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June 29, 2006

An anonymous reader writes "Wondering why the RIAA hasn't announced 800 lawsuits per month any more? Well, they're still suing people, but have developed a new strategy according to Slyck.com. Instead the RIAA is looking to be more localized, focused and personal with its new strategy." As another reader puts it, the RIAA "will opt to file lawsuits on a weekly basis and work with local media to give it a more geographically relevant feel." Perhaps they'll also pick their targets a bit more carefully.

Categories: Geek'd Out
An anonymous reader writes "The Zypad is a new arm-wearable computer right out of Futurama. It can run Windows CE or Linux and has a 400 MHz CPU, 64MB Flash memory, 3.5 inch screen. The Zypad leaves the user's hands free — it has no keyboard, just a touchscreen and navigation keys. Voice recognition is 'being developed.' It turns on only when you look at it, so it saves power. It has GPS and Bluetooth/WLAN/GSM connectivity. Price: 1000 Euro." Too bad it's not yet available for sale — that screen looks more useful than the one on IBM's Linux watch from 2000.

Categories: Geek'd Out
Brandon Miniman writes "Navman has brought to market the first in-car navigation system with a built in camera, the iCN 750. The camera lets you take pictures of places you've been. Geographical coordinates are then assigned to each picture, so that you can bring up a gallery, and choose your destination by clicking on a picture." Add to this an always-on, all-sides video camera to document that it was the minivan that strayed into your lane, and it'll be even better.

Categories: Geek'd Out
Turtlewind writes "A survey by iResearch China shows that the Chinese Government's "anti obsession" measures, reported on Slashdot last year, are being bypassed by MMORPG gamers. While the controls - which force operators of popular games such as World of Warcraft to impose penalties on players who play for more than three to five hours a day - were welcomed by almost half of Chinese gamers, a core of around 14% of players admitted to registering multiple accounts to get around the restrictions. Meanwhile, the government seems to be taking a different approach to the problem of gaming addiction, planning a campaign over the upcoming summer vacation to increase enforcement of laws banning minors from internet cafes."

Categories: Geek'd Out
Google Checkout Launched Roy van Rijn informs us that Google's new online payment system is now online. "Under the name Checkout, the venture offers an incorporated manner to search, advertise and pay. If you buy something on Checkout, 2% and $0.20 go to Google. Paypal, the biggest competitor uses 1,9% and $0,30. Analysts compare Google/Paypal to for example Visa/Mastercard living peacefully together, while others predict the end of Paypal." W3K adds "You can use your Google account to store an unlimited number of credit cards and addresses. The service allows you to track all your orders and shipping in one place," and adds a link to a quick video tour.

Categories: Geek'd Out
54mc writes "APL reports that Canadian Scientists have created the first device able to regrow teeth and bones. The researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton filed patents earlier this month in the United States for the tool based on low-intensity pulsed ultrasound technology after testing it on a dozen dental patients in Canada."

Categories: Geek'd Out
spensdawg writes "Here is an interesting interview with John Romero on Games.net. He gets into the original design philosophy for the first Doom games, what he would have done differently, and his plans for the future. Worth watching if you want to know a little more about the mad scientist behind Doom." A warning: this is a video interview

Categories: Geek'd Out
Section_Ei8ht writes "Spanish Congress has made it a civil offense to download anything via p2p networks, and a criminal offense for ISP's to allow users to file-share, even if the use is fair. There is also to be a tax on all forms of blank media, including flash memory drives. I guess the move towards distributing films legally via BitTorrent is a no go in Spain." Here is our coverage of the tax portion of this law.

Categories: Geek'd Out
InfoWorldMike writes "Before Vista is even out of the gates, a Microsoft exec was talking Wednesday about Windows' replacement at a VC conference. Speaking at The Venture Forum conference, Microsoft's Bryan Barnett, a program manager for external research programs in the Microsoft Research group, said multicore architectures are of particular interest when weighing what to put in future operating systems at the company. "Taking full advantage of the processing power that those multicore architectures potentially make available requires operating systems and development tools that don't exist largely today," Barnett said. Well, with Vista in the pipeline as long as it has been, you must admit it is not surprising Microsoft is taking the long-term view. And it won't be built overnight: There is no timetable for a Windows successor right now. But early work on this effort has not yet been organized, with five or six small projects afoot in various places throughout the company, Barnett said."

Categories: Geek'd Out
Anonymous Coward writes "Here is a look at 10 current IT and network research projects, from active cookies to faster wireless LANs to the latest anti-phishing schemes, that could be making their way out of labs and into companies and homes soon." Still no virtual sandwich I see.

Categories: Geek'd Out

June 28, 2006

Most of commenting readers scoffed at Kent State University's new policy (noted on Slashdot yesterday) forbidding athletes from using profiles on Facebook. The arguments offered (legal, moral, and practical) mostly berated the school for limiting their students to no good end, but some thought-provoking comments exposed at least some complexities which make the issue less clear-cut than a straightforward case either of censorship or contractual freedom. Read on for a sampling of the comments which typified the conversation.

