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[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 14:32:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Engineering Students Build Robotic Foosball Players

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Andre writes "As their final-year project, an eight-man team of fourth-year electrical and computer-engineering students at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, constructed a robot-controlled, motor-and-actuator foosball table capable of playing against human opponents in a two-on-two fashion; one mechanical player controls two defensive rods (goalies and full-backs) and the other controls two offensive rods (half-backs and forwards). They considered the computers 'medium-skilled' players in that they were very competitive against beginners and fairly competitive against intermediates."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/a4G1EaJNg2s/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 15:47:00 EDT from rss

Subject: How Do I Put an Invention Into the Public Domain?

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Nefarious Wheel writes "I have a couple of inventions — mechanical devices, based on physical principles — that I believe could transform certain aspects of industry. The trouble is, I can't afford to file patents, and even if I could, I'm not sure that would be the best way for these devices to be made available as widely as I'd like. Is there some way to publish the details of these innovations in the public domain in such a way as to protect them from being snaffled away by some patent troll? I'd be happy with a contribution (or simple attribution) model for recompense, which could be zero to whatever, but that's not as important to me as getting the ideas out there for anyone who wants to use them. This isn't copyright, and I know of no patent equivalent to Creative Commons. In short, what's the best way to protect an invention against someone filing a patent on it, short of patenting the device yourself? Can this be done?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Oq13ubPpSTs/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 17:03:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Phoenix Police Seize PCs of a Blogger Critical of the Department

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

logicassasin sends in a story about a blogger in Phoenix, AZ, who runs a site that is critical of the local police department. The police recently raided his home and seized his computer hardware. "Jeff Pataky, who runs Bad Phoenix Cops, said the officers confiscated three computers, routers, modems, hard drives, memory cards and everything necessary to continue blogging. The 41-year-old software engineer said they also confiscated numerous personal files and documents relating to a pending lawsuit he has against the department alleging harassment — which he says makes it obvious the raid was an act of retaliation." A local publication quotes Pataky saying, "We have heard internally from our police sources that they purposefully did this to stop me... They took my cable modem and wireless router. Anyone worth their salt knows nothing is stored in the cable modem."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/d2SEMDC96bI/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 18:16:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Three Mile Island Memories

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

theodp writes "Thirty years after the partial nuclear core meltdown at Three Mile Island, Robert Cringely describes the terrible TMI user interface, blaming a confluence of bad design decisions — some made by Congress — for making the accident vastly worse. While computers could be used to monitor the reactor, US law prohibited using computers to directly control nuclear power plants — men would do that. So, when the (one) computer noticed a problem, it would set off audible and visual alarms, and send a problem description to a line printer. Simple, except the computer noticed 700 things wrong in the first few minutes of the TMI accident, causing the one audible alarm to ring continuously until it was shut off as useless. The one visual alarm blinked for days, indicating nothing useful. And the print queue was quickly flooded with 700 error reports followed by thousands of updates and corrections, making it almost instantly hours behind. The operators had to guess at what the problem was."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/xgHoPPdzAYY/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 19:20:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Windows 95 Almost Autodetected Floppy Disks

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

bonch writes "Windows 95 almost shipped with a technique for detecting whether a floppy disk was inserted without spinning up the drive. Microsoft's floppy driver developer discovered a sequence of commands that detected a disk without spinup--unfortunately, unspecified behavior in the floppy hardware specification meant that half the drives worked one way and half the other, each giving opposite results for the detection routine. Microsoft considered a dialog prompting the user to insert a disk to 'train' the routine, but the idea was scrapped."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/jJCf0ijBdMk/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 20:23:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Coders, Your Days Are Numbered

