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Industry & Technology

Woman shocked over details on 'revenge porn' site

BBC Technology News - 11 hours 4 min ago
Becky's discovery led thousands of other women to find their information had been posted.

'I slept in a Silicon Valley cupboard for months'

BBC Technology News - 11 hours 9 min ago
Entrepreneur Mathias Mikkelsen was so desperate to get into a 'hacker house' he slept in a closet.

Should children watch toy unboxing videos?

BBC Technology News - 11 hours 9 min ago
Millions of kids are watching toy unboxing videos in the run-up to Christmas. Should parents be concerned?

Diana Prince reunites with her long-lost love in first Wonder Woman 1984 trailer

Ars Technica - 11 hours 39 min ago

Gal Gadot reprises her role as everyone's favorite Amazonian demigod in Wonder Woman 1984.

Diana Prince faces off against two new formidable foes, and reunites with an old love, in the hotly anticipated first trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, with Gal Gadot reprising her titular role. Director Patty Jenkins unveiled the trailer today at Comic Con Experience (CCXP) in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Inspired by the comic book heroine created by William Moulton Marston in the 1940s for DC Comics, Wonder Woman made her big screen debut in the DCEU with 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, followed by 2017's Justice League. The first fell short of box office expectations; the second bombed outright. So when Jenkins took on Wonder Woman's origin story, she deliberately departed from the grim humorlessness and dark sensibility of those earlier films, bringing a brighter energy and wit to her tale, along with the usual action. That vision paid off: Wonder Woman went on to gross $821 million worldwide, and earned critical raves, making it the most successful of the DCEU films thus far.

Jenkins first broached the possibility of a sequel shortly after the first film's release in June 2017, and principal photography began a year later. It has been described as a standalone film rather than a direct sequel, "in the same way that Indiana Jones or [James] Bond are, instead of one continuous story that requires many installments." (That standalone strategy worked well for Warner Bros'  2019 box office smash Joker, which became the first R-rated film to gross over $1 billion worldwide.)

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The physics behind how fire ants band together into robust floating “rafts”

Ars Technica - December 8, 2019 - 10:29pm

Enlarge / A spinning fire ant raft in David Hu's biolocomotion lab at Georgia Tech is an example of collective behavior. (credit: Hungtang Ko)

Fire ants can survive floods by linking their bodies together to form large floating rafts. Now researchers at Georgia Tech have demonstrated that fire ants can actively sense changes in forces acting upon the raft under different fluid conditions and adapt their behavior accordingly to preserve the raft's stability. Hungtang Ko described their work at a meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics, held in Seattle just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Fire ants (and ants in general) provide a textbook example of collective behavior. A few ants spaced well apart behave like individual ants. But pack enough of them closely together, and they behave more like a single unit, exhibiting both solid and liquid properties. You can pour them from a teapot like a fluid, or they can link together to build towers or floating rafts—a handy survival skill when, say, a hurricane floods Houston. They also excel at regulating their own traffic flow.

Any single ant has a certain amount of hydrophobia—the ability to repel water—and this property is intensified when they link together, weaving their bodies much like a waterproof fabric. They gather up any eggs, make their way to the surface via their tunnels in the nest, and as the flood waters rise, they’ll chomp down on each other’s bodies with their mandibles and claws, until a flat raft-like structure forms, with each ant behaving like an individual molecule in a material—say, grains of sand in a sand pile. And they can do this in less than 100 seconds. Plus, the ant-raft is “self-healing”: it’s robust enough that if it loses an ant here and there, the overall structure can stay stable and intact, even for months at a time. In short, the ant raft is a super-organism.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

General Election 2019: Has your local Facebook group been hijacked by politics?

BBC Technology News - December 8, 2019 - 5:45pm
Up and down the UK, moderators are grappling with an upsurge in political debate.

3D printing can keep aging Air Force aircraft flying

Ars Technica - December 8, 2019 - 5:10pm

Enlarge / USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortress taking-off with undercarriage retracting and trailing-edge wing flaps lowered at the 1998 Fairford Royal International Air Tattoo RIAT. (credit: aviationimages.com | Getty)

Glenn House and his colleagues spent more than four years making a new toilet for the B-1 Lancer. The challenge wasn't fitting the john into the cockpit (it went behind the front left seat) but ensuring that every part could handle life aboard a plane that can pull five Gs, break the sound barrier, and spend hours in wildly fluctuating temperatures. The end result didn't just have to work. It had to work without rattling, leaking, or revealing itself to enemy radar. Getting it OK'd for use aboard the bomber was just as complex as making it. "Getting a part approved can take years," says House, the cofounder and president of Walpole, Massachusetts-based 2Is Inc.

