Computers & Linux News

Why Neil Gaiman Finally Allowed 'The Sandman' to be Adapted for Netflix

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 21:35
Netflix's "Sandman" adaptation premiered Friday. But the 10-episode season required three years of writing, filming and editing (not to mention an imaginative cast including Mark Hamill as Mervyn Pumpkinhead and Patton Oswalt as the voice of Matthew the Raven). And Variety points out this followed a full 30 years of Neil Gaiman refusing to even allow an adaptation to happen. "Gaiman could have decided to let dreams of an adaptation of "The Sandman" die with the nightmare that was the most recent attempt: a feature film starring and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Warner Bros.' New Line, which fell apart in 2016..." So why did Gaiman try again? "In a lot of ways, it's the only question that we can ask," said Gaiman, who is executive producer and writer on the series, alongside David Goyer ("Batman Begins" and "Foundation") and showrunner Allan Heinberg ("Grey's Anatomy").... "[P]artly, it's accepting, well OK, if it's going to happen, why not make it good? "Sandman as a graphic novel series, as comics, was me getting to say things to the world that I believed. They were things about inclusivity. They were things about humanity. There were things about shared humanity. There were things about dreams and things about death. There were words of comfort and there were words of warning. And back then when I said them, they were important and I felt that they were true and I felt it was right to say them; including, you have your story and your story is important, and including, you get a lifetime. And those are the things I wanted to say. And I don't feel that any of those things are less important or less relevant now. And in fact, I feel in this sort of weird world in which sometimes I feel like people are fragmenting and forming into smaller and smaller groups and closing ranks and regarding anybody on the other side as the enemy, that people need to be reminded that standing next to them is somebody who contains a thousand worlds and every world is a door and through every door is somewhere that you've never dreamed of. And people are cooler under the surface than you would ever imagine. And I wanted to remind people of that. And then the third thing, which was, having made "Good Omens," I felt like I knew how to do this.... " Neil Gaiman answered questions from Slashdot readers in 2003 — and at time was already saying that the idea of a Sandman movie had "currently been taken out of the hands of the producers who've led it down the Road to Nowhere for the last 8 years." And Gaiman returned again in 2004 to answer more questions from Slashdot reader. As Roblimo wrote in 2004, "There is nothing better than a Slashdot interview with someone who not only reads and understands Slashdot but can out-troll the trolls."

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Should Baseball Teams Use Technology to Stop Sign-Stealing?

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 19:34
Professional baseball has a dirty secret, according to the New York Times. While a catcher may secretly signal for certain pitches using their fingers, "Multiple managers say there are clubs who use a dozen or more staff members to study video and swipe signs." But should that practice be stopped with technology? Adding cameras in every ballpark and video monitors in every clubhouse opened the door to an unintended consequence: electronic cheating. The 2017 Houston Astros brazenly stepped through that door, developing an elaborate sign-stealing system that helped them win a World Series. Two years later, when that system was revealed to the public, it resulted in firings, suspensions and, ultimately, the permanent tarnishing of a championship.... This season, Major League Baseball took a big leap forward in distancing itself from the stain of sign stealing with the introduction of PitchCom, a device controlled by a catcher that allows him to wordlessly communicate with the pitcher about what pitch is coming — information that is simultaneously shared with as many as three other players on the field through earpieces in the bands of their caps.... There have been a few hiccups, with devices not operating, or pitchers not being able to hear, but so far this season, everyone in baseball seems to agree that PitchCom, like it or not, is working. Carlos Correa, a shortstop for the Minnesota Twins who has long served as the unofficial, and unapologetic, spokesman of those 2017 Astros, went as far as saying that the tool would have foiled his old team's systemic cheating. "I think so," Correa said. "Because there are no signs now." Yet not all pitchers are on board. Max Scherzer, the ace of the New York Mets and baseball's highest-paid player this season, sampled PitchCom for the first time late last month in a game against the Yankees and emerged with conflicting thoughts. "It works," he said. "Does it help? Yes. But I also think it should be illegal." Scherzer went so far as to suggest that the game would be losing something by eliminating sign stealing. "It's part of baseball, trying to crack someone's signs," Scherzer said. "Does it have its desired intent that it cleans up the game a little bit?" he said of PitchCom. "Yes. But I also feel like it takes away part of the game." That comment was called "a little naive" and "a bit hypocritical" by a relief pitcher in Seattle, who also had this to say about Scherzer. "I have a very good feeling that he's been on a team or two that steals signs." For now, electronic pitch-signalling remains optional — and yet has been adopted by every one of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball, the article points out (attributing this to "a leaguewide paranoia".) And the League's executive vice president for baseball operations points out a second advantage. Since catchers don't need to run through a long series of decoy signals, "It has actually sped the game up a little bit."

