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Sony Demos Natal-Like Control System
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 05:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wink-to-fire-the-cannon deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "It's not just Microsoft investigating full body, markerless motion capture. Sony has enlisted the help of Swiss firm Atracsys to develop similar technology. Sony has openly discussed the technology with New Scientist, and has realistic expectations for the new system — it can capture broad body gestures but not individual fingers. That's just one trade-off needed in order to develop a real-time system that anyone can use, according to a markerless motion-capture expert." It's still in the early stages of development, but the accompanying video shows the use of face-recognition software as well. The demo game has players moving their heads left or right to position their character, and then smiling to "catch" an object.

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AMD Graphics Chip Shortage Hits PC Vendors
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's at-least-tsmc-is-consistent deptartment:
CWmike writes "An offshore AMD foundry is having trouble ramping up production of a new 40-nanometer GPU, forcing PC makers to delay shipments of desktop and laptop computers, AMD confirmed today. TSMC is struggling to get up to speed manufacturing AMD's 5800 series, 40-nm GPUs, according to Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat. He added that the foundry is in full production, but so far yields are below expectation. Matt Davis, a spokesman for AMD, confirmed that TSMC is having issues with production of the chips. He added that it's not clear how far behind the foundry is on production expectations. 'The design is sound. It's just a matter of trying to get TSMC to a point where they can yield. They're feeling the manufacturing crunch,' said Davis. 'We're a little bit under yield but we're working back into a manufacturing schedule we want for these parts. TSMC can only kick them out so fast at this point.' He said that PC vendors are being affected but declined to say how many vendors are feeling the pinch or which ones. 'It's the end of the whip,' he added. '[The vendors] are going to have a hard time.'" A post at Anandtech suggests we'll see price hikes for the 5800-series Radeons until this situation sorts itself out.

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China Bans Physical Punishment For Net Addicts
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 03:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's no-more-actually-kicking-the-habit deptartment:
gimmebeer writes to tell us that months after a teen was beaten to death in an Internet boot camp, China has banned the use of physical punishment to help teens kick their net addiction. "The death of 15-year-old Deng Senshan, just hours after he checked into an Internet bootcamp in the southwestern Guangxi region in early August, caused a media storm in China. Days later, another teenager, Pu Liang, was taken to hospital with water in the lungs and kidney failure after a similar attack in Sichuan Province. The government in July had already banned electroshock therapy as a treatment for Internet addiction, after media reports about a controversial psychiatrist who administered electric currents to nearly 3,000 teenagers. The latest guidelines suggest officials in Beijing do not think that those with unhealthy Internet habits should be forced offline permanently."

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Telecoms Announce "One Voice" Initiative to Promote LTE Wireless Broadband Stand
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 03:00 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's wars-fought-with-dollars deptartment:
suraj.sun writes to mention that Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks may have just gotten a boost over WiMax in the battle for wireless broadband dominance. A group of telecom companies has created the "One Voice" initiative, designed to promote a standard that will provide interoperability for broadband voice and SMS. "LTE has been fine at supporting data, which uses IP-based packet switching. But it's faced challenges trying to incorporate traditional circuit-based switching voice and SMS services onto IP-based networks. One Voice is the group's attempt to resolve that issue. The new specification will use existing functionality known as IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), which already defines how to provide data, voice, and other content over an IP-based network. IMS was established by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a group comprised of telecom industry associations trying to set standards for 3G mobile networks."

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Drupal Multimedia
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 02:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it deptartment:
coder4hire writes "Of the leading content management systems used by developers for creating websites, Drupal is highly regarded for many characteristics, including a much smaller initial footprint, compared to Joomla and other CMSs. Yet some developers find this a disadvantage as well, because one of the most common criticisms leveled against Drupal is its lack of built-in support for images and multimedia elements — thereby forcing new Drupal developers to choose from the thousands of contributed Drupal modules those that would be optimal for implementing their websites' multimedia functionality. Aaron Winborn's book Drupal Multimedia is intended as a guide to help such developers." Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.

