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How dinosaurs were born to be big: Their biology ‘was skewed towards giant species’

Posted on Dec 21, 2012

  • Palaeontologists had thought size distribution among dinosaurs was similar to modern animals
  • New findings shed light on the differences in life in the age of the dinosaurs and now

By Damien Gayle

|

The biology of dinosaurs explains why there were more giant species among the prehistoric animals than are found among modern vertebrates, a paper published yesterday claims.

Researchers say that dinosaurs were not only the largest animals to roam the Earth – they also had a greater number of larger species compared to all other back-boned animals.

Their findings shed light on how different life was on Earth during the age of the dinosaurs.

A T-rex at the Natural History Museum: A new study claims that the biology of dinosaurs was skewed towards big species, with many more mammoth examples than among today's animals

A T-rex at the Natural History Museum: A new study claims that the biology of dinosaurs was skewed towards big species, with many more mammoth examples than among today’s animals

Despite the prevalence of massive dinosaurs in the fossil record, prior to the latest study many researchers had assumed that they simply came in the same range of small and large species that modern animals do.

‘Turns out, nope, there really were tons and tons of big guys out there and not many little ones,’ said David Hone from Queen Mary, University of London, in an interview with LiveScience.

Dr Hone and his colleague Eoin Gorman, both of Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, compared the size of the femur bone of 329 different dinosaur species from fossil records.

Among palaeontologists, analysis of the length and weight of the femur bone is a recognised method for estimating a dinosaur’s body mass.

Frequency distribution of species body size for eight different animal groups: (a) extinct dinosaurs; (b) extant birds; (c) extant reptiles; (d) extant amphibians; (e) extant fish; (f) extant mammals; (g) extinct pterosaurs; and (h) Cenozoic mammals

Frequency distribution of body size for eight groups: (a) extinct dinosaurs; (b) extant birds; (c) extant reptiles; (d) extant amphibians; (e) extant fish; (f) extant mammals; (g) extinct pterosaurs; (h) Cenozoic mammals

THE BOOK THAT COULD CHANGE THE WAY WE SEE DINOSAURS

A new book radically re-imagines how dinosaurs may have looked based on contemporary scientific speculation.

Our traditional conception of dinosaurs as sleek, leathery animals is based on images created by palaeoartists, who specialise in imagining extinct creatures by studying their skeletons.

The problem is that these sparse remains cannot tell us the whole story, offering little information about layers of body fat, skin type, colouring or poise.

T-rex takes a nap

All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals, by palaeoartists C.M. Kosemen and John Conway, offers explores some of the possibilities.

The pictures present dinosaurs in ways that they never have been before.

Fierce beasts like Tyrannosaurus rex, for example, are typically shown in the middle of bloodily savaging their next meal, but modern day predators spend most of their days sleeping and digesting.

So Kosemen and Conway present the beast sleeping, curled up like a cat, making it look almost lovable.

They found that dinosaurs follow the opposite pattern of body size distribution as seen in other vertebrate species. For example, within living mammals there tends to be few larger species, such as elephants, compared to smaller animals, such as mice, which have many species.

The evidence from fossil records implies that in contrast there were many species of larger dinosaurs and few small species.

Dr Hone explains: ‘What is remarkable is that this tendency to have more species at a bigger size seemed to evolve quite early on in dinosaurian evolution around the Late Triassic period, 225 million years ago, raising questions about why they got to be so big.

‘Our evidence supports the hypothesis that young dinosaurs occupied a different ecological niche to their parents so they weren’t in competition for the same sources of food as they ate smaller plants or preyed on smaller size animals.

‘In fact, we see modern crocodiles following this pattern – baby crocodiles start by feeding off insects and tadpoles before graduating onto fish and then larger mammals.’

Dr Gorman added: ‘There is growing evidence that dinosaurs produced a large number of offspring, which were immediately vulnerable to predation due to their smaller size.

‘It was beneficial for the herbivores to grow to large size as rapidly as possible to escape this threat, but the carnivores had sufficient resources to live optimally at smaller sizes.

‘These differences are reflected in our analyses and also offer an explanation why other groups do not follow a similar pattern.

‘Several modern-day vertebrate groups are almost entirely carnivorous, while many of the herbivores are warm-blooded, which limits their size.’

read more Becky Delos Santos

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Quick Note: Steam for Linux Beta Open to Public

Posted on Dec 21, 2012




? ? (Source: geek.com)

For those who want to participate in the Steam for Linux beta program, download the most recent Steam Linux client or upgrade

Valve Corporation has announced that the Steam for Linux beta program is now open to the public.

Up until this point, the Steam for Linux beta program was closed to the public, but making it available itsn’t the only Steam-related news. Steam for Linux beta client bugs will be tracked through GitHub, which is a change from the use of forums in the closed version. Anyone can access the Steam for Linux repository with a free GitHub account in order to create, edit and track new issues as well as search others in the database.

There are a few other changes as well, such as the Steam installer package repository, and fixes to excessive CPU usage by the Steam client during Team Fortress 2 as well as overlay crash in Cubemen and better back navigation behavior/added discount behaviors in Big Picture.

For those who want to participate in the Steam for Linux beta program, download the most recent Steam Linux client or upgrade your current client to the latest version.

Back in October, Valve announced that it was allowing users to apply for the Steam for Linux beta. Valve said it was specifically looking for experienced users familiar with Linux and are running Ubuntu 12.04 or above. There were only 1,000 spots available in the registry.

Source: Steam

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Fitness Trackers Make Terrible Gifts

Posted on Dec 21, 2012

Unless the person you’re shopping for has obsessive tendencies, fitness trackers won’t help him or her get into shape.

Fitbit Is Sad

Fitbit Is Sad I’ve been using the more expensive Fitbit One, so this Fitbit Ultra is sad. Dan Nosowitz

Fitness trackers, little pedometer-type things that purport to measure your activity and help you get into shape, are on about a billion gift guides this year. But maybe they shouldn’t be. Here are the two most pressing reasons not to buy someone a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, Nike+ Fuelband, or Jawbone Up as a gift.