Until last year, 2Is was in the military parts business, furnishing replacement bits for assorted defense equipment. (Pronounced "two eyes," it sold off the parts business and now focuses on defense-related supply-chain software.) Providing spare parts for the military is a peculiar niche of the economy. Things like aircraft and submarines spend decades in service, and the companies that made them or supplied their myriad parts often disappear long before their products retire. So when something needs a new knob, seat, or potty, the military often turns to companies that specialize in making them anew.

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A nebbishy bank teller discovers he’s trapped in a video game in Free Guy

Ars Technica - December 7, 2019 - 11:47pm

Ryan Reynolds stars in Free Guy.

A lowly bank teller discovers he's actually a non playable character in an open-world video game in Free Guy, a forthcoming film from 20th Century Fox. Director Shawn Levy debuted the first trailer this weekend at the 2019 Comic Con Experience (CCXP) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, describing it as "a superhero origin story except without the tights, powers, or pre-existing IP," according to Deadline Hollywood. Stars Ryan Reynolds and Joe Keery (Steve Harrington on Stranger Things) were also on hand for the event.

Per the official synopsis, Free Guy is about "a bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game, decides to become the hero of his own story…one he rewrites himself. Now in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way…before it is too late."

The trailer opens with cheery bank teller Guy (Reynolds) waking up and heading to work. He remains completely unfazed as he encounters all manner of bizarre occurrences en route: shootouts, explosions, a guy with a flame-thrower, and his pal Joe getting thrown through a storefront window. ("Whoa-ho! Mondays! Amirite, Joe?")

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Bernie Sanders vows to break up huge ISPs and regulate broadband prices

Ars Technica - December 7, 2019 - 10:07pm

Enlarge / Bernie Sanders speaks to the Organic Farmers Association on December 05, 2019 in Story City, Iowa. (credit: Getty Images | Win McNamee )

Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders yesterday released a plan to overhaul the US broadband market by breaking up giant providers, outlawing data caps, regulating broadband prices, and providing $150 billion to build publicly owned networks.

"The Internet as we know it was developed by taxpayer-funded research, using taxpayer-funded grants in taxpayer-funded labs," the Sanders plan said. "Our tax dollars built the Internet, and access to it should be a public good for all, not another price-gouging profit machine for Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon."

If enacted, Sanders' "High-Speed Internet for All" plan would be the polar opposite of the Trump administration's treatment of broadband companies and far more aggressive than the regulatory approach of the Obama administration. Sanders pledged to "use existing antitrust authority to break up Internet service provider and cable monopolies," specifically by "bar[ring] service providers from also providing content and unwind anticompetitive vertical conglomerates."

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The Aeronauts brings the joy and perils of Victorian ballooning to vivid life

Ars Technica - December 7, 2019 - 9:37pm

Enlarge / Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star in The Aeronauts. (credit: Amazon Studios)

Just in time for the holiday season, Amazon Studios has released The Aeronauts, a soaring historical adventure film about the perils faced by a Victorian scientist and a balloonist attempting to fly higher than anyone before them. Granted, the characters might be a bit thinly drawn when it comes to emotional depth, and the earth-bound first act is solid, if unremarkable, period drama. However, once the film (literally) gets off the ground, it blossoms into a gripping, thoroughly entertaining epic tale of survival at punishing altitudes. Above all, the film looks spectacular; every frame is practically a canvas, painted in vibrant, almost Disney-esque hues.

(Some spoilers below.)

The Aeronauts is a fictionalized account of a historic balloon flight by pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher. He and his pilot, Henry Coxwell, made several balloon flights to measure the temperature and humidity of the upper atmosphere between 1862 and 1866. Armed with scientific instruments and bottles of brandy, Glaisher and Coxwell set a world-altitude record, reaching an estimated 38,999 feet (11,887 meters) on September 5, 1862. They were the first men to reach the atmospheric stratosphere, and they did it without the benefit of oxygen tanks, pressure suits, or a pressurized cabin.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Review: Horrified is a terrific family-friendly monster-themed board game

Ars Technica - December 7, 2019 - 5:48pm

Enlarge

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

Some folks use "family game" as a pejorative. Not me. For one thing, I happen to like my family. More importantly, as a player and critic of board games, it is my holy duty to introduce as many games as possible to my family. In the cardboard eschaton, all games shall be family games, because families will play anything and everything together.