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Multi-Button OpenOfficeMouse At OOoCon 2009
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 01:15 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's flying-in-the-face-of-simple-design deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "WarMouse has announced their new multi-button OpenOfficeMouse for OpenOffice.org at the 2009 OOoCon in Orvieto, Italy. The mouse, which features 18 buttons, a scroll wheel, and an analog joystick, has double-click functionality on every button and stores up to 63 application and game profiles in its 512k of flash memory. The OpenOfficeMouse runs on Windows, Linux, and OS/X; its customization software will be released as free and open source software." We couldn't decide if this was a protest against Apple's new magic mouse, an elaborate practical joke, or just plain insanity run amok. In any case, it is hard to imagine a world in which so many tiny buttons on a mouse make sense.

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Microsoft Research Shows Off New Projects On College Recruiting Tour
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 12:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's why-do-they-want-computing-to-be-a-workout deptartment:
In a recent college recruiting tour, Microsoft's Craig Mundie was able to showcase some of the experiments coming out of their Research division. Among some of the interesting projects were another pass at the Minority Report interface, eye-tracking, intelligent data sorting, a global carbon-climate model, and several other software and hardware experiments. A video and supporting slideshow are also available via Microsoft's press site. "Mundie also will discuss the kinds of computers students will soon be using – machines that will respond to gestures through new natural user interfaces; deploy the power of new microprocessors; migrate data to the cloud; and use live data to drive new simulations and visualizations. He’ll center on an environmental theme to show what it might be like to be a research scientist working on zero carbon energy in the future using new interactions with data and computers to increase insight."

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What Does Google Suggest Suggest About Humanity?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's fire-makes-things-hot deptartment:
CNETNate writes "You'll laugh, but mostly you'll cry. Some of the questions Google gets asked to deliver results for is beyond worrying. 'Can you put peroxide in your ear?', 'Why would a pregnancy test be negative?', and 'Why can't I own a Canadian?' being just a selection of the truly baffling — and disturbing — questions Google is regularly forced to answer."

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Cable Exec Suggests Changing Consumer Behavior, Not Business Model
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 11:15 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's customers-should-like-what-we-want-them-to-like deptartment:
Techdirt has pointed out yet another cable exec that just doesn't quite get it. Comcast's COO, Steve Burke, recently urged the TV industry to find ways to "get consumers to change" rather than figure out better methods to cater to demand. "'An entire generation is growing up, if we don't figure out how to change that behavior so it respects copyright and subscription revenue on the part of distributors, we're going to wake up and see cord cutting.' How many consumers, in any market, are focused on 'respecting' vendors' revenue streams? How, exactly, does he propose to effect this sea change? And why not just develop products that consumers will willingly pay for, rather than trying to change consumer behavior in such a fundamental way?"

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National Data Breach Law Advances
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 10:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's pre-emption-could-be-bad deptartment:
Trailrunner7 writes "Two separate bills that would require organizations to notify consumers when their personal information has been compromised have made their way out of committee in the Senate, a critical step toward the creation of a national data-breach notification bill. But the Data Breach Notification Act, S.139, exempts federal agencies and other organizations subject to the bill from disclosing a breach if the data involved in the breach was encrypted. This is a clause that has caused some controversy, as some experts say that simply encrypting data does not render it useless. Also, S.139 would grant an exemption for data that 'was rendered indecipherable through the use of best practices or methods, such as redaction, access controls, or other such mechanisms, that are widely accepted as an effective industry practice, or an effective industry standard.' That is a very broad exemption that could become a sticking point as the bill moves along. The terms 'access controls' and 'other such mechanisms' encompass a huge number of technologies."

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AT&T's City-By-City Plan To Up Wireless Coverage
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 09:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's hockey-stick-gone-vertical deptartment:
alphadogg writes "AT&T has created different mobile calling models for every major city in America as it tries to improve a network that has come under fire for poor performance as the data-friendly iPhone has proliferated, an executive said Thursday. Other carriers just use one nationwide calling model to plan for all cities, claimed CTO John Donovan, speaking at the Open Mobile Summit conference in San Francisco. The nation's second-largest mobile operator has had a hard time planning for bandwidth needs in the rapidly changing mobile world, Donovan said. AT&T has seen rapidly growing mobile data usage — and much criticism over its 3G coverage — as the exclusive iPhone carrier in the US. 'If a network is not fully loaded, it's hard to know exactly how much demand is out there,' Donovan said. 'You put all you can in the ground, and they eat it all up, and then you put more in there, and they eat it all up.'" The story notes that mobile data at AT&T has grown 4,932% over the last 3 years.

