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[#] Sat Apr 25 2009 05:10:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Improving the Abilities of Bionic Arm Patients

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Al writes "Tech Review has an article about the progress being made on prosthetic arms that can be controlled using nerves that once connected to the missing limb via muscles in the chest. Todd Kuiken, director of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Center for Bionic Medicine has pioneered the technique, which has so far given more than 30 patients the ability to control a mechanical prosthetic simply by thinking about moving their old arm. Those who have had the procedure report using their arm to slice hot peppers, open a bag of flour, put on a belt, operate a tape measure, or remove a new tennis ball from a container. The next step is to add sensing capabilities to the arms so that this information can be fed back to the reconnected nerves."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/5bJj7JDj0-U/article.pl

[#] Sat Apr 25 2009 03:09:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Gamefly Complains of Poor Treatment From USPS

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Gamefly, the popular video game rental service that operates through the mail, has filed a complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission about the high number of games that are lost or stolen in the mail. The complaint (PDF) asserts that the postal service's automated sorting machines have a tendency to break a small percentage of discs, and that preferential treatment is given to DVD rental services like Netflix and Blockbuster. "According to Gamefly's numbers, it mails out 590,000 games and receives 510,000 games back from subscribers a month. The company sees, depending on the mailer, between one and two percent of its games broken in transit. ... Even if you assume the number is one percent, and a game costs $50 to replace, that's an astounding $295,000 a month in lost merchandise. ... That's not the only issue — games are also stolen in transit, which has lead to the arrest of 19 Postal Service employees."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/ETOoKC6snlY/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 02:09:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: Analyzing (All of) Star Trek With Face Recognition

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An anonymous reader writes "Accurate face recognition is coming. Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition, a face recognition start-up spun out from Carnegie Mellon University, has posted a tech demo showing an analysis of the entire original Star Trek series using face recognition. The online visualization includes various annotated clips of the series with clickable thumbnails of each character's appearance. They also have a separate page showing the full data of all the prominent characters in every episode including extracting thumbnails of each appearance." Their software can recognize frontal or near-frontal face instances.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/_kZcv2Wmxqc/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 04:04:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: Music Copyright In EU Extended To 70 Years

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rastos1 writes "The European Parliament extended the copyright in the EU for the performers of musical works from 50 to 70 years. The legislation will be reviewed in 3 years. The European Commission will consider extending the scope to audiovisual works too." So performers will collect for 20 more years from the date of performance; composers' rights already extend to 70 years beyond their deaths.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/qZyXPo8MR64/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 07:05:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: Bringing Up Bill

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theodp writes "Over at the WSJ, Bill Gates Sr. describes what it took to turn an unruly 12-year-old into Microsoft's founder and the world's richest man. This included throwing a glass of cold water in the boy's face when he was having a particularly heated argument with his mother at the dinner table. 'He was nasty,' says Libby Armintrout, Bill's younger sister. 'I'm at war with my parents over who is in control,' Bill Gates recalls telling a therapist, who told his parents that their son would ultimately win the battle for independence, and their best course of action was to ease up on him. The rest, as they say, is history. The accompanying Gates Family Album is also worth a look."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/ZVgNsi72oHw/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 07:05:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: Bringing Up Bill

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

theodp writes "Over at the WSJ, Bill Gates Sr. describes what it took to turn an unruly 12-year-old into Microsoft's founder and the world's richest man. This included throwing a glass of cold water in the boy's face when he was having a particularly heated argument with his mother at the dinner table. 'He was nasty,' says Libby Armintrout, Bill's younger sister. 'I'm at war with my parents over who is in control,' Bill Gates recalls telling a therapist, who told his parents that their son would ultimately win the battle for independence, and their best course of action was to ease up on him. The rest, as they say, is history. The accompanying Gates Family Album is also worth a look."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/ZVgNsi72oHw/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 04:04:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: Music Copyright In EU Extended To 70 Years

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

rastos1 writes "The European Parliament extended the copyright in the EU for the performers of musical works from 50 to 70 years. The legislation will be reviewed in 3 years. The European Commission will consider extending the scope to audiovisual works too." So performers will collect for 20 more years from the date of performance; composers' rights already extend to 70 years beyond their deaths.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/qZyXPo8MR64/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 02:09:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: Analyzing (All of) Star Trek With Face Recognition