1. It implies your giftees are fat. And maybe they are but if you feel like that’s something they should know you should probably not use a pedometer as a messenger. Be nice!

2. 99% of people won’t use it. And this is the more pressing reason–it’s not that they’re bad products, exactly, it’s just that fitness trackers have positioned themselves as gadgets for the masses, a futuristic way to get in shape. And they’re not! They are helpful tools for a very particular type of person, and you know maaaaaybe one of that type of person, and that person probably already has one of these.

I’ve been using both of the new Fitbit products for a few weeks now. I am in awful shape, an overripe chimera of laziness and injury and sedentary job and also laziness, and I thought “hey, I bet this’ll help motivate me to get into shape!” It did not, and that’s only partly due to the execution of the product. The Fitbit One, which just about every reviewing publication ranks as the best or one of the best fitness trackers out there, is fine. It’s tiny and well-designed, it can track your steps, it syncs with an app on your phone, it tracks your sleep patterns. All of that stuff together can be very helpful for monitoring your health, but I suspect very few people will actually see the benefit.

That’s because fitness trackers are dumb. I don’t mean dumb as in “bad,” I mean dumb in the same way that an old flip-phone is dumber than a smartphone. It just can’t do very much on its own. Here’s one (unusually active) day of using the Fitbit.

Fitbit App

Fitbit App: I had pho for lunch today. Pho is not listed, although anhyrdrous disodium phosphate is. Weird. ? Dan Nosowitz

Last week, before going to bed, I remembered to have the Fitbit track my sleep. I dug the Fitbit out of my pants, put on the big velcro wristband, stuck the Fitbit in the wristband’s pocket, pressed the button to tell the Fitbit I was going to bed, and then went to bed. Woke up the next morning, pressed the button to tell the Fitbit I was awake. Took the Fitbit out of the wristband, put it in my pocket again. Had breakfast. Logged onto the Fitbit app to tell the app I had breakfast. Searched for the specific breakfast I had, guessed how much I had eaten. Logged it. Biked to work–about a 6.5-mile trip–which the Fitbit did not register, because it only registers walking. Logged onto the Fitbit app to tell it precisely how long and how far the bike trip was.

Worked. Had lunch, logged onto the Fitbit app to tell it what I had for lunch. Fitbit directory didn’t list what I had–it mostly includes fast food or chain food–so I guessed at the calorie count. Went to the gym after work. Moved Fitbit from pants to a clip on my workout shorts. Worked out. Fitbit doesn’t pick up on any of that, because I didn’t do anything like walking, which is what the Fitbit measures. Logged onto Fitbit app to tell it what I did. Weighed myself at the gym. Logged onto Fitbit to tell it how much I weigh. Biked home. Logged onto Fitbit app to tell it about that. Ate dinner. Logged onto Fitbit app and took my best guess as to calorie count. Took Fitbit out of pants, synced with iPhone app. Put it into wristband and told it I was going to bed.

From all of that, I saw how many calories I burned, how far I walked, how many flights of stairs I climbed, how many calories I took in. I could see graphs over time, comparing my activity day by day, week by week, month by month. All of that is cool! But I am not an obsessive type, and I lost interest in spending literally hours per day with the Fitbit app after about two days.

This isn’t exclusive to Fitbit; all of the major fitness trackers (Fitbit, Nike+ Fuelband, Jawbone Up) have their own quirks and pros and cons–the Fuelband and Jawbone Up, as wristbands, don’t have the problem of having to remember to bring it with you, though they don’t track your food intake–but they mostly work the same way. They’re glorified pedometers with added fitness tracking software. To really get the most out of these gadgets, you have to be kind of obsessive. Just using them casually gets you very little of value; for a few days, it’s cool to see how many steps you take, and I did take the stairs rather than the escalator to get more “points,” but I very quickly tired of it. They just don’t give enough information because they can’t extract enough data, and they can’t be encouraging because they don’t analyze the data they get.

Fitbit In Wristband

Fitbit In Wristband: You stick the Fitbit One in a wristband when you go to bed. ? Dan Nosowitz

I still think there’s a place for fitness trackers. The Basis Band, for example, is one step closer to being actually helpful for two main reasons. First: it can measure your heart rate, unlike any of the other trackers I mentioned. Second: it uses that data to recommend new exercises–instead of just giving you a chart, it’ll advise that you walk around the office for ten minutes. That’s much more helpful to the vast majority of people who don’t like looking at charts all day.

Fitness trackers can only really be helpful when they get smart. Data is great, but for most people, it’s not enough to just gather data and present it. You have to analyze it, figure out what it means and how to use it. The dream of a fitness tracker is pretty much like a fitness-centric version of Google Now: it needs to take in your data and then figure out what you actually want to know. That’s the next generation of this data tech–it’s not about the data, it’s about the conclusions. What we want is a fitness tracker that suggests, that figures out your lifestyle and then gives you advice, that actually helps you get into shape rather than just telling you exactly how out of shape you are. Hopefully the next generation of fitness trackers go in that direction. But for now, don’t bother with a pedometer.

Donna Gubbay Ashley Greene

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Redesigned Technology blog moves to new address

Posted on Dec 21, 2012

Tech blog

The L.A. Times Technology blog has been redesigned, and with our new duds we’re rolling out a new URL. So if you’ve been a loyal follower of our work, please update your bookmarks.

Our hope is that you’ll find the new look to be cleaner and easier for reading, viewing photos and watching videos. Please let us know what you think about the new look by leaving us a comment on the Technology blog’s Facebook page or by shooting a tweet to @LATimesTech.

Thanks for reading, watching and clicking.

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Technology blog’s new look. Credit: Los Angeles Times

David Beckham Ann-Maree Biggar

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Microsoft Stores taking $25 deposit on Nokia Lumia 900

Posted on Dec 20, 2012

Nokia Lumia 900

AT&T, Microsoft and Nokia haven’t said when the Lumia 900 will hit stores or how much it will cost, but if the flagship Windows Phone is a device you just have to have, you can now pre-order it.

Microsoft’s retail stores are currently taking a $25 deposit for those looking to reserve themselves a Lumia 900 on launch day, whenever that is. The deposit offer was first reported by The Verge and confirmed to The Times on Friday through Microsoft Store employees.

