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Industry & Technology

Apple's Beats is on Tom Brady's side - CNET

cNET.com - News - 6 hours 36 min ago
Commentary: In an ad to coincide with the AFC Championship game, Beats features the New England Patriots quarterback being deaf to criticism.

An MMO goes full circle, promises to bring subscriptions back this year

Ars Technica - 6 hours 41 min ago

Enlarge / Starting sometime this year, you'll be able to pay up front to fake as any of Rift Prime's heroes. (credit: Trion)

The online game-subscription model has generally waned in recent years, overtaken by the popularity (and apparent profitability) of the "free-to-play" (F2P) paradigm. One of the earliest MMORPGs to switch to a F2P model, the Trion-published Rift, announced a curious change coming to its payment model: a branch-off of one Rift server, and its entire gameplay and payment structure, to return to the flat subscription model later this year.

As reported by Kotaku, the game's developers announced plans for this new version, dubbed Rift Prime, in a Friday blog post. The plan actually began life months earlier when Trion asked fans about the idea of a "challenge server" product—meaning, a version of the game that was harder and segregated interested players into their own, higher-difficulty pool of players. Fan response to the pitch went a different direction.

The players' "strongest cues," the devs write, revolved around "how to make the business model more appealing."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook shirks responsibility, says experts can't be trusted - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 10:06pm
Commentary: In asking Facebook's so-called community to decide which news sources are trustworthy, Mark Zuckerberg offers a truly disturbing rationale.

A randomly generated, totally novel enzyme rescues mutant bacteria

Ars Technica - January 20, 2018 - 9:30pm

Enlarge / Colorized scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coli (E. coli), grown in culture and adhered to a cover slip. (credit: NIAID / Flickr)

Proteins are chains of amino acids, and each link in the chain can hold any one of the 20 amino acids that life relies on. If you were to pick each link at random, the number of possible proteins ends up reaching astronomical levels pretty fast.

So how does life ever end up evolving entirely new genes? One lab has been answering that question by making its own proteins from scratch.

Way back in 2016, the same lab figured out that new, random proteins can perform essential functions. And those new proteins were really new. They were generated by scientists who made amino acid sequences at random and then kept any that folded into the stable helical structures commonly found in proteins. These proteins were then screened to see if any could rescue E. coli that were missing a gene essential to survival.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Astell & Kern’s music player supercharges headphone sound - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 8:47pm
This portable music player that delivers a bigger bang for your tunes.

Watch a pilot battle incredible winds to secure a landing - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 8:30pm
Commentary: At Dusseldorf airport in Germany, windy landings are a regular occurrence. This one, however, looks like it was especially fun.

The Vista Spark amp sounds better than it looks - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 7:47pm
Incredibly enough the Vista Spark is an awesome sounding, yet affordable amplifier.

A flaming superhero car and dieting trucks at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show

Ars Technica - January 20, 2018 - 3:00pm

Jonathan Gitlin

DETROIT—Once upon a time, the North American International Auto Show was a mighty thing indeed. The American auto industry ruled the world, and this was their home event with all the bells and whistles that implies. But the world has changed. For one thing, people can and do use the Internet to work out what car they're going to buy. And with the LA Auto Show, CES, and NAIAS in such close proximity to each other on the calendar, there just aren't enough new things to fill all three events. The take-home impression from NAIAS this year—hot on the heels of a mediocre CES—was of a lackluster performance with little in the way to stop one in their tracks.

Ford opened the events at the Cobo Center with a trio of new models that we covered early in the week. Mercedes-Benz had a new G-Class that looks almost identical to the 1979 model, an example of which could be seen embedded in synthetic amber outside the front doors. By midweek this nearly-50 ton act of corporate whimsy was roped off, riven by cracks thanks to the sub-freezing temperatures. BMW gave the i8 hybrid a mid-life bump, and Audi showed its new A7 on this continent for the first time.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

2019 Chevrolet Silverado chief engineer talks turkey with Tim Stevens - Roadshow

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 3:00pm
Tim Herrick, chief engineer for the 2019 Silverado, stopped by the Roadshow stage during the 2018 Detroit Auto Show to go over all the changes that his team made to the new truck.