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

An anonymous reader writes "Accurate face recognition is coming. Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition, a face recognition start-up spun out from Carnegie Mellon University, has posted a tech demo showing an analysis of the entire original Star Trek series using face recognition. The online visualization includes various annotated clips of the series with clickable thumbnails of each character's appearance. They also have a separate page showing the full data of all the prominent characters in every episode including extracting thumbnails of each appearance." Their software can recognize frontal or near-frontal face instances.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/_kZcv2Wmxqc/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 10:06:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: New Material For Fast-Change Sunglasses, Data Storage

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

sciencehabit writes "'Researchers have developed a material that almost instantaneously (30 ms) changes from clear to dark blue when exposed to ultraviolet light, and it just as quickly reverts to clear when the light is turned off. The new material, one of a class called photochromics, could be useful in optical data storage as well as in super-fancy sunglasses.'" A comment to the article notes some of the potential dangers of quick-change sunglasses.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



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

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 13:09:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: The Economist On Television Over Broadband

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zxjio recommends a pair of articles in The Economist discussing television over broadband, and the effects of DVR use. "Cable-television companies make money by selling packages of channels. The average American household pays $700 a year for over 100 channels of cable television but watches no more than 15. Most would welcome the chance to buy only those channels they want to watch, rather than pay for expensive packages of programming they are largely not interested in. They would prefer greater variety, too — something the internet offers in abundance. A surprising amount of video is available free from websites like Hulu and YouTube, or for a modest fee from iTunes, Netflix Watch Instantly and Amazon Video on Demand. ... Consumers' new-found freedom to choose has struck fear into the hearts of the cable companies. They have been trying to slow internet televisions steady march into the living room by rolling out DOCSIS 3 at a snails pace and then stinging customers for its services. Another favorite trick has been to cap the amount of data that can be downloaded, or to charge extortionately by the megabyte. Yet the measures to suffocate internet television being taken by the cable companies may already be too late. A torrent of innovative start-ups, not seen since the dot-com mania of a decade ago, is flooding the market with technology for supplying internet television to the living room." And from the second article on DVR usage patterns: "Families with DVRs seem to spend 15-20% of their viewing time watching pre-recorded shows, and skip only about half of all advertisements. This means only about 5% of television is time-shifted and less than 3% of all advertisements are skipped. Mitigating that loss, people with DVRs watch more television. ... Early adopters of DVRs used them a lot — not surprisingly, since they paid so much for them. Later adopters use them much less (about two-thirds less, according to a recent study)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/UWnY9S2MZZA/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 14:28:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Cybersquatting and Social Media

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

Earthquake Retrofit writes "Brian Krebs has a story about cybersquatting on social networking sites. He cites cases of people being impersonated and reports: 'A site called knowem.com allows you to see whether your name or whatever nickname you favor is already registered at any of some 120 social networking sites on the Web today. For a $64.95 fee, the site will register all available accounts on your behalf, a manual process that it says takes one to five business days. Whether anyone could possibly use and maintain 120 different social networking accounts is beyond my imagination. I would think an automated signup service like knowem.com would be far more useful if there was also a service that people could use to simultaneously update all of these sites with the same or slightly different content.' Is it time to saddle up for a new round of Internet land grabs?" A Schneier blog post earlier this month pointed out a related story about how not establishing yourself on social sites, combined with the frequent lack of validation for friend requests, can provide identity thieves with a tempting target .

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/1JJcpSnpCSo/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 15:46:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: California Family Fights For Privacy, Relief From Cyber-Harassment

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theodp writes "Just days after his daughter Nikki's death in a devastating car crash, real-estate agent Christos Catsouras clicked open an e-mail that appeared to be a property listing. Onto his screen popped his daughter's bloodied face, captioned with the words 'Woohoo Daddy! Hey daddy, I'm still alive.' Now he and his wife are attempting to stop strangers from displaying the grisly images of their daughter — an effort that has transformed Nikki's death into a case about privacy, cyber-harassment and image control. The images of Nikki, including one of her nearly-decapitated head drooping out the shattered car window, were taken as a routine part of a fatal accident response and went viral after being leaked by two CHP dispatchers. 'Putting these photos on the Internet,' says the family's attorney, 'was akin to placing them in every mailbox in the world.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/sPdZcxmTp48/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 17:07:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Irish Reject E-Voting, Go Back To Paper