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister argues that communication skills, not coding skills, are a developer's greatest asset in a bear economy. 'Too many software development teams are still staffed like secretarial pools. Ideas are generated at the top and then passed downward through general managers, product managers, technical leads, and team leads. Objectives are carved up into deliverables, which are parceled off to coders, often overseas,' McAllister writes. 'The idea that this structure can be sustainable, when the U.S. private sector shed three-quarters of a million jobs in March 2009 alone, is simple foolishness.' Instead, companies should emulate the open source model of development, shifting decision-making power to the few developers with the deepest architectural understanding of, and closest interaction with, the code. And this shift will require managers to look beyond résumés 'choked with acronyms and lists of technologies' to find those who 'can understand, influence, and guide development efforts, rather than simply taking dictation.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/-GRV3zWRuiw/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 21:30:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Data Center Raid About Unpaid Telco Fees

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

craig writes "CBS11 News reports that the raid on Core IP networks is in the result of an investigation into unpaid telco access fees paid by CLECs and VoIP carriers to terminate calls on their networks. They also report that this raid is linked to the March 12th raid on Crydon Technology's datacenter, which also hosted VOIP providers. Anyone in the telco business will tell you access fees to other carriers are a total mess and lots of carriers have unpaid balances out there. It gives you the feeling that the FBI is acting as a collection agency for AT&T and Verizon."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/x2UyC_yoJfI/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 22:32:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Appeals Court Rules Against Google On Keyword Ads

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

Eric Goldman writes "The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Google in Rescuecom v. Google (PDF), a trademark infringement lawsuit over Google's keyword advertising practices. The court said: "The Complaint's allegations that Google's recommendation and sale of Rescuecom's mark to Google's advertisers, so as to trigger the appearance of their advertisements and links in a manner likely to cause consumer confusion when a Google user launches a search of Rescuecom's trademark, properly alleges a claim under the Lanham Act." While this result hampers Google's ability to end trademark lawsuits early, the case is still at an early stage and Google could still win."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/F5DuPJgp4mQ/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 23:37:00 EDT from rss

Subject: No More OpenMoko Phone

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

TuxMobil writes "Bad news for FreeRunner fans: development of the first Open Source smartphone will be discontinued. (English translation via Google) OpenMoko executive director Sean Moss-Pulz said at OpenExpo in Bern (Switzerland) that the number of staffers will be reduced to be able to stay in business. OpenMoko had high intentions: the offspring from Taiwanese electronic manufacturer First International Computer (FIC) wanted to produce an Open Source smartphone. Not only with Open Source software pre-installed, but with free drivers and open specifications of the hardware components. This would give programmers as well as users complete freedom. Up to now the manufacturer has produced two models, the first has sold 3,000 units and the second one 10,000. Both models were targeted primarily to developers. From the beginning, OpenMoko had to fight with different problems. The smartphones came onto the market after a huge delay. Some phones came with construction defects. Also, changes in the team slowed down the development. Software development for the current smartphone will be continued but with fewer resources, Moss-Pultz said. He still hopes the community will support the FreeRunner."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/S8Zom-mjrXI/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 05 2009 00:43:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Chrome EULA Reserves the Right To Filter Your Web

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

An anonymous reader writes "Recently, I decided to try out Google Chrome. With my usual mistrust of Google, I decided to carefully read the EULA before installing the software. I paused when I stumbled upon this section: '7.3 Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service. For some of the Services, Google may provide tools to filter out explicit sexual content. These tools include the SafeSearch preference settings (see google.com/help/customize.html#safe). In addition, there are commercially available services and software to limit access to material that you may find objectionable.' Does this mean that Google reserves the right to filter my web browsing experience in Chrome (without my consent to boot)? Is this a carry-over from the EULAs of Google's other services (gmail, blogger etc), or is this something more significant? One would think that after the previous EULA affair with Chrome, Google would try to sound a little less draconian."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/t2Uoe2155P4/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 05 2009 03:20:00 EDT from rss