First Martians board game makes a powerful case for staying on Earth

Ars Technica - January 20, 2018 - 2:00pm

Enlarge / The components are (generally) good quality. (credit: Owen Duffy)

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

For millennia, humans have been captivated by Mars. To the ancient Romans, the “red planet” represented the god of war, presiding over conquest and glory. To the 19th-century astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, it was a world connected by vast canals, evidence of an advanced civilization. Today, our cosmic neighbor is a place to be explored, analyzed, and understood; the prospect of setting foot on Martian soil seems tantalizingly close.

But if the board game First Martians is anything to go by, we shouldn’t bother. Mars doesn’t want us.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Trump's itchy Twitter thumbs have redefined politics - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 2:00pm
In the year since his election, Donald Trump has used Twitter as an official White House channel for everything from policies and praise to bullying and brinksmanship.

The secret's out for 'Star Trek: Discovery' star Shazad Latif - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 2:00pm
The actor who plays Lt. Ash Tyler reveals his most surreal -- and most painful -- acting moments as his character's big twist is finally revealed. Spoilers!

You won't believe Darrell's DIY football-themed home theater - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 2:00pm
Show Us Yours: Some people hire home installers. Darrell from Illinois hired himself to build his sports-tastic home-theater room. The results are pretty astounding.

Unlocked: The hidden love note on the grave of America's first crypto power-couple

The Register - January 20, 2018 - 9:58am
BAAAB AABBB AAAAA BAAAA AABAA ABBAB ABBAA BAAAA AABAA AAABB AAABB ABAAA BAABA

Shmoocon Among the 400,000 graves at the Arlington National Cemetery – a solemn US military graveyard in Virginia – lies the final resting place of cryptography pioneers William and Elizebeth Friedman.…

Cyber-coin crackdown continues: Commission charges couple crypto-currency company chiefs concerning 'conned' customers

The Register - January 20, 2018 - 3:00am
Crikey!

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is the latest financial watchdog to haul into court companies in the virtual currency space.…

Google CEO Sundar Pichai doesn't regret firing James Damore - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 2:32am
After accidentally turning Damore into a conservative hero, Google execs say the former employee violated company rules. Period.

NSA surveillance programs live on, in case you hadn't noticed - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 2:12am
Lawmakers renew spy programs that collect massive amounts of global communications with little fuss. Privacy advocates say secrecy led to limited debate.

Twitter says Russian propaganda more widespread than estimated - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 20, 2018 - 1:32am
The social network will email more than 600,000 users in the US who saw tweets from Russian-linked accounts during 2016 election.

Twitter begins emailing the 677,775 Americans who took Russian election bait [Updated]

Ars Technica - January 20, 2018 - 1:28am

Enlarge / Maybe Twitter should try this approach for the 677,775 emails it says it will soon send to affected users. (credit: Warner Bros. / Sam Machkovech)

On Friday, Twitter took an end-of-the-week opportunity to dump some better-late-than-never news onto its userbase. For anybody who followed or engaged with a Twitter account that faked like an American during the 2016 election season but was actually linked to a major Russian propaganda campaign, you're about to get an email.

Twitter announced that it would contact a massive number of users with that news: 677,775 users to be exact. This count includes those who interacted with the 3,814 accounts that Twitter has directly linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Russian troll farm whose election-related meddling was exposed in 2017.

That number of accounts, Twitter noted, is a jump from Twitter's prior count of 2,812 IRA-linked trolls, which it had disclosed as part of an October 2017 hearing in Congress. Twitter says that this specific pool of troll accounts generated 175,993 posts during the 2016 period of activity that Twitter has been analyzing, and the service noted that 8.4 percent of those posts were "election-related." In its Friday disclosure, Twitter did not take the opportunity to acknowledge how the remaining percentage of these posts, which included anything from "I'm a real person" idle banter to indirect and divisive messaging, may have ultimately contributed to the troll farm's impact. (For example: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey bit, and bit hard, on a known IRA account by retweeting two of its 2016 posts.)

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Twitter breaks bad news to 677,775 twits: You were duped by Russia

The Register - January 20, 2018 - 1:19am
Election manipulation wasn't as bad as feared – it was worse

Twitter says it will warn hundreds of thousands of tweeters who deliberately or inadvertently interacted with Kremlin bots during the 2016 US presidential election.…


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