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Death Metal tips news that the Irish government has announced their decision to abandon e-voting and return to a paper-based system. "Ireland has already put about $67 million into building out its e-voting infrastructure, but the country has apparently decided that it would be even more expensive to keep going with the system than it would be to just scrap it altogether." John Gormley, Ireland's Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, said, "It is clear from consideration of the Report of the Commission on Electronic Voting that significant additional costs would arise to advance electronic voting in Ireland. ...the assurance of public confidence in the democratic system is of paramount importance and it is vital to bring clarity to the present situation." He added that he still thinks there is a need for electoral reform.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/yzKpQi91Pks/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 18:28:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Taking Gaming To the Next Billion Players

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Hugh Pickens writes "June marks the launch across Brazil of Zeebo, a console that aims to tap an enormous new market for videogaming for the billion-strong, emerging middle classes of such countries as Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and China. Zeebo uses the same Qualcomm chipsets contained in high-end smartphones, together with 1GB of flash memory, three USB slots and a proprietary dual analogue gamepad. It plugs into a TV and outputs at a 640 x 480 pixel resolution. 'The key thing is we're using off-the-shelf components,' says Mike Yuen, director of the gaming group at Qualcomm. This approach means that, while Zeebo can be priced appropriately for its markets — it will launch at US $199 in Brazil compared to around US $250 (plus another US $50 for a mod chip to play pirated games) for a PlayStation 2 in the region — and next year the company plans to drop the price of the console to $149. But the most important part of the Zeebo ecosystem is its wireless digital distribution that gets around the low penetration of wired broadband in many of these countries, negates the cost of dealing with packaged retail goods, and removes the risk of piracy, with the games priced at about $10 locked to the consoles they're downloaded to. Zeebo is not meant to directly compete with powerful devices like Sony's PlayStation 3, Microsoft's Xbox 360, or the Wii. 'In Latin America, where there's a strong gaming culture, that's what we'll be, but in India and China we can be more educational or lifestyle-oriented,' says Yuen. One Indian gaming blog predicts Zeebo will struggle, in part due to the cultural reluctance toward digital distribution and also the lack of piratable games."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



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

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 18:28:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Taking Gaming To the Next Billion Players

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

Hugh Pickens writes "June marks the launch across Brazil of Zeebo, a console that aims to tap an enormous new market for videogaming for the billion-strong, emerging middle classes of such countries as Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and China. Zeebo uses the same Qualcomm chipsets contained in high-end smartphones, together with 1GB of flash memory, three USB slots and a proprietary dual analogue gamepad. It plugs into a TV and outputs at a 640 x 480 pixel resolution. 'The key thing is we're using off-the-shelf components,' says Mike Yuen, director of the gaming group at Qualcomm. This approach means that, while Zeebo can be priced appropriately for its markets — it will launch at US $199 in Brazil compared to around US $250 (plus another US $50 for a mod chip to play pirated games) for a PlayStation 2 in the region — and next year the company plans to drop the price of the console to $149. But the most important part of the Zeebo ecosystem is its wireless digital distribution that gets around the low penetration of wired broadband in many of these countries, negates the cost of dealing with packaged retail goods, and removes the risk of piracy, with the games priced at about $10 locked to the consoles they're downloaded to. Zeebo is not meant to directly compete with powerful devices like Sony's PlayStation 3, Microsoft's Xbox 360, or the Wii. 'In Latin America, where there's a strong gaming culture, that's what we'll be, but in India and China we can be more educational or lifestyle-oriented,' says Yuen. One Indian gaming blog predicts Zeebo will struggle, in part due to the cultural reluctance toward digital distribution and also the lack of piratable games."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



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

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 17:07:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Irish Reject E-Voting, Go Back To Paper