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US Airlines Are Cancelling Thousands of Flights

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 18:34
1,975 flights were cancelled in the U.S. today. 2,919 flights were cancelled Friday. And 28,118 more flights were at least delayed. That's according to the flight tracking site FlightAware, which also showed another 1,248 flights cancelled Thursday, according to CNN. They note that America's "massive flight cancellations" started Thursday when "thunderstorms pounded major airports on the East Coast." Southwest Airlines canceled 370 flights, or 9% of its Thursday schedule. Southwest delayed another 1,800 flights, 46% of its Thursday schedule. "We are working through a variety of weather-related challenges that are affecting a number of our larger operations across the country this week," Southwest Airlines said in a statement on Friday... Airlines have been struggling with flight cancellations and delays this summer as they face staffing shortages, severe weather and air traffic control delays. US airlines have been preemptively trimming their schedules to ease air traffic disruptions, with American Airlines the latest to make cuts, particularly at its hub in Philadelphia. American Airlines had canceled more than 200 flights by Friday afternoon. Air traffic disruptions have been bad in Europe, too. London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol airports announced moves this week to curb congestion. Elsewhere CNN reports that there's a larger ongoing problem. "As global travelers return to the skies in droves after a pandemic-enforced pause, airlines and airports across the world are grappling to match supply with demand." When aviation ground to a halt in the early days of the pandemic, most airlines and airports either furloughed or laid off many ground and air workers. Many carriers operated a skeleton staff for the best part of the last two years. Now, travel demand is back, and the industry is struggling to catch up and rehire.... A spokesperson for Lufthansa said that the aviation industry as a whole is "suffering from bottlenecks and staff shortages, noticeable especially during peak periods." The post-pandemic travel boom was "expected — but not in this intensity," the Lufthansa spokesperson added.

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By Manufacturing Viral Videos, Magicians Made a Fortune on Facebook

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 17:23
Sociologist Ashley Mears know the secret to making viral videos on Facebook. "It's like a magic trick," one creator explains. Literally. "Many of the most successful people in the content-creation game on Facebook are magicians," Mears explains in a video. "I think that that's not such a surprise, because magicians are extremely skilled in manipulating people's attention, which is basically what the viral video economy does." Mears recently visited the "new creative elites," a group of creators regularly getting 100 million to 200 million views, which includes former jazz singer Anna Rothfuss and her magician boyfriend Justin Flom: Rothfuss and Flom are among the 180 video-makers (or "creators" in the industry's jargon) working with a Las Vegas magician called Rick Lax. They produce short videos timed to last the precise number of seconds that Facebook requires a clip to run to be eligible for an ad (this used to be three minutes but recently went down to one). Though the clips usually look like authentic user-generated material, all are scripted. Most fall into genres: diy, crafts, hazards, adultery and proposals. Lax manages his network like a cross between a Hollywood agent and a schoolteacher. He takes a slice of the ad revenue that creators earn. In exchange, he gives them online tutorials about how to make viral content: everything from how to hold the camera to which metrics matter to Facebook. He releases new instructions every time the algorithm changes substantially, and offers feedback on people's videos. He also posts his creators' videos on his own Facebook page, which has 14m followers.... A friend was making videos for Rick Lax, and invited Rothfuss to join in 2019. A year later she bought her first mansion. Entering the viral-content game involves a certain surrendering of artistic aspirations, but Rothfuss says she doesn't care. "I do not want to be famous," she says. "I love being low-key and flying under the radar, and just getting rich...." Lax realised that appetite for these videos was insatiable: the only obstacle to earning more money was how many clips he could make in a day.... Lax wouldn't go into details of his profit-sharing arrangement but his creators are clearly flourishing. Many told me they felt like they were taking part in a 21st-century gold rush. "This doesn't happen to that many people," says Amy Boiss, a one-time Uber driver whose magician boyfriend introduced her to Lax's network. "To make more money than neurosurgeons...." Lax and his friends got rich without anyone knowing who they are.... It's perhaps no coincidence that the two most-viewed Facebook creators in 2021, Lax and Julius Dein, both started out as magicians (as did many of their affiliates). Their videos aren't magic performances as such, but they're informed by the art of magic. "Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people's perception," wrote a former Google employee (and amateur magician) in an essay published on Medium in 2017, "How technology hijacks your mind". Social-media companies, wrote the author, "influence what people do without them even realising it", just as magicians do: "Once you know how to push people's buttons you can play them like a piano." Ironically, the creators end up driven by "the same dopamine rush they were exploiting in us," the article points out. "If you're looking at the data, you can actually see your earnings go up as people watch your work: making viral videos can be just as addictive as watching them." One of the magicians in Lax's network even says point-blank that "It feels like a drug."