Rumor has it that the Lumia 900 could launch in March at a price of about $99 on a 2-year contract, which would undercut top-of-the-line rivals such as Apple’s iPhone 4S and the Android Ice-Cream-Sandwich-equipped Galaxy Nexus, built by Samsung.

In the U.S., the Lumia 900 will be exclusive to AT&T and feature a 4.3-inch display, a polycarbonate body in cyan or black, a 1.4-gigahertz Qualcomm single-core processor, 512 megabytes of RAM, 16 gigabytes of built-in storage, an 8-megapixel/720p video rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

I spent a bit of time with the Lumia 900 at CES in Las Vegas last month, and the phone did look quite impressive and something I thought could sell at $150 or $200 on a 2-year contract. Check out my hands-on look at the Lumia 900 below.

RELATED:

Nokia’s Lumia 900 Windows Phone may launch at $99

Lumia 710, Nokia’s first U.S. Windows Phone — review

CES 2012: Lumia 900, Nokia’s first 4G LTE Windows Phone, debuts [Photos and Video]

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: A Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone sits on display inside a Nokia retail store in Helsinki, Finland. Credit: Ville Mannikko / Bloomberg

Malin Akerman Barbara Flynn

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Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

Posted on Dec 20, 2012

Fake_steve_jobs

Steve Jobs likeness continues to pop up in the most unlikely places. He’s been immortalized as a bronze statue in an office park in Hungary, his image was painstakingly recreated in what might be the world’s most detailed action figure, and now a Taiwanese commercial making its way around the Internet depicts the recently deceased Apple visionary as a shill for an Android-based tablet called Action Pad.

Oh, the irony!

The man playing Jobs in the commercial is Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, according to a report in Reuters. The commercial never explicitly uses Jobs name, but Ah-Ken is dressed in Jobs trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, his hair is a silvery grey, and he’s wearing glasses. He’s standing on a stage meant to mimic those that Jobs paced across during major Apple announcements and speaking excitedly to an applauding audience. One thing he has that Jobs never had: a halo and wings.

At the end of his talk he says, “Thank God I can play another pad.”

Jobs of course hated Android with his whole being. His biographer Walter Isaacson writes that he never saw Jobs as angry as when he was talking about a lawsuit Apple had filed against Android.

After telling Isaacson that he considered Google’s Android to be a wholesale ripoff of the iPhone, he said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty.”

Maybe things change in the afterlife?

Action Electronics, the company that makes the Action Pad along with other electronic gadgets, sees no problem with the advertisement. “Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “It’s just an impersonator, not Jobs,” she said.

The reaction on YouTube has been mixed with commenters vacillating between disgust and amusement, but the video itself is rapidly racking up views.

ALSO:

Steve Jobs statue unveiled in Budapest office park

Demand for iPhones in China could skyrocket, analyst says

Steve Jobs action figure is advertised; will Apple respond?

– Deborah Netburn

Image: Screen grab from a Taiwanese commercial for Action Pad that depicts Steve Jobs as a shill for the Android-based tablet. Credit: YouTube

Farrah Fawcett Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Microsoft Stores taking $25 deposit on Nokia Lumia 900

Posted on Dec 19, 2012

Nokia Lumia 900

AT&T, Microsoft and Nokia haven’t said when the Lumia 900 will hit stores or how much it will cost, but if the flagship Windows Phone is a device you just have to have, you can now pre-order it.

Microsoft’s retail stores are currently taking a $25 deposit for those looking to reserve themselves a Lumia 900 on launch day, whenever that is. The deposit offer was first reported by The Verge and confirmed to The Times on Friday through Microsoft Store employees.

Rumor has it that the Lumia 900 could launch in March at a price of about $99 on a 2-year contract, which would undercut top-of-the-line rivals such as Apple’s iPhone 4S and the Android Ice-Cream-Sandwich-equipped Galaxy Nexus, built by Samsung.

In the U.S., the Lumia 900 will be exclusive to AT&T and feature a 4.3-inch display, a polycarbonate body in cyan or black, a 1.4-gigahertz Qualcomm single-core processor, 512 megabytes of RAM, 16 gigabytes of built-in storage, an 8-megapixel/720p video rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

I spent a bit of time with the Lumia 900 at CES in Las Vegas last month, and the phone did look quite impressive and something I thought could sell at $150 or $200 on a 2-year contract. Check out my hands-on look at the Lumia 900 below.

RELATED:

Nokia’s Lumia 900 Windows Phone may launch at $99

Lumia 710, Nokia’s first U.S. Windows Phone — review

CES 2012: Lumia 900, Nokia’s first 4G LTE Windows Phone, debuts [Photos and Video]

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: A Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone sits on display inside a Nokia retail store in Helsinki, Finland. Credit: Ville Mannikko / Bloomberg

Holly Hunter Amy Crews

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Google in Talks to Resolve Antitrust Issues in Europe

Posted on Dec 19, 2012

Today in international tech news: Google appears to have smoothed things over with the FTC, but the company has yet to appease the European Commission. Also: Germany protests Facebook’s real-name policy, Canadian anti-piracy forces prepare for battle, and Iran says it was the victim of another malware attack.

Google is expected to agree to changes in the way it displays search results, a move that will likely allow it to skirt an antitrust investigation in the U.S. However, things are still unresolved between Google and the European Commission.

The Guardian reports that the Federal Trade Commission is expected to announce a deal this week that will end the controversy over whether Google used its market dominance to cripple competition.

As it nears a resolution in the U.S., Google is reportedly still negotiating with European Commission antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia. The EC is apparently more concerned with Google’s position because in Europe it commands a 95 percent share of the search engine market, compared with 65 percent in the U.S.

If Google and the EC don’t strike a deal, as appears to have happened in the U.S., then Google could be compelled to tailor its search results “according to EC strictures,” writes The Guardian.

Germany Pushes Facebook to End Real-Name Policy

A data protection body in Germany has ordered Facebook to cease its policy of forcing users to register with their real names, according to the BBC.