Subject: ARM --- Heretic In the Church of Intel, Moore's Law

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

ericatcw writes "For 30+ years, the PC industry has been as obsessed with under-the-hood performance: MIPs, MHz, transistors per chip. Blame Moore's Law, which effectively laid down the Gospel of marketing PCs like sports cars. But with mobile PCs and green computing coming to the fore, enter ARM, which is challenging the Gospel according to Moore with chips that are low-powered in both senses of the word. Some of its most popular CPUs have 100,000 transistors, fewer than a 12 MHz Intel 286 CPU from 1982 (download PDF). But they also consume as little as a quarter of a watt, which is why netbook makers are embracing them. It's "megahertz per milli-watt,"that counts, according to ARM exec Ian Drew, who predicts that 6-10 ARM-based netbooks running Linux and costing just around $200 should arrive this year starting in July."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/42oa4dK6FBQ/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 05 2009 03:20:00 EDT from rss

Subject: ARM --- Heretic In the Church of Intel, Moore's Law

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

ericatcw writes "For 30+ years, the PC industry has been as obsessed with under-the-hood performance: MIPs, MHz, transistors per chip. Blame Moore's Law, which effectively laid down the Gospel of marketing PCs like sports cars. But with mobile PCs and green computing coming to the fore, enter ARM, which is challenging the Gospel according to Moore with chips that are low-powered in both senses of the word. Some of its most popular CPUs have 100,000 transistors, fewer than a 12 MHz Intel 286 CPU from 1982 (download PDF). But they also consume as little as a quarter of a watt, which is why netbook makers are embracing them. It's "megahertz per milli-watt,"that counts, according to ARM exec Ian Drew, who predicts that 6-10 ARM-based netbooks running Linux and costing just around $200 should arrive this year starting in July."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/42oa4dK6FBQ/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 05 2009 00:43:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Chrome EULA Reserves the Right To Filter Your Web

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

An anonymous reader writes "Recently, I decided to try out Google Chrome. With my usual mistrust of Google, I decided to carefully read the EULA before installing the software. I paused when I stumbled upon this section: '7.3 Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service. For some of the Services, Google may provide tools to filter out explicit sexual content. These tools include the SafeSearch preference settings (see google.com/help/customize.html#safe). In addition, there are commercially available services and software to limit access to material that you may find objectionable.' Does this mean that Google reserves the right to filter my web browsing experience in Chrome (without my consent to boot)? Is this a carry-over from the EULAs of Google's other services (gmail, blogger etc), or is this something more significant? One would think that after the previous EULA affair with Chrome, Google would try to sound a little less draconian."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/t2Uoe2155P4/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 23:37:00 EDT from rss

Subject: No More OpenMoko Phone

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

TuxMobil writes "Bad news for FreeRunner fans: development of the first Open Source smartphone will be discontinued. (English translation via Google) OpenMoko executive director Sean Moss-Pulz said at OpenExpo in Bern (Switzerland) that the number of staffers will be reduced to be able to stay in business. OpenMoko had high intentions: the offspring from Taiwanese electronic manufacturer First International Computer (FIC) wanted to produce an Open Source smartphone. Not only with Open Source software pre-installed, but with free drivers and open specifications of the hardware components. This would give programmers as well as users complete freedom. Up to now the manufacturer has produced two models, the first has sold 3,000 units and the second one 10,000. Both models were targeted primarily to developers. From the beginning, OpenMoko had to fight with different problems. The smartphones came onto the market after a huge delay. Some phones came with construction defects. Also, changes in the team slowed down the development. Software development for the current smartphone will be continued but with fewer resources, Moss-Pultz said. He still hopes the community will support the FreeRunner."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/S8Zom-mjrXI/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 22:32:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Appeals Court Rules Against Google On Keyword Ads

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

Eric Goldman writes "The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Google in Rescuecom v. Google (PDF), a trademark infringement lawsuit over Google's keyword advertising practices. The court said: "The Complaint's allegations that Google's recommendation and sale of Rescuecom's mark to Google's advertisers, so as to trigger the appearance of their advertisements and links in a manner likely to cause consumer confusion when a Google user launches a search of Rescuecom's trademark, properly alleges a claim under the Lanham Act." While this result hampers Google's ability to end trademark lawsuits early, the case is still at an early stage and Google could still win."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/F5DuPJgp4mQ/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 21:30:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Data Center Raid About Unpaid Telco Fees