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Best Apple AirTag Accessories - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 16:00
Looking for the best key ring or holder for your new AirTags? There are plenty of options, starting at well under $20.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 Rumors: Possible Amazon Leak Reveals Foldable Phone Details - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 15:40
The Galaxy Z Fold 4's screens may have been detailed on an Amazon listing.

War in Ukraine Brings Explosions at Europe's Largest Nuclear Plant

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 15:34
For months international experts worried about "a sprawling nuclear power plant on the banks of Dnipro River in southern Ukraine," reports CNN. "Then, on Friday, explosions rang out at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex, the biggest of its kind in Europe, reigniting fears of a potential disaster." Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of shelling the plant, which was taken over by Russian forces in early March, along with the town of Enerhodar, where the complex is located. CNN was unable to verify claims of damage at the plant, which occupies a large site. Much of the recent Russian fire in the area has originated from near the plant and it is unclear if parts of the nuclear facility were hit accidentally.... The Russian defense ministry added that the generating capacity of one unit at the plant had been reduced, and power supply to another cut.... When fierce fighting first broke out near the facility in the early days of the war, it sparked fears of a nuclear incident and prompted condemnations from the international community. Russian troops forced its managers to work "at gunpoint" after seizing the plant on March 5, according to Ukrainian nuclear officials. A week later, the Kremlin sent officials and technicians from Russia's state nuclear agency to help conduct repairs and manage the facility. Ukrainian and Russian staff have been working alongside each other since, and communication with the outside world has been intermittent. Ukraine's state-run nuclear power operator, Energoatom, said Friday that Russian shelling had hit in and around the nuclear complex and damaged a water intake facility, cutting power and water to much of Enerhodar. "Three hits were recorded directly at the site of the station," the Ukrainian agency said, claiming that one was "near one of the power units where the nuclear reactor is located...." Energoatom said on Saturday that the plant was operational and Ukrainian staff at the station continued to work to ensure radiation safety. Ukrainian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the incident. Tuesday the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency warned that the plant "is completely out of control," adding "Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated.... What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely grave and dangerous." But CNN adds that "Other officials have been more measured, pointing to the fact that recent nuclear energy facilities are designed to withstand terrorist attacks and natural disasters. "Several Western and Ukrainian officials believe that Russia is now using the giant nuclear facility as a fortress to protect their troops and stage attacks, because they assume Kyiv will not retaliate and risk a crisis."

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Rumors: Faster Charger, Updated Design - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 15:28
Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 might get its reveal at the August Unpacked event.

US Funds Consortium to Explore Cheaper, More Efficienct CdTe Solar Cells

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 14:34
The largest funder of clean energy in America is its federal Department of Energy. And the second-most common photovoltaic technology in the world (after silicon) is cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells. So this week the U.S. Department of Energy announced an initiative to improve them, aspiring to make CdTe cells "less expensive, more efficient and develop new markets for solar cell products." Without strengthened domestic manufacturing capacity, the U.S. will continue to rely on clean energy imports, exposing the nation to supply chain vulnerabilities while simultaneously losing out on the enormous job opportunities associated with the energy transition. The Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium's efforts to spur technological advancements will increase America's competitiveness, bolster domestic innovation, and support clean electricity deployment supporting President Biden's goal of achieving a net-zero economy by 2050.... To achieve these goals, the team has a broad research plan that includes CdTe doping strategies, characterizing and exploring new CdTe contacting materials, and work to enable a bifacial CdTe module that absorbs light from the front and back of the module. DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will administer the consortium, whose leaders were chosen through a competitive solicitation NREL released last year. The consortium will be led by the University of Toledo, First Solar, Colorado State University, Toledo Solar Inc., and Sivananthan Laboratories, Inc. NREL will serve as a resource, support, and technical analysis center as the consortium develops a technology roadmap, conducts research to meet targets set within the roadmap, and regularly assesses the domestic CdTe supply chain for challenges and opportunities. Specific goals on the consoritum's web site include: Enable cell efficiencies above 24% and module costs below $0.20/W by 2025 Enable cell efficiencies above 26% and module costs below $0.15/W by 2030 Maintain or increase domestic CdTe PV material and module production through 2030.

