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+ - 164 Ask Slashdot: When Does Time Tracking Go Too Far?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Hello, fellow Slashdotters. I ask this question anonymously to avoid complete and utter embarrassment that I have not already suffered as a result.

I work in a call center, full time, for a large mail order pharmacy. Recently, as part of their campaign to better track time spent both at and away from our desks, they have started tracking bathroom breaks. They use a Cisco phone system, and there is now a clock out option that says "Bathroom"

My question, Slashdot, is whether or not this is in any way acceptable in a large corporate environment (Around 800 people work at this same pharmacy) and is it even legal? How invasive would this really be considered, and beyond privacy concerns, how are they going to deal with the humiliation that their employees feel as a result of this?

Has this happened to anyway, or is it happening to any of you?"

+ - 213 New Official Worlds Hottest Temperature-> 5

Submitted by tomhath
tomhath (637240) writes "After an in-depth investigation by a team of meteorologists working for the World Meteorological Organization, the official hottest temperature ever recorded (134 F or 56.7 C) has been declared to have occurred in Death Valley...in 1913. The previous record (136.4 F or 58 C) that was recorded in Libya in 1922 was found to be erroneous."
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The Internet

+ - 145 Europe Rationing Last IPv4 Address Block->

Submitted by
Techmeology
Techmeology writes "As IPv4 exhaustion draws ever nearer, European ISPs are now unable to acquire more than a handful (1024) of new IPv4 addresses. The measures are being brought in to ration the last /8 available to RIPE NCC, with 400,000 address previously being allocated every day. In addition to the limit, organizations applying for IPv4 addresses will be required to demonstrate that they are deploying IPv6."
Link to Original Source
Network

+ - 158 Check your phone bill: You're probably being overcharged for data->

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "A recent study conducted by UCLA professor Chunyi Peng shows that carriers generally count data usage correctly, but those customers who commonly use their device in areas with weak signal strength or to stream audio or video are often overcharged. Peng and three other researchers used data gleaned from an app installed on Android smartphones on two different carriers. The issue appears to be in how the system is set up to count data usage. Under the current scenario, data is charged as it is sent from the carrier’s network to the end user. What does not exist is a system to confirm whether the packets are received, and thus preventing charges for unreceived data. Peng demonstrated this in two extreme circumstances. In one case, 450 megabytes of data was charged to an account where not a single bit of it had been received. On the flipside, Peng’s group was able to construct an app which disguised data transfers as DNS requests, which are not counted by the carriers as data usage. Here they were able to transfer 200 megabytes of data without being charged. Overall, the average overcharge is about 5-7% for most users. While that does not seem like much, with unlimited plans gone and data caps in style that could pose potential problems for some heavy data users. Could you be going over your data allotment based on data you never received? It’s quite possible."
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Cellphones

+ - 213 Apple Wins Again — ITC Rules They Didn't Violate Samsung Patents->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A preliminary ruling from the International Trade Commission today found that Apple did not violate four of Samsung's patents in the design of the iPhone. "The patents in the complaint are related to 3G wireless technology, the format of data packets for high-speed transmission, and integrating functions like web surfing with mobile phone functions." The complaint was filed by Samsung in 2011, and a final confirmation is due next January. Apple has similar claims against Samsung awaiting ITC judgment; the preliminary ruling is expected in mid-October."
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Linux

+ - 217 Are commercial games finally going to make it to Linux?-> 1

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Those of us who actively promote Linux as a viable desktop alternative to Windows are often greeted with the following refrain: "Nobody will use Linux because there are no good games." The prevailing wisdom being that the abundance of high-quality, commercial video gaming is a key factor in the market-share dominance that Microsoft Windows enjoys.

And, in all reality, this is somewhat true. So, then, the obvious course of action is to convince the video game publishers and developers of the world that Linux is a viable (if, perhaps, a bit niche) market. And by "viable" I mean one thing and one thing only – "profitable."

Luckily, there have been three high-profile recent examples of Linux users going absolutely nuts over video games, forking over their hard-earned cash in the process: the Humble Indie Bundle (drawing in huge numbers of sales — for a DRM-free product, no less — with sales numbers by Linux users consistently beating out sales to MacOS X users); Canonical's Ubuntu Software Center (where video games make up the top 10 paid software packages); Valve's announcement that it is bringing the Steam store, and community portal, to Linux desktop (specifically Ubuntu).

Will the indie game developers (along with Valve) reap the bulk of the rewards that releasing games on Linux is offering...or will some of the big publishers realize what they're missing out on and join in the fun?"