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

Death Metal tips news that the Irish government has announced their decision to abandon e-voting and return to a paper-based system. "Ireland has already put about $67 million into building out its e-voting infrastructure, but the country has apparently decided that it would be even more expensive to keep going with the system than it would be to just scrap it altogether." John Gormley, Ireland's Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, said, "It is clear from consideration of the Report of the Commission on Electronic Voting that significant additional costs would arise to advance electronic voting in Ireland. ...the assurance of public confidence in the democratic system is of paramount importance and it is vital to bring clarity to the present situation." He added that he still thinks there is a need for electoral reform.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/yzKpQi91Pks/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 15:46:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: California Family Fights For Privacy, Relief From Cyber-Harassment

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

theodp writes "Just days after his daughter Nikki's death in a devastating car crash, real-estate agent Christos Catsouras clicked open an e-mail that appeared to be a property listing. Onto his screen popped his daughter's bloodied face, captioned with the words 'Woohoo Daddy! Hey daddy, I'm still alive.' Now he and his wife are attempting to stop strangers from displaying the grisly images of their daughter — an effort that has transformed Nikki's death into a case about privacy, cyber-harassment and image control. The images of Nikki, including one of her nearly-decapitated head drooping out the shattered car window, were taken as a routine part of a fatal accident response and went viral after being leaked by two CHP dispatchers. 'Putting these photos on the Internet,' says the family's attorney, 'was akin to placing them in every mailbox in the world.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/sPdZcxmTp48/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 14:28:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Cybersquatting and Social Media

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

Earthquake Retrofit writes "Brian Krebs has a story about cybersquatting on social networking sites. He cites cases of people being impersonated and reports: 'A site called knowem.com allows you to see whether your name or whatever nickname you favor is already registered at any of some 120 social networking sites on the Web today. For a $64.95 fee, the site will register all available accounts on your behalf, a manual process that it says takes one to five business days. Whether anyone could possibly use and maintain 120 different social networking accounts is beyond my imagination. I would think an automated signup service like knowem.com would be far more useful if there was also a service that people could use to simultaneously update all of these sites with the same or slightly different content.' Is it time to saddle up for a new round of Internet land grabs?" A Schneier blog post earlier this month pointed out a related story about how not establishing yourself on social sites, combined with the frequent lack of validation for friend requests, can provide identity thieves with a tempting target .

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/1JJcpSnpCSo/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 13:09:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: The Economist On Television Over Broadband

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

zxjio recommends a pair of articles in The Economist discussing television over broadband, and the effects of DVR use. "Cable-television companies make money by selling packages of channels. The average American household pays $700 a year for over 100 channels of cable television but watches no more than 15. Most would welcome the chance to buy only those channels they want to watch, rather than pay for expensive packages of programming they are largely not interested in. They would prefer greater variety, too — something the internet offers in abundance. A surprising amount of video is available free from websites like Hulu and YouTube, or for a modest fee from iTunes, Netflix Watch Instantly and Amazon Video on Demand. ... Consumers' new-found freedom to choose has struck fear into the hearts of the cable companies. They have been trying to slow internet televisions steady march into the living room by rolling out DOCSIS 3 at a snails pace and then stinging customers for its services. Another favorite trick has been to cap the amount of data that can be downloaded, or to charge extortionately by the megabyte. Yet the measures to suffocate internet television being taken by the cable companies may already be too late. A torrent of innovative start-ups, not seen since the dot-com mania of a decade ago, is flooding the market with technology for supplying internet television to the living room." And from the second article on DVR usage patterns: "Families with DVRs seem to spend 15-20% of their viewing time watching pre-recorded shows, and skip only about half of all advertisements. This means only about 5% of television is time-shifted and less than 3% of all advertisements are skipped. Mitigating that loss, people with DVRs watch more television. ... Early adopters of DVRs used them a lot — not surprisingly, since they paid so much for them. Later adopters use them much less (about two-thirds less, according to a recent study)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/UWnY9S2MZZA/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 26 2009 10:06:00 EDT from kdawson

Subject: New Material For Fast-Change Sunglasses, Data Storage

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

sciencehabit writes "'Researchers have developed a material that almost instantaneously (30 ms) changes from clear to dark blue when exposed to ultraviolet light, and it just as quickly reverts to clear when the light is turned off. The new material, one of a class called photochromics, could be useful in optical data storage as well as in super-fancy sunglasses.'" A comment to the article notes some of the potential dangers of quick-change sunglasses.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



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

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