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Biden Tests Negative for COVID After 'Rebound' Case - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 14:31
His physician says Biden feels fine but that he'll continue to isolate pending a second negative test.

Best Power Bank for iPhone for 2022 - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 14:00
Looking for a pocket-size power bank for iPhone charging on the go? Here are some top picks.

There Were 19 New GNU Releases Last Month

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 13:34
"Nineteen new GNU releases in the last month," reads a "July GNU Spotlight" announcement from the Free Software Foundation. Here's (edited and condensed) descriptions of some of the highlights: GNU Datamash (version 1.8) — a command-line program performing basic numeric, textual, and statistical operations on input textual data files (designed to work within standard pipelines). GNUnet (version 0.17.2) — a framework for secure peer-to-peer networking. "The high-level goal is to provide a strong foundation of free software for a global, distributed network that provides security and privacy. GNUnet in that sense aims to replace the current internet protocol stack. Along with an application for secure publication of files, it has grown to include all kinds of basic applications for the foundation of a GNU internet." GnuTLS (version 3.7.7) — A secure communications library implementing the SSL, TLS and DTLS protocols, provided in the form of a C library. Jami (version 20220726.1515.da8d1da) — a GNU package for universal communication that respects the freedom and privacy of its users, using distributed hash tables for establishing communication. ("This avoids keeping centralized registries of users and storing personal data.") LibreJS (version 7.21.0) — an add-on for GNU Icecat and other Firefox-based browsers that detects non-trivial and non-free JavaScript code from being loaded without your consent when you browse the web. "JavaScript code that is free or trivial is allowed to be loaded." GNU Nettle (version 3.8.1) — a low-level cryptographic library. It is designed to fit in easily in almost any context. It can be easily included in cryptographic toolkits for object-oriented languages or in applications themselves. GNU Octave (version 7.2.0) — a high-level interpreted language specialized for numerical computations, for both linear and non-linear applications and with great support for visualizing results. R (version 4.2.1) — a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics, along with robust support for producing publication-quality data plots. "A large amount of 3rd-party packages are available, greatly increasing its breadth and scope." TRAMP (version 2.5.3) — a GNU Emacs package allowing you to access files on remote machines as though they were local files. "This includes editing files, performing version control tasks and modifying directory contents with dired. Access is performed via ssh, rsh, rlogin, telnet or other similar methods." Click here to see the other new releases and download information. The FSF announcement adds that "A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance."

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A Russian Military Satellite Appears to Be Stalking a New US Spy Satellite

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 12:34
When a U.S. satellite passed over Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome, a Russian satellite was launched close behind it "with capabilities unknown," reports the Drive, adding that it's now "getting suspiciously close..." Russia has launched satellite 14F150 Nivelir into orbit under a mission dubbed Kosmos-2558, and its current orbital path could soon place it in close proximity to what is reported to be the spy satellite designated USA-326. Unconfirmed rumors that the asset will serve as an 'inspector' satellite to covertly spy on nearby spacecraft have begun to circulate online following the launch and would line up with Russia's known on-orbit anti-satellite weapons capabilities and developments. Its exact purpose is unknown at present, but it has been described as an "inspector" satellite, a term that is often associated with so-called "killer satellites...." Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics, or @planet4589 on Twitter, has noted that Kosmos-2558's current orbital path will soon place it within 80 km of what is believed to be the USA 326 satellite. For reference, the Center for Astrophysics is a collaborative effort run jointly by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Harvard College Observatory.... USA-326 was launched in February of this year by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket out of Vandenberg Space Force Base, its mission designated NROL-87, which is a classified national security operation led by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in partnership with SpaceX. A press release shared by the NRO following the initial launch claimed that NROL-87 was designed, built, and now operated by the NRO to support its "overhead reconnaissance mission," which is largely centered around protecting national security through the exploitation of space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 for sharing the story.