With that very important disclaimer out of the way, it's now time to announce that Prospero Hall's Horrified is my favorite family game of the year.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

No one knows why rocks are exploding from asteroid Bennu

Ars Technica - December 7, 2019 - 3:42pm

Enlarge / A composite image of a short and long exposure photograph of Bennu showing the largest particle ejection on January 6, 2019. (credit: NASA | Goddard | University of Arizona | Lockheed Martin)

For the last year, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been circling a large asteroid named Bennu that regularly passes uncomfortably close to Earth. The spacecraft has been painstakingly mapping the asteroid's rocky surface using a suite of cameras and other instruments that will help it determine where to land next year. Once NASA selects a final landing site, OSIRIS-REx will kiss Bennu just long enough to scoop up a sample to bring back to Earth in 2023.

Many scientists expect the Bennu sample to revolutionize our understanding of asteroids, especially those that are near Earth and pose the greatest threat from space to life as we know it. But as detailed in a paper published this week in Science, NASA has already started making surprising discoveries around this alien world. Earlier this year, the OSIRIS-REx team witnessed particles exploding from the asteroid's surface—and the team's not sure why.

"No one has ever seen an active asteroid up close like this," says Carl Hergenrother, an astronomer at the University of Arizona and the scientist who proposed Bennu as the target for OSIRIS-REx. "It wasn't that long ago that the conventional wisdom was that asteroids are these dead bodies that didn't change very much."

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

General election 2019: Reddit says UK-US trade talks document leak 'linked to Russia'

BBC Technology News - December 7, 2019 - 2:24pm
Jeremy Corbyn claimed the papers proved "the NHS is for sale" when he highlighted them at a press conference.

Floor pavements in Pompeii illustrate surveying technology

Ars Technica - December 7, 2019 - 1:00pm

Enlarge (credit: L. FERRO, G MAGLI, M. OSANNA)

Decorative pavements in the floor of a recently unearthed Roman house in Pompeii offer a glimpse into the life and work of an ancient land surveyor. The pavements depict a stylized drawing of an ancient surveyor’s tool called a groma, along with a diagram of a surveying technique and the plan of a construction project in Pompeii. So far, they’re the only original Roman illustrations of the tools and techniques the Romans used to help build an empire and its infrastructure.

The land surveyor’s house

Only a few metal fragments of a Roman groma exist today (also recovered from Pompeii), and archaeologists have found only a few images carved into surveyors’ tombstones. Otherwise, we know the tool only from descriptions in medieval versions of ancient Roman surveying manuals.

The newly unearthed pavements at Pompeii suggest that those medieval copies were pretty close to the original ancient texts. An image on the floor of the entrance hall is nearly identical to illustrations in medieval copies of Roman texts, attributed to Roman surveyor Hygius and famed architect Vitruvius.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

'How smart home tech helps me live independently'

BBC Technology News - December 7, 2019 - 2:06am
Specially designed tech is allowing Adam, who has Down's syndrome, to live without in-home carers.

NHS e-health systems 'risk patient safety'

BBC Technology News - December 7, 2019 - 1:26am
The use 21 separate electronic record systems in NHS hospitals across England 'could lead to errors'.

General election 2019: Labour pledges to electrify England's bus fleet

BBC Technology News - December 7, 2019 - 1:15am
It wants to electrify England's buses by 2030, but the Tories say Labour would "scrap vital new roads".

Sweden's Ericsson to pay over $1bn to settle US corruption probe

BBC Technology News - December 7, 2019 - 1:12am
The telecoms giant has agreed to pay to resolve bribery allegations, the US justice department says.

Elon Musk wins defamation case over 'pedo guy' tweet about caver

BBC Technology News - December 7, 2019 - 12:55am
Tesla's founder did not defame a UK caver who helped in the Thai cave rescue, a US jury finds.

Jury sides with Elon Musk in “pedo guy” defamation case

Ars Technica - December 7, 2019 - 12:29am

Enlarge / Elon Musk leaves a Los Angeles federal court on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. (credit: Apu Gomes/Getty Images)

A Los Angeles federal jury has found Elon Musk not liable for defamation in a lawsuit brought by British caver Vernon Unsworth. Musk dubbed Unsworth a "pedo guy" in a tweet last year but argued in court that he meant this as a generic insult—not as an accusation that Unsworth was a pedophile.

"My faith in humanity is restored," Musk reportedly said on his way out of court.

Musk and Unsworth have been trading insults since last July, when Unsworth mocked a miniature submarine SpaceX engineers created to help rescue a dozen boys trapped in a cave in Thailand (it didn't arrive in time to be useful). In an interview with CNN, Unsworth said that Musk should "stick his submarine where it hurts."

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