The policy reportedly violates German laws that allow people to use pseudonyms online, according to the data protection agency in the northern Germany state of Schleswig-Holstein. The agency has demanded that Facebook allow fake names immediately, adding that the company has two weeks to challenge in German court.

Facebook, which has a policy of removing accounts with fake information, has said it would fight the decree and that its naming policy complies with European data protection rules.

Canada Anti-Piracy Forces Zero In on ISP

Users of the Canadian Internet service provider TekSavvy will be “the first unlucky targets” of a BitTorrent crackdown spearheaded by Voltage Picture.

Torrent Freak reports that the Canadian anti-piracy company Canipre has been collaborating with rights holders to monitor BitTorrent networks to determine who is sharing files illegally. Canipre is partnered with Voltage Pictures, which in 2010 launched an anti-BitTorrent campaign in the U.S. targeting those who shared the film “The Hurt Locker.” The studio is trying to duplicate that fight in Canada.

About 2,000 TekSavvy users were confirmed to have shared Voltage films. The company has asked the ISP to fork over personal details of the alleged offenders. TekSavvy initially refused, but the company has now decided not to fight the request.

Canada is engaging in some of the most ambitious anti-BitTorrent measures to date.

Iran Claims to Find New Malware

Having been the apparent target of an unprecedented malware attack earlier this year, Iran is now claiming to have discovered a new “targeted data wiping malware.”

Naked Security reports that while the malware identified by Iran does indeed wipe files from computers, it is not all that clear why Iran believes it was specifically targeted at the country. This most recent malware bears no resemblance to other sponsored attacks, including the famous Flame attack, Naked Security said.

Edith Evans Paula Prentis

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Most Facebook users get more from it than they put in, study says

Posted on Dec 19, 2012

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The Pew Research Internet Project released a report about Facebook on Friday, providing insights into the company that you won’t find in its IPO filing.

Rather than focusing on the company’s financials, the report “Why Most Facebook Users Get More Than They Give” sheds light on how Facebook’s 845 million users engage with Facebook and what they get out of it.

The findings show that social interactions on Facebook closely mirror social interactions in the real world.

For example, over the course of a one-month period, researchers found that women made an average of 11 updates to their Facebook status, while men averaged only six. Also, women were more likely to comment on other people’s status updates than men.

“There was a general trend in our data that women use Facebook more than men,” said Keith Hampton, a professor at Rutgers and lead author of the report. “This is a phenomenon that is not unique to Facebook. Women are traditionally in charge of social relationships offline, and that seems to be true of the online world as well.”

The report says men are more likely to send friend requests and women are more likely to receive them. That’s something else we see in the real world — especially in bars.

The report also says that most people who use Facebook get more out of it than they put into it, which may explain why they keep coming back.

Researchers found that 40% of Facebook users in a sample group made a friend request, while 63% received at least one friend request. They found that 12% of the sample tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo. And each user in the sample clicked the “like” button next to a friend’s content an average of 14 times but had his or her own content ‘liked’ an average of 20 times.

Why the imbalance?

“There is this 20% to 30% who are extremely active who are giving more than they are getting, and they are so active they are making up for feeding everyone extra stuff,” Hampton said. “You might go on Facebook and post something and have time to click ‘like’ on one thing you see in your news feed, but then you get a whole bunch of ‘likes’ on your news feed. That’s because of this very active group.”

He also said extremely active users tend to have a niche: Some are really into friending, others are really into tagging photos, and still others click the ‘like’ button a lot. Rarely is any one user extreme in all those ways.

I asked Hampton what he could tell me about these extremely active people, whom he calls Facebook “power users.” Are they unstoppably social? Unemployed? Lonely?

“It could be people who are always active — whatever they are doing in their life, they are very active. Or it could be that just in the one month we observed them they are active and another month a different group of people would rise up,” he said. “It could be that there is something going on in their life that causes them to be very active, or it could be that some people think of it almost as a job to be active on Facebook.”

ALSO:

Facebook’s IPO filing, by the numbers

Vizio’s 21:9 aspect CinemaWide TV due in March at $3,499

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

– Deborah Netburn

Photo: A worker at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. Credit: Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Cher Isla Fisher

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Scroll down for the Dead Sea Scrolls: Google and Israel put the ancient religious texts online for anyone to view

Posted on Dec 19, 2012

  • Digital library has the Book of Deuteronomy and first chapter of Genesis
  • Israel had previously been criticised for restricting access to the scrolls
  • Website allows users to zoom in, read translations and see related maps

By Damien Gayle

|

Google has partnered with the Israeli government to put 5,000 images of the Dead Sea Scrolls online in full colour and high resolution.

More than six decades since the discovery of the scrolls – and thousands of years after they were written – they are now finally available for anyone with an Internet connection to see.

The digital library contains the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the second listing of the Ten Commandments, and a portion of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, dated to the first century BC.

Scroll down for video

Online for the first time: The Dead Sea Scrolls are now available to researchers across the globe thanks to Google which worked in partnership with Israel to upload them to an online database

Online for the first time: The Dead Sea Scrolls are now available to researchers across the globe thanks to Google which worked in partnership with Israel to upload them to an online database

Israeli officials said this is part of an attempt by the custodians of the celebrated manuscripts to make them broadly available.

They have been often criticised for allowing the artefacts to be monopolised by small circles of scholars.

‘Only five conservators worldwide are authorised to handle the Dead Sea Scrolls,’ said Shuka Dorfman, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

‘Now, everyone can touch the scroll on screen around the globe.’

VIDEO: The Dead Sea Scrolls Online:? ? 

Ancient meets the modern: The scrolls are the work of an ascetic Jewish sect who fled Jerusalem into the desert 2,000 years ago and settled at Qumran, near the shore of the Dead Sea

Ancient meets the modern: The scrolls are the work of an ascetic Jewish sect who fled Jerusalem into the desert 2,000 years ago and settled at Qumran, near the shore of the Dead Sea

Considered one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century, the scrolls are thought to be the work of an ascetic Jewish sect that fled Jerusalem 2,000 years ago and settled at Qumran, near the shore of the Dead Sea.

Google says the new digital library took two years to assemble, using technology first developed by Nasa.