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Enzyme Found To Help Formation of New Axons
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 09:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's some-nerve deptartment:
Greg George writes "Researchers at Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology have announced that they have found an enzyme that helps nerves to grow in areas damaged after trauma. In typical injuries, scar tissue forms around the damage point and the body removes the tissue so that new muscle and nerves can regrow in the damaged area. In spinal cord injuries, scar tissue forms and that is the end of the story. Special chemicals form that stop the body's cells from moving in and removing the scar tissue and then allowing the healing process to start. Studies have been done attempting to bypass the scar tissue, but none has been successful in large-scale repair of injured muscle and nerves in the spinal column. The researchers for this paper have found that sugar proteins near the damage point stop the healing and that an enzyme can be used to break down these proteins so that the body can then begin repairs. The enzyme, chondroitinase ABC (chABC), is sensitive to heat, and breaks down quickly in a human body. To stop that process they found that by replacing the ABC with another sugar called trehalose, they were able to stabilize the ABC, allowing it to break down scar tissue over a large area. The gel formed by these sugars is stable for up to six weeks in the bodies of test animals, allowing the research team to inject growth factors that increased the healing, to the point that the animals started to use their limbs again. The work is still in the beginning stages." Reuters reporting adds a few more details: "...many other approaches will be needed to repair spinal cord injuries in humans, including controlling inflammation, which can cause additional injury, stimulating nerve fiber growth, and getting nerves to reconnect and communicate with the brain."

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EMI Sues the Beatles Off the Net
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 08:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's psycho-acoustic-whatever deptartment:
blackest_k sends along a Wired piece on EMI's successful suit to get Beatles music off the Net. Here is the judge's ruling (PDF). "A federal judge on Thursday ordered a Santa Cruz company to immediately quit selling Beatles and other music on its online site, setting aside a preposterous argument that it had copyrights on songs via a process called 'psycho-acoustic simulation.' A Los Angeles federal judge set aside arguments from Hank Risan, owner of BlueBeat and other companies named as defendants in the lawsuit EMI filed on Tuesday. His novel defense to allegations he was unlawfully selling the entire stereo Beatles catalog without permission was that he — and not EMI or the Beatles' Apple Corp — owns these sound recordings, because he re-recorded new versions of the songs using what he termed 'psycho-acoustic simulation.' Risan faces perhaps millions of dollars in damages under the Copyright Act. And copyright attorneys said his defense was laughable and carries no weight."

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Vint Cerf Plugs Android Into Interplanetary Net
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 07:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's hot-dead-birds deptartment:
Several readers sent in an update on DTN, the interplanetary Internet protocol that Vint Cerf has been working on for many years (and we have been discussing for nearly as long). The news now is that Cerf has added a DTN stack to the open source Android code, seeing uses in mobile applications for a protocol that does not assume a continuous connection.

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CDC Adopts Near Real-Time Flu Tracking System
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 06:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's you've-got-the-flu-swine deptartment:
CWmike writes "The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched an effort this week to better and more easily track for H1N1 and other seasonal influenza activity throughout the US. The CDC said it is now tracking data on 14 million patients from physician practices and hospitals stored on a database hosted by GE Healthcare. The data is submitted daily from physician's offices and hospitals that use GE's electronic medical record system. The data is then uploaded to GE Healthcare's Medical Quality Improvement Consortium , a database repository designed with HIPAA-compliance parameters of patient anonymity and best practices, where it can be the subject of medical data queries. The CDC can perform queries to look for flu-like symptoms being reported by physicians, and then disseminate the data for health care providers and local government officials throughout the country, who can alert businesses and others about flu outbreak hot spots. The CDC also hopes its analysis of the data helps it better understand the characteristics of H1N1 outbreaks and to determine who is most at risk for developing complications from the virus. Prior to implementing the new system, the CDC relied heavily on tracking insurance claims data, which could take days or weeks to make its way to the agency's medical staff for analysis. The medical data is normalized so that fir example reports of hypertension, HTN, and high blood pressure all mean the same thing when a researcher enters a query against the data."