Categories: Geek'd Out
dylanduck quotes a NewScientist.com article that says "We all know the scene: the coffee room with the "honesty box" where you pay for your drinks - or not, because no one is watching. But researchers have discovered that merely a picture of watching eyes trebled the amount of money paid." That's a pretty deep-rooted fear of getting caught, which could be useful for crime prevention perhaps. But whose eyes?"

Categories: Geek'd Out
Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Distributed computing could help researchers studying climate change or Alzheimer's, but SETI@home's search for extra-terrestrial intelligence continues to dominate. Wall Street Journal columnist Lee Gomes says that's a big waste, especially because SETI doesn't seem likely to yield results: 'This continued fascination with living-room SETI comes as professional setiologists concede that early assumptions about the search for intelligent life -- notably those popularized by astronomer Carl Sagan -- have proven naively optimistic. For instance, it's now conceded there is little chance of detecting the "leaking" transmissions of another planet -- its version of "I Love Lucy" broadcasts. Those signals are too weak to stand out from the universe's background noise.' Gomes also traces the origins of SETI@home to Berkeley computer scientist David P. Anderson, and explains that users stuck with the ET search rather than medical investigations in part because of nationalistic competition. Yet Anderson no longer runs SETI@home. 'Instead, he donates his spare computer power to a global warming project. But he doesn't presume to tell others what they ought to be doing with their CPU cycles.'"

Categories: Geek'd Out
An anonymous reader writes "Stung by a series of data losses or disclosures at federal agencies over the past month, the White House is requiring all agencies to follow new guidelines when allowing employees to carry sensitive data on laptops or access the information from afar, according to the Washington Post. From the article: 'To comply with the new policy, agencies will have to encrypt all data on laptop or handheld computers unless the data are classified as "non-sensitive" by an agency's deputy director. Agency employees also would need two-factor authentication -- a password plus a physical device such as a key card -- to reach a work database through a remote connection, which must be automatically severed after 30 minutes of inactivity. Finally, agencies would have to begin keeping detailed records of any information downloaded from databases that hold sensitive information, and verify that those records are deleted within 90 days unless their use is still required.'"

Categories: Geek'd Out
ThinSkin writes "In the first of a three part series covering the people behind the new DirectX 10, ExtremeTech interviews Microsoft's David Blythe and Chris Donahue to discuss the development, decisions, and future of the new API. They answer several questions such as how different it will be than DX9, why it will only be for Vista (and not for XP), and when we might be able to see it."

Categories: Geek'd Out
1sockchuck writes "BitTorrent Inc. is boosting its network capacity as it prepares to become a centralized hub for legal video content. In May, BitTorrent announced a deal with Warner Brothers to distribute its TV and movie content via the BT platform. It has now lined up IP transit for streaming videos at one gigabit per second."

Categories: Geek'd Out
Zenitram asks: "I am a lead technician at a company that repairs computers for various vendors. Many of our systems are from Best Buy's Geek Squad. Based on the systems Geek Squad sends us, it makes me wonder what, if anything, do they actually do? We get systems that have issues that we simply shouldn't have to work on, like: installing device drivers, OS reloads, and reseting CRUs (Customer Removable Units). Additionally, we get systems that are misdiagnosed such as: bad hard drive when a system has faulty RAM; no POST when it simply won't boot into Windows; or no boot when it won't power on at all. So, what is the scope of technical repair that Geek Squad techs do?"

Categories: Geek'd Out
Poker Forums writes "Just read on Zeropaid that Spain has recently voted in compulsory copyright licensing, levying a tax on all blank media. This includes cd-r, dvd-r, flash media, printers, scanners, cell phones, everything. The tax will be collected by the government and 'given to the copyright holder.'"

Categories: Geek'd Out
jonging asks: "It is common knowledge that an underground power grid is less susceptible to the effect of a large thunderstorm. The American Transmission Company cites numerous reasons why it (and other power companies I assume) do not bury their transmission lines underground (e.g. environmental concerns, cost of installation and repair, etc.). Exactly how detrimental are underground transmission lines to the environment? Wouldn't the time spent without a power outage generate more than enough revenue to offset initial costs? Aren't the need for repairs in cities with successful underground power grids rare?" The linked article goes into extensive detail about the disadvantages in -initial costs- of putting in underground lines, but doesn't go into any detail about the maintenance costs of either option. With storms getting worse and worse (Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia have weathered torrential downfalls this week), might underground lines prove more resistant to storm-related power outages?

Categories: Geek'd Out

June 27, 2006

An anonymous reader writes "Intel is planning on selling off their XScale applications processor and 3G processor businesses for around $600 million to Marvell. From the article: 'Marvell is best known for its NIC (network interface card) chips, including wireless chipsets, and for other embedded, network infrastructure, and storage processors. The company has not previously competed in the market for mobile phone chipsets. However, it says it knows how to produce chipsets for high-volume consumer applications, which it has done for 11 years. Marvell earlier this year acquired a UT Starcom business unit in China that is working on mobile phone processors.'"

Categories: Geek'd Out


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