The multimedia website allows users to zoom in on various fragments, with translations and Google maps alongside.

Valuable: The scrolls are considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century, and Israel had been criticised for allowing them to be monopolised by a small band of scholars

Valuable: The scrolls are considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century, and Israel had been criticised for allowing them to be monopolised by a small band of scholars

Google hopes to further expand its project. Two months ago Google launched a ‘Cultural Institute,’ a digital visual archive of historical events in cooperation with 17 museums and institutes around the world.

‘We’re working to bring important cultural and historical materials online and help preserve them for future generations,’ said Yossi Matias, head of Google’s Research and Development Center in Israel.

‘Our partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority is another step toward enabling users to enjoy cultural material around the world.’

Anyone interested in the scrolls can visit? www.deadseascrolls.org.il for a closer look.

THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND OF THE 20TH CENTURY

Discovered between between 1946 and 1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 ancient manuscripts containing parts of what is now known as the Hebrew Bible, as well as a range of extra-biblical documents.

They were first found by shepherd Muhammed Edh-Dhib, as he searched for a stray among the limestone cliffs at Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea in what was then British Mandate Palestine – now the West Bank.

The story goes that, finding a a cave in the dark crevice of a steep rocky hillside, Muhammed hurled a stone into the dark interior and was startled to hear the sound of breaking pots.

Rich archaeological seam: Qumran cave 4, in which 90 per cent of the scrolls were found

Venturing inside, the young Bedouin found a mysterious collection of large clay jars, in some of which he found old scrolls, some wrapped in linen and blackened with age.

The texts are of great historical and religious significance and include the earliest known surviving copies of biblical and extra-biblical documents, as well as preserving evidence of diversity in late Second Temple Judaism.

Dated to various ranges between 408BC and 318AD, they are written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus and bronze.

The scrolls are traditionally divided into three groups. ‘Biblical’ manuscripts, which are copies of texts from the Hebrew Bible comprise 40 per cent of the haul.

Other religious manuscripts, including known documents from the Second Temple period like the books of Enoch, Jubilees, Tobit, and Sirach, that were now included in the Bible comprise 30 per cent of the identified scrolls.

The so-called ‘Sectarian’ manuscripts – previously unknown documents that shed light on the beliefs of Jewish groups of the time – like the Community Rule, War Scroll, Pesher on Habakkuk, and the Rule of the Blessing, make up the remaining 30 per cent.

While some of the writings have survived as nearly intact scrolls, most of the archive consists of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments.

Jodie Foster Olivia Pascal

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Thank You, Apple Maps. Now Go Away Forever

Posted on Dec 18, 2012

iPhone owners: let’s raise our glasses to Apple Maps, which has, indirectly, given us a better iPhone. And then let’s get rid of it.

The New Google Maps for iPhone

The New Google Maps for iPhone Google

The terrifying few months of what will be forever known as Apple Mapgate (no it won’t) are over. Google just released Google Maps for the iPhone, so we can all stick Apple Maps in our “Utilities” folder on our homescreens where it can sit comfortably next to other useless apps like Compass and Stocks. But here’s the weird thing: Google didn’t just package up the old Google Maps for iOS app and re-release it. They spent the past few months actually making a better app, with features the iOS version of Google Maps never had before.

In other words, thank you, Apple Maps, for giving iOS users a better phone.

It’s easy to forget that Google Maps for iOS was never particularly great; it was pretty, but increasingly limited, especially compared to Maps on Android. It never had turn-by-turn navigation, which Android has had since October of 2009 (!), it never had bike directions or offline caching, and it used clumsy bitmaps instead of vectors. That last one is why Google Maps for Android (and, to be fair, Apple Maps) loads faster and never looks blurry while zooming or panning.

The underlying data in Google Maps for iPhone was always great, of course; Google spends lots of time and money and effort getting the best data for its maps. But during all the panic over Apple Maps, we lionized the old Google Maps, and we shouldn’t have, really.

That’s why it’s interesting that the new Google Maps is such a marked improvement. It actually looks modern now–no stupid folded-over corner, a skeumorphic relic from 2008. Instead it looks like Google circa 2012, which is very nice indeed. Clean white bars, clear symbols, a hidden sidebar with more options. It has turn-by-turn navigation now, and vector graphics, and listings from Zagat (which Google acquired a few months back). It works even with older iPhones, which Apple Maps does not.

Google responded to Apple Maps as if Apple Maps was a threat, as if any app named “Google Maps” wouldn’t get about a billion downloads as soon as it was released. Google decided to compete with Apple. And that’s great for us, because Google finally (mostly) stopped handicapping the iOS version of it’s map app. It still doesn’t have everything the Android version has, but the weird thing about this whole mess is that iPhone users have come out on the other side with something they should have been demanding all along: a modern, full-featured maps app.

Jessica Stroup Sherilyn Fenn

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Popular Photography’s Camera Of The Year Is…

Posted on Dec 18, 2012

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Satoshi

It’s that time of year again–the time of year to take incredibly detailed macro shots of pointsettias. And what better camera to do it with than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the winner of Popular Photography’s hotly contested “Camera of the Year” contest? The follow-up to one of the most important cameras in the history of photography, the Mark III bests its predecessor in every way, topping strong competitors on its way to the prize. Read more here.

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Sales of iPhone 5 Pass Two Million On Its Opening Weekend In China

Posted on Dec 17, 2012

Two million iPhone 5s were shifted in China this weekend. Two million in three days. That’s the figure coming out of Cupertino, at least. The figures represent a new record for Apple, as Tim Cook acknowledged. “China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products.” Although less than half the number of iPhone 5 devices shifted back in September during the smartphone’s opening weekend in the U.S., the new figures from Asia show the burgeoning influence of Apple in China, a country in which the smartphone market is dominated by Android.

The sales figures come as the National Intelligence Council released (.pdf file) its Global Trends Report, which expects China’s economy to surpass that of the U.S. some time before 2030. According to the projections, Europe, Russia, and Japan are likely to continue declining, as the world economy will be linked to how well developing nations such as Indonesia, Turkey, Colombia, South Africa, and Nigeria are faring.

