Everything you need to know to install SteamOS on your very own computer True to its word, Valve has released a beta version of SteamOS, the Linux-based operating system that it will use to power its living room Steam Machine consoles. The release coincides with a lucky group of 300 public beta testers who were selected to actually receive Steam Machines to test on -- the rest of us can still use the OS, but we'll have to bring our own hardware. Valve had previously recommended that users who aren't "intrepid Linux hackers" should wait a few more months before trying out SteamOS, but that's not going to stop Ars from barreling head first into the midst of things! Ars Technica (SteamOS FAQ and download)

SteamOS compositor details, kernel patches, screenshots Here are more details on the innards of SteamOS along with some screenshots of the GNOME-based desktop environment outside of the Steam Big Picture Mode. As written in the previous article, SteamOS has its own graphics compositor while SteamOS is based on Debian Linux. In digging through the steamos-compositor code, it's a modified version of xcompmgr. Xcompmgr is a simple composite manager for X11 written a long time ago by Keith Packard and duesn't see too much activitity these days. Phoronix

State of deception On March 12, 2013, James R. Clapper appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss the threats facing America. Clapper, who is seventy-two, is a retired Air Force general and Barack Obama’s director of National Intelligence, in charge of overseeing the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and fourteen other U.S. spy agencies. Clapper is bald, with a gray goatee and rimless spectacles, and his affect is intimidatingly bureaucratic. The New Yorker

Yahoo's geek goddess By now the headline-getting series of events has become business lore. In the fall of 2011, New York moneyman Daniel Loeb, who runs the $14 billion hedge fund Third Point Capital, staged a raid on Yahoo, the well-known but struggling Silicon Valley company. After a brutal fight to depose the company’s C.E.O., he helped raid Google for one of its longest-serving and most famous executives, Marissa Mayer, then often called "the face of Google" or "Google's glamour geek." Vanity Fair

Why do all keyboards look the same? Or: How to design a better keyboard from scratch Why is a keyboard shaped like a keyboard? Better yet, why are all of the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and some punctuation, arranged in four slightly diagonal rows of keys -- and more importantly, why has the layout of the keyboard gone almost unchanged in 100 years? There must be a really good reason, right? Wrong. For the most part, keyboards have looked virtually the same because… that's how they’ve always looked. ExtremeTech

Valve's Steam Machine Delivered To Homes, Gets Unboxed As promised, the lucky beta testers of Valve's own first-party Steam Machines are starting to get their consoles...computers...whatever. Here are a couple of unboxings, showing off not only what they get in the box, but also a pretty snazzy shipping case. I was expecting machines shipped in foam and including some notes and basic manuals on plain printed paper. This is much slicker! Kotaku

Google's road map to global domination Fifty-five miles and three days down the Colorado River from the put-in at Lee’s Ferry, near the Utah-Arizona border, the two rafts in our little flotilla suddenly encountered a storm. It sneaked up from behind, preceded by only a cool breeze. With the canyon walls squeezing the sky to a ribbon of blue, we didn’t see the thunderhead until it was nearly on top of us. I was seated in the front of the lead raft. Pole position meant taking a dunk through the rapids, but it also put me next to Luc Vincent, the expedition’s leader. Vincent is the man responsible for all the imagery in Google’s online maps. The NY Times

The only thing weirder than a telemarketing robot Sometimes, you have to think like a scammer. So, when I saw that an apparent robot telemarketer named Samantha West had randomly called a Time writer and denied she/it/they was a robot, I wondered: where could I buy such an interactive voicebot? This query led me down a strange rabbit hole. And along the way, I discovered that Samantha West may be something even stranger than a telemarketing robot. Samantha West may be a human sitting in a foreign call center playing recorded North American English through a soundboard. I know. It's weird. But let me explain. The Atlantic

OCZ releases Intrepid 3000: First in-house enterprise SSD The last few weeks have been tough for OCZ. The company filed for bankruptcy and a week later OCZ announced that Toshiba will be acquiring their assets. While there is a lot going on at OCZ at the moment, their business continues to operate normally in the mean time. The proof of that is OCZ's latest release: the Intrepid 3000. It is OCZ's first in-house developed enterprise SSD, although quite surprisingly it utilizes the Marvell 88SS9187 based Everest 2 platform (same as in Vertex 4)... AnandTech

Confirmed: Cloud infrastructure pricing is absurd A new "codex" released by 451 Research, designed to help businesses figure out the wildly different pricing models used by cloud infrastructure providers, makes one thing abundantly clear: cloud pricing is insanely complicated. It’s virtually impossible for customers to price shop, as vendors use a wide range of models and some don’t actually publish their prices. These kinds of pricing analyses, though, can offer some great insight into where the vendors are heading. Itworld

Wikipedia: Lamest edit wars Occasionally, even experienced Wikipedians lose their heads and devote every waking moment to edit warring over the most trivial thing. This page documents our lamest examples. It isn't comprehensive or authoritative, but it serves as a showcase of situations where people lose sight of the big picture and obsessively expend huge amounts of energy fighting over something that, in the end, isn't really so important. Wikipedia

Nvidia exploit could turn render farms into password crackers, bitcoin miners, researchers claim Nvidia's Mental Ray high-performance 3D rendering software has a vulnerability that could be exploited to compromise clusters of specialized computers called render farms, according to researchers from ReVulnNetworkWorld

Gifting a gadget? Check out 2013's holiday shipping deadlines Have you been procrastinating on your holiday shopping? Given that we have yet to master teleportation, online shoppers who want gifts delivered by Christmas will have to abide by the shipping deadlines set by individual online retailers. PC Mag