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Facebook

+ - 156 Odd Things You Find In Your Facebook Data Dump->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "Taking advantage of recent EU privacy rulings that apply to Facebook because the company's international HQ is in low-tax Ireland, Loek Essers managed to download all the data Facebook holds on him, and found some weird stuff. For instance, listed under his interests are two cities — one in Poland, one in Australia — that he's never heard of."
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Wireless Networking

+ - 190 Intel Demos 7Gpbs Wireless Docking->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Intel for the first time demonstrated the Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) docking specification using an Ultrabook, which was able to achieve 7Gbps performance, ten times the fastest Wi-Fi networks based on the IEEE 802.11n standard. The WiGig medium access control (MAC) and physical (PHY) control specification operates in the unlicensed 60GHz frequency band, which has more spectrum available than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands used by existing Wi-Fi products. According to Ali Sadri, chairman of the WiGig Alliance, the specification also supports wireless implementations of HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces, as well as the High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) scheme used to protect digital content transmitted over those interfaces. It scales to allow transmission of both compressed and uncompressed video."
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+ - 239 Two teams win the BotPrize->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "For the past five years, the 2K BotPrize has challenged artificial intelligence researchers and programmers to create a computer game playing bot that plays like a person. It’s one thing to make bots that play computer games very well — computers are faster and more accurate than a person can ever be, but it’s a different thing to make bots that are fun to play against.

In a breakthrough result, after years of striving and improvement from 14 different international teams from nine countries, two teams have crossed the humanness barrier! The teams share $7000 in prize money and a trip to games company 2K’s Canberra studio.
The winners are the UT^2 team from the University of Texas at Austin, and Mihai Polceanu, a doctoral student from Romania, currently studying Artificial Intelligence at ENIB CERV — Centre de Réalité Virtuelle, Brest, France. The UT^2 team is Professor Risto Miikulainen, and doctoral students Jacob Schrum and Igor Karpov. The bots created by the two teams both achieved a humanness rating of 52%, easily exceeding the average humanness rating of the human players, at 40%.
It is especially fitting that the prize has been won in the 2012 Alan Turing Centenary Year. The famous Turing test — where a computer has to have a conversation with a human, and pretends to be another human — was the inspiration for the BotPrize competition. Where to now for human-like bots? Next year we hope to propose a new and exciting challenge for game playing bot creators to push their technologies to the next level of human-like performance."

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Privacy

+ - 195 Twitter hands over messages at heart of Occupy case->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "Legal pressure has forced Twitter to handed over messages sent by an Occupy Wall Street protester.

Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws.

The Manhattan district attorney's office wanted the tweets to help its case against protester Malcolm Harris.

It believes the messages undermine Mr Harris' claim that New York police led protesters on to the Brooklyn Bridge to make it easier to arrest them. It claims the messages will show Mr Harris was aware of police orders that he then disregarded."

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Iphone

+ - 219 iPhone 5 Scorns Standards Promise To European Commission->

Submitted by
WebMink
WebMink writes "Back in 2009, Apple signed an agreement aimed at reducing electronic waste resulting from mobile phone accessories. But this week's launch of the iPhone 5 shows them reneging on that commitment. Instead of including a micro-USB connector on the iPhone, as they agreed to do along with the rest of the phone industry, they created yet another proprietary connector. At a stroke, they have junked earlier iPhone accessories, forced a new industry in Apple-only accessories to arise and broken their promise to the EC. It's a huge missed opportunity both for their customers and for the environment."
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Games

+ - 228 First part of Black Mesa released->

Submitted by ProbablyJoe
ProbablyJoe (1914672) writes "The long awaited Source engine remake of the Valve's original Half Life has finally been released. The initial release only includes the story up until Xen, but the developers say they'll be adding the rest of the story, along with an online multiplayer Deathmatch mode, soon. The game is available to download for free, and only requires players to install the Source SDK (included with all Source games, or a free download.

The highly anticipated release has also caused a huge amount of traffic for any servers hosting the files, with GameFront, GameUpdates, and Black Mesa's own CDN brought down within minutes of the release. The project has also been approved by Steam's Greenlight program, and will hopefully be available through Steam soon, though no timeframe has been given."

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Open Source

+ - 242 Red Hat Fights Patent Troll With GPL->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "Red Hat is in the middle of a patent lawsuit with Twin Peaks Software, which claims that a Red Hat subsidiary is abusing a Twin Peaks filesystem lawsuit. Now, Red Hat is launching an intriguing countermeasure: the company claims that Twin Peaks' own closed source software violates the GPL because it makes use of an open source disk utility that Red Hat holds the copyright no. Is this a smart move on Red Hat's part?"
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+ - 229 How one man made an 1,800 player action game in his spare time->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Just Cause 2 Multiplayer has been getting a lot of press lately, but this making of feature points out how it raises a serious industry about the games industry: if 1,800 player massively multiplayer action games are possible on one server, why did it take one modder from Queensland to prove it?"
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Medicine

+ - 157 MIT Brings Us One Step Closer to Transdermal Drugs->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at MIT have discovered a new trick when it comes to delivering vital medicine through the skin—a development they say might revolutionize everything from how vaccinations are delivered to the way insulin is migrated to diabetes patients"
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Microsoft

+ - 152 Microsoft patents whacking your phone to silence it->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "Patent 20120231838: Techniques and tools are described for controlling an audio signal of a mobile device. For example, information indicative of acceleration of the mobile device can be received and correlation between the information indicative of acceleration and exemplar whack event data can be determined. An audio signal of the mobile device can be controlled based on the correlation.