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Fear Detector To Sniff Out Terrorists
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's interesting-assumptions deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Evidence that the smell of fear is real was uncovered by US scientists last year who studied the underarm secretions of 20 terrified novice skydivers and found that people appear to respond unconsciously to the sweat smell of a frightened person. Now the Telegraph reports that researchers hope a 'fear detector'' will make it possible to identify individuals at check points who are up to no good. ''The challenge lies in the characterization and identification of the specific chemical that gives away the signature of human fear, especially the fear in relation to criminal acts,' says Professor Tong Tun at City University London who leads the team developing security sensor systems that can detect the human fear pheromone. The project will look at potential obstacles to the device, such as the effects of perfume and the variances in pheromone production and if the initial 18-month feasibility study is successful, the first detectors could be developed in the next two to three years. ''I do not see any particular reason why similar sensor techniques cannot be expanded to identify human smells by race, age or gender to build a profile of a criminal during or after an incident,'' Tong added."

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Researchers Implant Neural-Monitoring RFID Into a Moth
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 03:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wasn't-flapping-at-the-time deptartment:
TechRev_AL writes "A team from the University of Washington has attached an RFID chip capable of sensing neural activity to a live moth, to pick up the spikes that occur as it beats its wings. Most neural implants are still relatively bulky, but the Washington researchers wanted to show the components in an RFID could be adapted for the same purpose. The NeuralWISP chip is a collection of low-power components such as a specialized signal amplifier, on a circuit board just over two centimeters long. The circuitry converts usable power from the reader — roughly 430 microwatts — to a voltage that can turn on a microcontroller. The sensor is also configured to only 'wakes up' when a neuron fires. The ultimate goal is to create more compact, wirelessly-powered brain and nervous system implants for people."

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LHC Shut Down Again — By Baguette-Dropping Bird
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '09 at 01:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-causes deptartment:
Philip K Dickhead writes "Is Douglas Adams scripting the saga of sorrows facing the LHC? These time-traveling Higgs-Boson particles certainly exhibit the sign of his absurd sense of humor! Perhaps it is the Universe itself, conspiring against the revelations intimated by the operation of CERN's Large Hadron Collider? This time, it is not falling cranes, cracked magnets, liquid helium leaks or even links to Al Qaeda, that have halted man's efforts to understand the meaning of life, the universe and everything. It now appears that the collider is hindered from an initial firing by a baguette, dropped by a passing bird: 'The bird dropped some bread on a section of outdoor machinery, eventually leading to significant over heating in parts of the accelerator. The LHC was not operational at the time of the incident, but the spike produced so much heat that had the beam been on, automatic failsafes would have shut down the machine.'"

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Dashboard Reveals What Google Knows About You
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '09 at 10:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's born-4th-nov-8lbs-20-inches-smart deptartment:
CWmike writes "Ever wonder exactly what Google knows about you? Google took a step today to answer that question with the unveiling of Google Dashboard, which is designed to let users see and control the copious amounts of data that Google has stored in its servers about them. 'Over the past 11 years, Google has focused on building innovative products for our users. Today, with hundreds of millions of people using those products around the world, we are very aware of the trust that you have placed in us, and our responsibility to protect your privacy and data,' Google said in a blog post today. 'In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, we've built the Google Dashboard.' Dashboard is set up so that users can control the personal settings in each Google product that they use. Google said the tool supports more than 20 products, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts and Google Latitude. Consumer Watchdog said in a statement today that it applauds Google for giving users a single place to go to manage their data. But at the same tine, the group also came down hard on Google, contending that it needs to give users a vehicle for stopping the company from collecting any personal data."

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Ubiquiti Announces RouterStation Challenge Winners
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '09 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's congratulations-to-you deptartment:
Riskable writes "Remember that $200,000 Contest For a Better Open-WRT Wireless Router GUI? Today Ubiquiti posted the winning entries to their support wiki. The grand prize was a tie between PyCI (written by yours truly) and NETSHe with OpenNET as the runner up. Source code and firmware images for each entry are available for download on their respective wiki pages. I'll be setting up a project page for PyCI (and l2sh) soon to make it a participatory open source product. Even if you don't have a RouterStation, or don't care about OpenWRT, there are numerous Python modules and tools inside of PyCI that could prove useful to other open source projects (e.g. iptables.py can read/interpret over 400 permutations of the iptables command). I'll also be checking the comments if anyone has any questions for me about PyCI or the contest in general. BTW: I'd like to thank all the commenters in the original article that insinuated that the technical requirements were impossible and/or that making a GUI to configure such complex things is a waste of time. I read every one and I wouldn't have made it such an obsession otherwise!"

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