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

craig writes "CBS11 News reports that the raid on Core IP networks is in the result of an investigation into unpaid telco access fees paid by CLECs and VoIP carriers to terminate calls on their networks. They also report that this raid is linked to the March 12th raid on Crydon Technology's datacenter, which also hosted VOIP providers. Anyone in the telco business will tell you access fees to other carriers are a total mess and lots of carriers have unpaid balances out there. It gives you the feeling that the FBI is acting as a collection agency for AT&T and Verizon."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/x2UyC_yoJfI/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 20:23:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Coders, Your Days Are Numbered

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister argues that communication skills, not coding skills, are a developer's greatest asset in a bear economy. 'Too many software development teams are still staffed like secretarial pools. Ideas are generated at the top and then passed downward through general managers, product managers, technical leads, and team leads. Objectives are carved up into deliverables, which are parceled off to coders, often overseas,' McAllister writes. 'The idea that this structure can be sustainable, when the U.S. private sector shed three-quarters of a million jobs in March 2009 alone, is simple foolishness.' Instead, companies should emulate the open source model of development, shifting decision-making power to the few developers with the deepest architectural understanding of, and closest interaction with, the code. And this shift will require managers to look beyond résumés 'choked with acronyms and lists of technologies' to find those who 'can understand, influence, and guide development efforts, rather than simply taking dictation.'" Update: 04/04 19:52 GMT by T : InfoWorld's link to the archived version of the story on open source development no longer works; updated with Google's cached version.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/-GRV3zWRuiw/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 19:20:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Windows 95 Almost Autodetected Floppy Disks

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

bonch writes "Windows 95 almost shipped with a technique for detecting whether a floppy disk was inserted without spinning up the drive. Microsoft's floppy driver developer discovered a sequence of commands that detected a disk without spinup--unfortunately, unspecified behavior in the floppy hardware specification meant that half the drives worked one way and half the other, each giving opposite results for the detection routine. Microsoft considered a dialog prompting the user to insert a disk to 'train' the routine, but the idea was scrapped."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/jJCf0ijBdMk/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 18:16:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Three Mile Island Memories

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

theodp writes "Thirty years after the partial nuclear core meltdown at Three Mile Island, Robert Cringely describes the terrible TMI user interface, blaming a confluence of bad design decisions — some made by Congress — for making the accident vastly worse. While computers could be used to monitor the reactor, US law prohibited using computers to directly control nuclear power plants — men would do that. So, when the (one) computer noticed a problem, it would set off audible and visual alarms, and send a problem description to a line printer. Simple, except the computer noticed 700 things wrong in the first few minutes of the TMI accident, causing the one audible alarm to ring continuously until it was shut off as useless. The one visual alarm blinked for days, indicating nothing useful. And the print queue was quickly flooded with 700 error reports followed by thousands of updates and corrections, making it almost instantly hours behind. The operators had to guess at what the problem was."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/xgHoPPdzAYY/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 04 2009 17:03:00 EDT from rss

Subject: Phoenix Police Seize PCs of a Blogger Critical of the Department

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

logicassasin sends in a story about a blogger in Phoenix, AZ, who runs a site that is critical of the local police department. The police recently raided his home and seized his computer hardware. "Jeff Pataky, who runs Bad Phoenix Cops, said the officers confiscated three computers, routers, modems, hard drives, memory cards and everything necessary to continue blogging. The 41-year-old software engineer said they also confiscated numerous personal files and documents relating to a pending lawsuit he has against the department alleging harassment — which he says makes it obvious the raid was an act of retaliation." A local publication quotes Pataky saying, "We have heard internally from our police sources that they purposefully did this to stop me... They took my cable modem and wireless router. Anyone worth their salt knows nothing is stored in the cable modem."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/d2SEMDC96bI/article.pl

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