Microsoft's states that the types of audio signals that could be silenced by a whacking event include any of the following: a ringing, a ringtone, user-initiated audio, a tone, a played recording, an alarm, or the like. The audio signal could be in response to or indicate an incoming call, a message, an update, a reminder for a meeting or event, the playing of music or recording, or the like."

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Censorship

+ - 198 YouTube Refuses to Remove anti-Islamic Film Clip

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that Google officials have rejected the notion of removing a video that depicts the prophet as a fraud and philanderer and has been blamed for sparking violence at US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi on grounds it does not violate YouTube's policies, but restricted viewers in Egypt and Libya from loading it due to the special circumstances in the country. Google's response to the crisis highlighted the struggle faced by the company, and others like it, to balance free speech with legal and ethical concerns in an age when social media can impact world events. "This video – which is widely available on the Web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube," Google said in a statement. "However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted access in both countries." Underscoring Google's quandary, some digital free expression groups have criticised YouTube for censoring the video. Eva Galperin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says given Google' s strong track record of protecting free speech, she was surprised the company gave in to pressure to selectively block ithe video "It is extremely unusual for YouTube to block a video in any country without it being a violation of their terms of service or in response to a valid legal complaint," says Galperin. "I'm not sure they did the right thing.""

+ - 214 RIPE region runs out of IPv4 adresses, now allocates from last /8-> 1

Submitted by 8-Track
8-Track (581029) writes "The RIPE NCC, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia, distributed the last blocks of IPv4 address space from the available pool. This means that we are now distributing IPv4 address space to Local Internet Registries (LIRs) from the last /8. This means that an ISP may receive one /22 allocation (1,024 IPv4 addresses), even if they can justify a larger allocation. This /22 allocation will only be made to LIRs if they have already received an IPv6 allocation from an upstream LIR or the RIPE NCC. Time to move to IPv6!"
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Android

+ - 145 Motorola Mobility faces Android phones, tablets recall in Germany->

Submitted by puddingebola
puddingebola (2036796) writes "The war continues.

From the article, "Apple won a victory yesterday in the German court over a 'rubber-banding' patent that was key to the Cupertino, CA.-based technology giant's billion-dollar victory against Samsung last month in a U.S. court. "

Apple now can persue enforcing a ban, asking for the infringing devices to be destroyed, or for Motorola to recall the devices."

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Space

+ - 229 Elon Musk An Industrialist for the 22nd Century -> 1

Submitted by
pacopico
pacopico writes "Elon Musk has just come off a pretty amazing run. SpaceX docked with the ISS. Tesla has started selling its all-electric luxury sedan, and SolarCity just filed to go public. Bloomberg Businessweek spent a few days with Musk and got a look inside his insane factories in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. It's like Willy Wonka time for geeks. Among the other proclamations in the story is Musk saying that he intends to die on Mars. "Just not on impact." Musk then goes on to describe a fifth mode of transportation he's calling the Hyperloop."
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+ - 276 Towards a 50% Efficient Solar Cell

Submitted by necro81
necro81 (917438) writes "IEEE Spectrum magazine has a feature article describing DARPA-funded work towards developing a solar cell that's 50% efficient, for a finished module that's 40% efficient — suitable for charging a soldier's gadgets in the field. Conventional silicon and thin-film PV tech can hit cell efficiencies of upwards of 20%, with finished modules hovering in the teens. Triple-junction cells can top 40%, but are expensive to produce and not practical in most applications. Current work by the Very High Efficiency Solar Cell program uses optics (dichroic films) to concentrate incoming sunlight by 20-200x, and split it into constituent spectra, which fall on many small solar cells of different chemistries, each tuned to maximize the conversion of different wavelengths."
Intel

+ - 143 Intel says Clover Trail won't work with Linux->

Submitted by girlmad
girlmad (2404748) writes "Intel's Clover Trail Atom processor can be seen in various non-descript laptops around IDF and the firm provided a lot of architectural details on the chip, confirming details such as dual-core and a number of power states. However Intel said Clover Trail "is a Windows 8 chip" and that "the chip cannot run Linux".