Barbara Streisand Rebekah

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User added wireless charging for the Google Nexus tablet

Posted on Dec 17, 2012

The user mentioned today is not an ordinary one, he has done a lot of functional improvements for smartphone before, this time this user adds wireless charging for the Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC, his name is -Rod Whitby, and I think he is not a stranger to some people. Currently that Rod Whitby adds wireless charging technology for Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC has reached the final step, his uses a Touchstone charging dock and an old circuit on an old Palm smartphone to complete this experiment, just like some software hackers have done.

Rod Whitby for Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC to add wireless charging technology has reached the final step, his old circuit to complete this experiment on the use of a Touchstone charging dock and an old Palm smartphone, just like some software hackers done.

However, in this process Whitby had to overcome some difficulties. First, he needs to find a large enough space to install something in the real cover of the Tablet PC. Then, he found a single charging coil can not meet the Nexus 7 Tablet PC charging voltage demand. How to solve these difficulties? He used two parallel wires to provide more stable power supply. He is currently testing another method, which is to remove the larger coil from the HP TouchPad to provide large enough voltage.

Although these tests have not yet completed, but we are very confident on Rod to add wireless charging technology for Google Nexus Tablet PC. As to the success, then please pay attention to his dynamic on Google to obtain the latest information about the message.

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Microsoft Stores taking $25 deposit on Nokia Lumia 900

Posted on Dec 16, 2012

Nokia Lumia 900

AT&T, Microsoft and Nokia haven’t said when the Lumia 900 will hit stores or how much it will cost, but if the flagship Windows Phone is a device you just have to have, you can now pre-order it.

Microsoft’s retail stores are currently taking a $25 deposit for those looking to reserve themselves a Lumia 900 on launch day, whenever that is. The deposit offer was first reported by The Verge and confirmed to The Times on Friday through Microsoft Store employees.

Rumor has it that the Lumia 900 could launch in March at a price of about $99 on a 2-year contract, which would undercut top-of-the-line rivals such as Apple’s iPhone 4S and the Android Ice-Cream-Sandwich-equipped Galaxy Nexus, built by Samsung.

In the U.S., the Lumia 900 will be exclusive to AT&T and feature a 4.3-inch display, a polycarbonate body in cyan or black, a 1.4-gigahertz Qualcomm single-core processor, 512 megabytes of RAM, 16 gigabytes of built-in storage, an 8-megapixel/720p video rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

I spent a bit of time with the Lumia 900 at CES in Las Vegas last month, and the phone did look quite impressive and something I thought could sell at $150 or $200 on a 2-year contract. Check out my hands-on look at the Lumia 900 below.

RELATED:

Nokia’s Lumia 900 Windows Phone may launch at $99

Lumia 710, Nokia’s first U.S. Windows Phone — review

CES 2012: Lumia 900, Nokia’s first 4G LTE Windows Phone, debuts [Photos and Video]

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: A Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone sits on display inside a Nokia retail store in Helsinki, Finland. Credit: Ville Mannikko / Bloomberg

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Redesigned Technology blog moves to new address

Posted on Dec 16, 2012

Tech blog

The L.A. Times Technology blog has been redesigned, and with our new duds we’re rolling out a new URL. So if you’ve been a loyal follower of our work, please update your bookmarks.

Our hope is that you’ll find the new look to be cleaner and easier for reading, viewing photos and watching videos. Please let us know what you think about the new look by leaving us a comment on the Technology blog’s Facebook page or by shooting a tweet to @LATimesTech.

Thanks for reading, watching and clicking.

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Technology blog’s new look. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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Thank You, Apple Maps. Now Go Away Forever

Posted on Dec 15, 2012

iPhone owners: let’s raise our glasses to Apple Maps, which has, indirectly, given us a better iPhone. And then let’s get rid of it.

The New Google Maps for iPhone

The New Google Maps for iPhone Google

The terrifying few months of what will be forever known as Apple Mapgate (no it won’t) are over. Google just released Google Maps for the iPhone, so we can all stick Apple Maps in our “Utilities” folder on our homescreens where it can sit comfortably next to other useless apps like Compass and Stocks. But here’s the weird thing: Google didn’t just package up the old Google Maps for iOS app and re-release it. They spent the past few months actually making a better app, with features the iOS version of Google Maps never had before.

In other words, thank you, Apple Maps, for giving iOS users a better phone.

It’s easy to forget that Google Maps for iOS was never particularly great; it was pretty, but increasingly limited, especially compared to Maps on Android. It never had turn-by-turn navigation, which Android has had since October of 2009 (!), it never had bike directions or offline caching, and it used clumsy bitmaps instead of vectors. That last one is why Google Maps for Android (and, to be fair, Apple Maps) loads faster and never looks blurry while zooming or panning.

The underlying data in Google Maps for iPhone was always great, of course; Google spends lots of time and money and effort getting the best data for its maps. But during all the panic over Apple Maps, we lionized the old Google Maps, and we shouldn’t have, really.

That’s why it’s interesting that the new Google Maps is such a marked improvement. It actually looks modern now–no stupid folded-over corner, a skeumorphic relic from 2008. Instead it looks like Google circa 2012, which is very nice indeed. Clean white bars, clear symbols, a hidden sidebar with more options. It has turn-by-turn navigation now, and vector graphics, and listings from Zagat (which Google acquired a few months back). It works even with older iPhones, which Apple Maps does not.

Google responded to Apple Maps as if Apple Maps was a threat, as if any app named “Google Maps” wouldn’t get about a billion downloads as soon as it was released. Google decided to compete with Apple. And that’s great for us, because Google finally (mostly) stopped handicapping the iOS version of it’s map app. It still doesn’t have everything the Android version has, but the weird thing about this whole mess is that iPhone users have come out on the other side with something they should have been demanding all along: a modern, full-featured maps app.

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Redesigned Technology blog moves to new address

Posted on Dec 15, 2012

Tech blog

The L.A. Times Technology blog has been redesigned, and with our new duds we’re rolling out a new URL. So if you’ve been a loyal follower of our work, please update your bookmarks.

