s a 64-bit ARMv8 chip — a variant of Apple’s A10 — that runs Apple’s custom BridgeOS 2.0 operating system (an Apple watch derivative). The new Mac Mini starts at $799. Regarding the new iPad Pro: After months of rumors, Apple has today announced a completely redesigned iPad Pro with slimmed-down bezels, Face ID, a USB-C port, and far more powerful specs than its predecessor. Just like prior years, the new iPad Pro comes in two screen sizes: 11-inch and 12.9-inch. The 11-inch model has essentially the same proportions as the prior 10.5-inch model. And the 12.9-inch model puts the same-sized display into a much smaller form factor. The new iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 11-inch and $999 for the 12.9-inch. Preorders begin today and it ships November 7th. The new Pro is the company’s first iPad not to include a home button, which allowed Apple to extend the screen vertically for a much more immersive experience. The bezels have been downsized on all four sides. […] But something else has been removed, too: the headphone jack. There’s no 3.5mm port visible on any of the device’s sides, meaning that buyers will need a USB-C-to-headphone dongle to listen to music through wired headphones. The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799. The 12.9-inch version starts at $999. It goes on sale today and ships on November 7.

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