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Comic for March 21, 2019

Dilbert - March 22, 2019 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Scientists think they’ve solved one mystery of Easter Island’s statues

Ars Technica - 1 hour 31 min ago

Enlarge / Moai statues in a row, Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island, Chile. (credit: De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images)

Chile's Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is famous for its giant monumental statues, called moai, built by early inhabitants some 800 years ago. The islanders likely chose the statues' locations based on the availability of fresh water sources, according to a recent paper in PLOS One.

Scholars have puzzled over the moai on Easter Island for decades, pondering their cultural significance, as well as how a Stone Age culture managed to carve and transport statues weighing as much as 92 tons. They were typically mounted on platforms called ahu. According to co-author Carl Lipo, an anthropologist at Binghamton University, you can have ahu (platforms) without moai (statues) and moai without ahu, usually along the roads leading to ahu; they were likely being transported and never got to their destination.

Back in 2012, Lipo and his colleague, Terry Hunt of the University of Arizona, showed that you could transport a ten-foot, five-ton moai a few hundred yards with just 18 people and three strong ropes by employing a rocking motion. Last year Lipo proposed an intriguing hypothesis for how the islanders placed red hats on top of some moai; those can weigh up to 13 tons. He suggested the inhabitants used ropes to roll the hats up a ramp.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google tries to reassure gamers about Stadia speed and latency concerns

Ars Technica - 1 hour 45 min ago

SAN FRANCISCO—Google's Phil Harrison tells Ars that Stadia game streaming should provide a smooth, full-resolution experience on Internet connections above a threshold of 20 to 30mbps, a level that should allow for "hundreds of millions of potential players in the markets that we're talking about."

While the company set a threshold of 25mbps for its beta testing late last year, Harrison told Ars that "in actual fact, we only use an average of 20mbps; it obviously bounces up and down depending on the scene." Since that beta, Harrison said infrastructure and codec improvements "now allow us to get up to 4K resolution [at 60 frames per second] within about 30mbps. So we saw a dramatic increase in quality between then and now without a significant increase in bandwidth."

Even at that threshold, Harrison acknowledges that "I know [Stadia] won't reach everybody [and] I respect that some people will be frustrated by that. But I suspect that some of those people don't get a great YouTube experience, they might get a good Netflix experience today. The good news is the Internet continues to grow in quality and reach. So there is a bit of a rising tide that lifts all boats, with 5G potentially helping that equation in the future. That's a little bit over the horizon today, but it's I think going to come into view pretty quickly."

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

'Cancel Brexit' petition passes 1m signatures on Parliament site

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 51 min ago
A call to revoke Article 50 generates the fastest ever rate of signatures on Parliament's website.

T-Mobile’s $50 home Internet service has no data cap, but plenty of limits

Ars Technica - 2 hours 7 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

T-Mobile today said it is starting "an invitation-only pilot for in-home Internet service on LTE" and will connect up to 50,000 homes this year in rural and underserved parts of the country. It will cost $50 a month.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said his company plans to "take the fight to Big Cable on behalf of consumers and offer real choice, competition and savings to Americans nationwide.”

Invitations for the home service will go out this week by email and US mail to current T-Mobile wireless customers in "select areas," which T-Mobile did not identify in its announcement.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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