Our hope is that you’ll find the new look to be cleaner and easier for reading, viewing photos and watching videos. Please let us know what you think about the new look by leaving us a comment on the Technology blog’s Facebook page or by shooting a tweet to @LATimesTech.

Thanks for reading, watching and clicking.

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Technology blog’s new look. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Ashley Greene Holly Sampson

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User added wireless charging for the Google Nexus tablet

Posted on Dec 14, 2012

The user mentioned today is not an ordinary one, he has done a lot of functional improvements for smartphone before, this time this user adds wireless charging for the Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC, his name is -Rod Whitby, and I think he is not a stranger to some people. Currently that Rod Whitby adds wireless charging technology for Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC has reached the final step, his uses a Touchstone charging dock and an old circuit on an old Palm smartphone to complete this experiment, just like some software hackers have done.

Rod Whitby for Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC to add wireless charging technology has reached the final step, his old circuit to complete this experiment on the use of a Touchstone charging dock and an old Palm smartphone, just like some software hackers done.

However, in this process Whitby had to overcome some difficulties. First, he needs to find a large enough space to install something in the real cover of the Tablet PC. Then, he found a single charging coil can not meet the Nexus 7 Tablet PC charging voltage demand. How to solve these difficulties? He used two parallel wires to provide more stable power supply. He is currently testing another method, which is to remove the larger coil from the HP TouchPad to provide large enough voltage.

Although these tests have not yet completed, but we are very confident on Rod to add wireless charging technology for Google Nexus Tablet PC. As to the success, then please pay attention to his dynamic on Google to obtain the latest information about the message.

Related Posts:

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Popular Photography’s Camera Of The Year Is…

Posted on Dec 14, 2012

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Satoshi

It’s that time of year again–the time of year to take incredibly detailed macro shots of pointsettias. And what better camera to do it with than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the winner of Popular Photography’s hotly contested “Camera of the Year” contest? The follow-up to one of the most important cameras in the history of photography, the Mark III bests its predecessor in every way, topping strong competitors on its way to the prize. Read more here.

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Titan’s Nile: Nasa scientists spot 250 mile river valley flowing with liquid ethane on Saturn’s largest moon

Posted on Dec 13, 2012

  • The valley crosses Titan’s north polar region, running into the Ligeia Mare
  • It is the first time a river system this big has been seen on another world
  • Titan is the only world known to have stable liquid on its surface

By Damien Gayle

|

A 250 mile-long river valley flowing with liquid hydrocarbons has been spotted on Titan by scientists using Nasa’s Cassini space probe.

It is the first time a river system this vast has been seen anywhere other than Earth, and Nasa are saying it appears like a miniature, extraterrestrial likeness of the our own planet’s Nile River.

The river valley crosses Titan’s north polar region and runs north into Ligeia Mare, one of the three great seas in the moon’s high northern latitudes.

Titan’s Nile: The radar image on the left taken by the Cassini space probe shows the vast river system as it flows north into the moon’s Ligeia Mare sea. The right is a satellite image of the real Nile in Egypt

There are some short, local meanders, but the its relative straightness suggests it follows the trace of at least one fault, similar to other rivers running into the southern margin of Ligeia Mare.

Such faults may lead to the opening of basins and perhaps to the formation of the giant seas themselves.

Scientists believe the river is filled with liquid hydrocarbons as it looks dark along its entire length in the radar image, indicating a smooth surface.

Titan is Saturn’s largest moon, roughly 80 per cent more massive than our own Moon, and the only satellite known to have a dense atmosphere.

It is the only other world we know of that has stable liquid on its surface, but while Earth’s hydrologic cycle relies on water, Titan’s equivalent cycle involves hydrocarbons such as ethane and methane.

In Titan’s equatorial regions, photos taken in late 2010 by Cassini’s visible-light cameras revealed regions that darkened due to recent rainfall.

Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer confirmed liquid ethane at a lake in Titan’s southern hemisphere known as Ontario Lacus in 2008.

Titan, pictured in ultraviolet and infrared: Saturn's moon is the only other world known to have stable liquid on its surface, but while Earth's hydrologic cycle relies on water, Titan's equivalent cycle involves hydrocarbons

Titan, pictured in ultraviolet and infrared: Saturn’s moon is the only other world known to have stable liquid on its surface, but while Earth’s hydrologic cycle relies on water, Titan’s equivalent cycle involves hydrocarbons

THE CASSINI-HUYGENS MISSION

Cassini is a Flagship-class robotic spacecraft sent to explore Saturn and its moons as part of a joint mission between Nasa, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

It launched in 1997 and finally arrived at the system in 2004 after an interplanetary voyage which included flybys of Earth, Venus, and Jupiter.

It also included an atmospheric probe called Huygens which landed on Titan on 2005 to investigate its clouds, atmosphere and surface.

It successfully returned data to Earth, using the orbiter as a relay, after what was was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System.

On April 16, 2008, Nasa announced a two-year extension of the funding for ground operations of this mission, at which point it was renamed to the Cassini Equinox Mission.

This was again extended in February 2010 with the Cassini Solstice Mission continuing until 2017. The current end of mission plan is a 2017 controlled fall into Saturn’s atmosphere.

‘Titan is the only place we’ve found besides Earth that has a liquid in continuous movement on its surface,’ said Steve Wall, the radar deputy team lead, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

‘This picture gives us a snapshot of a world in motion. Rain falls, and rivers move that rain to lakes and seas, where evaporation starts the cycle all over again.

‘On Earth, the liquid is water; on Titan, it’s methane; but on both it affects most everything that happens.’

The radar image taken on September 26 and published by Nasa yesterday shows where the river valley flows into Kraken Mare, a sea that is, in terms of size, between the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

‘Though there are some short, local meanders, the relative straightness of the river valley suggests it follows the trace of at least one fault,’said Jani Radebaugh, a Cassini radar team associate at Brigham Young University, Utah.

She added: ‘Such faults – fractures in Titan’s bedrock – may not imply plate tectonics, like on Earth, but still lead to the opening of basins and perhaps to the formation of the giant seas themselves.’

The real Nile River stretches about 4,100 miles. The processes that led to the formation of Earth’s Nile are complex, but involve faulting in some regions.