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Dear Gen Z, Here's How to Be OK When a Recession Hits - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 12:00
Five millennials share the most important financial and career lessons they learned during the Great Recession.

Save up to 36% on Hiboy Electric Scooters - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 11:37
Get rolling with budget friendly electric scooters and more during Amazon's one-day sale.

Samsung Finally Starts Selling Parts for Smartphone Repairs at Home. Sort of

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 11:34
This week Samsung said customers can finally start buying replacement screens, rear glass and charging ports for home repairs from repair resource site iFixit, as well as from Samsung's Experience stores across the country, according to the Washington Post. But their article warns that for now the program is limited to just "a handful of higher-end models" like the Galaxy S20 and S21 series smartphones. ("We plan to expand to more models as the program matures," said a Samsung spokesperson.) You can't, for example, buy just a screen to replace a broken one in your Galaxy phone. Instead, Samsung says you must purchase an entire screen "assembly," which includes the display itself, the metal frame that surrounds it and another battery. Essentially, that means replacing the entire front of the phone and then some. That also means that, for the time being, Samsung doesn't have a way for you to purchase a genuine battery on its own to replace the one that isn't holding a long-charge or bloating — a common issue in devices that are used and charged regularly. The Samsung spokesperson told The Washington Post that "additional parts will be added as the program ramps up," though co-founder and CEO Kyle Wiens says iFixit will continue to sell third-party replacement batteries.... And we're not kidding about how fiddly these guides can be: according to iFixit, the process of replacing a Galaxy S20's screen assembly requires 41 steps, and that doesn't include putting the phone back together.

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Capture Everything With This Discounted Beginner Drone -- Just $85 Right Now - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 11:01
Save up to $35 off this budget-friendly, easy-to-use drone and capture everything in high definition.

This Time Machine Takes You Back to When Phones Were a Shared Experience - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 11:00
Commentary: A St. Louis museum shows that back in the day, the same phone might be used by many people. It gave me newfound appreciation for the smartphone.

Grab Factory Reconditioned Amazon Fire TVs Starting at $245 - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-06 10:44
This one-day deal can help you revamp your entertainment space for less with 50-, 55- and 65-inch smart TVs.

After Backlash, GitLab U-Turns on Deleting Dormant Projects

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-06 10:34
"GitLab has reversed its decision to automatically delete projects that are inactive for more than a year and belong to its free-tier users," reports the Register. Thursday GitLab tweeted: "We discussed internally what to do with inactive repositories. We reached a decision to move unused repos to object storage. Once implemented, they will still be accessible but take a bit longer to access after a long period of inactivity." But the Register says they've seen internal documents from "well-placed sources" showing that GitLab had originally "hoped the move would save it up to $1 million a year and help make its SaaS business sustainable." And the company had spent a long time preparing for such a move: Documents we have seen gave staff notice of an internal meeting scheduled for August 9. The agenda for the meeting lays out the plan to delete dormant code repositories... Other internal documents seen by The Register mention the possible use of object storage to archive projects but express concerns that doing so would increase GitLab's costs by creating a need for multiple redundant backups. We have also seen internal discussions confirming the automation code to delete inactive projects was completed by the end of July, and was ready to roll out after months of debate and development work. One of our sources told us [Thursday] that it was online pressure, led by The Register's reporting, that forced a dramatic rethink at the GitHub rival. Word of the deletion policy as a money-saving exercise sparked fury on Twitter and Reddit. On GitLab's Twitter feed Thursday, someone raised an interesting point about GitLab's new promise to move inactive repos into object storage. "Wait, does 'inactive' mean repositories that have no new commits? Or only those without new commits AND without read access by cloning / fetching?" And GitLab's CEO/co-founder Sid Sijbrandij replied, "We're not sure yet. Probably all write operations would keep a project active, creating an issue, a merge request, pushing changes to a branch, etc. We might also keep it active as long as people are doing read operations such as cloning, forking, etc." Friday Sijbrandij tweeted this status update: "Archived projects is a user activated state that signals intent. We're not sure yet but very likely the storage type used is orthogonal to that. Our current plan for object storage would keep the repos visible to everyone."

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