VIDEO: The canyons of Titan as seen by Cassini…

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The Brightest Distro Stars of 2012

Posted on Dec 13, 2012

“By taking Linux away from the devs and instituting real quality control and making it truly UI-centric and consistent, Google has managed to do in a couple of years what dozens of distros absolutely failed to do in a couple of decades,” said Slashdot blogger hairyfeet, “and that was bring a Linux-based OS out of the nerds’ basements and into the home of Joe and Sally Average.”

Well the year is rapidly drawing to a close, so naturally it’s time for the requisite stream of “looking back at 2012″ and “looking ahead at 2013″ story headlines on the news wires.

The Linux blogosphere, needless to say, is no exception. Case in point: “Best Distro 2012″ was the topic of a TuxRadar poll under way earlier this month, and now the results are in.

Could there be any better fodder for discussion when the nights are long and the days are gray? Linux Girl, for one, doesn’t think so.

‘Mint Takes on Ubuntu’

“We didn’t want to restrict ourselves to the same old trials and tests, we wanted to promote distributions that might not have had the attention they deserve, while at the same time considering the obvious benefits of using a popular distribution,” the TuxRadar team explained.

“To this end, we decided to group the contenders together not by success, but by function, and see how they would fare in a one-on-one usability fight to the death,” the team added. “Mint takes on Ubuntu in the classic battle between father and son. OpenSUSE Tumbleweed takes on the most popular rolling distro, Arch.”

Close to 100 bloggers weighed in with their opinions on TuxRadar, but they were soon drowned out by the blogosphere’s loquacious Linux masses.

‘I’ll Go with SolusOS 1.2′

“Best distro of 2012? Hummm…. I’ll go with SolusOS 1.2,” Gonzalo Velasco C., a blogger on Google+, told Linux Girl over a Dubliners Mudslide down at the blogosphere’s Punchy Penguin Saloon.

Comparing Ubuntu and Mint, meanwhile, “is tricky,” he added. “For a start, there wouldn’t be Mint without Ubuntu! And none of them can live without GNOME! Surprise!!!!!! :-D

“So, best distro among the two: Ubuntu,” Gonzalo Velasco C. concluded. “Best desktop environment: you choose.”

‘A Really Great Distro’

Google+ blogger Linux Rants took a similar view.

“I’m going to be boring on this one, but I’ve got to go with Ubuntu 12.04,” Linux Rants agreed. “There were a lot of great distros this year, but I don’t think that any of them can compete with the Pangolin. It’s solid, fast, and the basis for any number of other really great distros.

“Mint 14 was also a great distro, but it wouldn’t have been possible without Ubuntu,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, “I do want to give runner-up status to SolusOS,” Linux Rants added. “I think Ikey has a really great distro on his hands, and I’m anxiously waiting for the new version. I think it’s going to be truly amazing.”

‘Debian Is the Best’

Consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack said he was hoping a Debian-based distro would make it to the top of the list, “since that will provide more package support,” he explained.

“Other than that I don’t really mind who is on top or even the top 5,” Mack added.

“Of course Debian GNU/Linux is the best GNU/Linux distro of any year,” blogger Robert Pogson heartily concurred. “It has been for a long time and will be for a long time in the future.

“If there’s something you cannot do with Debian GNU/Linux, you’re probably not trying,” he added. “Debian’s previous release is rock-solid, and the next release is very usable and has been for months, even if it’s ‘not ready’ by Debian’s standards.”

Of course, “this assumes one needs functionality and not eye-candy,” Pogson pointed out. “I take IT very seriously and certainly don’t need frills.”

‘The One That Works for You’

Google+ blogger Kevin O’Brien had a more objective take.

“I have to say the best Linux distro is the one that works for you,” O’Brien told Linux Girl.

“Right now I have machines running Kubuntu 12.10, Ubuntu 12.10, Fedora 17, and openSUSE 12.2,” he explained. “I do different things on each, and each one is fit for the purpose.

“I think that is one of the benefits of Free Software: You can always use what works best for you,” O’Brien concluded.

‘Canonical Should Get Credit’

“The year is about to end, and I just realized now this has been a slow year for me,” began Robin Lim, a lawyer and blogger on Mobile Raptor. “I have only tried two 2012 releases: Ubuntu Linux 12.04, which I plan to stick with for a long time because of the five-year Long Term Support that Canonical has promised, and Android 4.12 Jelly Bean.”

In fact, “I really don’t feel most of the improvements of Ubuntu 12.04, since I use the GNOME 3 desktop environment,” Lim noted. “I have Android 4.12 vanilla on one device, and the older Android 4.04 with the HTC Sense 3.6 interface on another. I don’t miss 4.1.2 all that much when I am on Android 4.04.”

In any case, “I am sure there is something more ground-breaking out there, but I have no problem casting a vote for Ubuntu,” Lim said. “Changing operating systems every six months is really not for the average user.

“Scouring the Web with your fingers crossed, hoping your Android device gets a confirmation that it will be updated to the latest official release, is no way to live,” Lim explained. “Five years is a big thing, and I feel Canonical should get credit for that.”

‘The Best Distro Is Android’

Slashdot blogger hairyfeet, however, cast his vote firmly on Google’s side.

“Hands down, the absolute best distro of the year is…. Android,” hairyfeet opined. “By taking Linux away from the devs and instituting real quality control and making it truly UI-centric and consistent, Google has managed to do in a couple of years what dozens of distros absolutely failed to do in a couple of decades, and that was bring a Linux-based OS out of the nerds’ basements and into the home of Joe and Sally Average.”

Now, “you see everything from tablets to TV sets including Android,” he added. “The little green droid is becoming as well-known an icon as the Apple logo and the WinFlag, and I don’t see how anybody could say any distro could compare.

“Heck, if you took every distro on the planet and combined them, I doubt you’d get even one-tenth the share Android has, and it is growing by leaps and bounds,” hairyfeet concluded.


Katherine Noyes has been writing from behind Linux Girl’s cape since late 2007, but she knows how to be a reporter in real life, too. She’s particularly interested in space, science, open source software and geeky things in general. You can also find her on Twitter and Google+.

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