While Intel's claim that Clover Trail won't run Linux is not quite true — after all it is an x86 instruction set so there is no major reason why the Linux kernel and userland will not run — given that the firm will not support it, device makers are unlikely to produce Linux Clover Trail devices for their own support reasons."

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Patents

+ - 170 Easy Fix For Software Patents Found In US Patent Act->

Submitted by
WebMink
WebMink writes "What if there was an easy, inexpensive way to bring software patents under control, that did not involve Congress, which applied retrospectively to all patents and which was already part of the US Patent Act? Stanford law professor Mark Lemley thinks he's found it. He asserts that the current runaway destruction being caused by software patents is just like previous problems with US patent law, and that Congress included language in the Patent Act of 1952 that can be invoked over software patents just like it fixed the earlier problems. All it will take is a future defendant in a patent trial using his read of a crucial section of the Patent Act in their defence to establish case law. Can it really be that easy?"
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Science

+ - 150 Astronomers fix the Astronomical Unit-> 1

Submitted by
gbrumfiel
gbrumfiel writes "The Astronomical Unit (AU) is known to most as the distance between the Earth and the Sun. In fact, the official definition was a much more complex mathematical calculation involving angular measurements, hypothetical bodies, and the Sun's mass. That old definition created problems: due to general relativity, the length of the AU changed depending on an observer's position in the solar system. And the mass of the Sun changes over time, so the AU was changing as well. At the International Astronomical Union's latest meeting, astronomers unanimously voted on a new simplified definition: exactly 149,597,870,700 metres. Nobody need panic, the earth's distance from the sun remains just as it was, regardless of whether it's in AUs, meters, or smoots."
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Science

+ - 186 Mammoth Tooth Found Downtown San Francisco->

Submitted by
DevotedSkeptic
DevotedSkeptic writes "A seemingly ordinary day at the Transbay Transit Center construction site became a mammoth day of discovery Monday when a mild-mannered crane operator reached deep into the earth and pulled out a tooth.

This was no ordinary tooth. The 10-inch-long brown, black and beige chomper, broken in two and missing a chunk, once belonged to a woolly mammoth, an elephantine creature that roamed the grassy valley that's now San Francisco Bay 10 to 15 thousand years ago in the Pleistocene epoch.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Mammoth-tooth-found-at-Transbay-dig-3861381.php#ixzz26RHWlcZI"

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Firefox

+ - 220 Firefox OS - Disruptive By Aiming Low ->

Submitted by
judgecorp
judgecorp writes "As Apple launches a new slightly-improved iPhone 5, Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich says if you want a really disruptive phone you should look to Firefox OS. It's a low-cost low-end device — and that's the point. It uses standards so should be resistant to patent infringement suits, it will fit on featurephone-grade hardware, and it will run HTML5 apps without the restriction of native apps in an app store. In other words, it's aiming for the next 2 billion smartphone users, people who can't afford the iPhone/Android model."
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Network

+ - 169 Preventing another Carrier IQ: Introducing the Mobile Device Privacy Act->

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "Lawmakers in Washington have turned their sights on mobile device tracking, proposing legislation aimed at making it much harder for companies to track you without consent. The Mobile Device Privacy Act makes it illegal for companies to monitor device users without their expressed consent. The bill was introduced Thursday by Massachusetts Democrat Representative Edward Markey, co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus. Much of the impetus for the bill came from last year’s Carrier IQ debacle, where it emerged that the company's software was found to exist on both iOS and Android devices on AT&T and Sprint’s networks. While the company denied any wrongdoing, the software captured keystrokes and sent the details of your device usage back to the carriers. That news set off a firestorm of criticism, including the attention of Senator Al Franken, who grilled the company and received some details on Carrier IQ’s intentions. If passed, the legislation would require the disclosure of including tracking software at the time of the purchase of the phone, or during ownership if a software update or app would add such software to the device, and the consumer gains the right to refuse to be tracked. This disclosure must include what types of information is collected, who it is transmitted to, and how it will be used."
Link to Original Source

+ - 140 Anonymous' Barrett Brown Raided by FBI During Online Chat->

Submitted by
SternisheFan
SternisheFan writes "For the second time this year, self-proclaimed Anonymous spokesman Barrett Brown was raided by the FBI. The latest dramatic incident occurred late Wednesday evening while Brown and another woman identified by some as his girlfriend were participating in an online chat on TinyChat with other individuals. Two minutes into the recorded chat session, loud voices could be heard in the background of Brown’s residence in Texas while the woman in the room with him was in front of the computer screen. She quickly closed the computer screen, but the audio continued to capture events in the room as the FBI appeared to strong-arm Brown to put handcuffs on him. Brown could be heard yelling in the background. A spokeswoman in the Dallas County sherriff’s office confirmed to Wired that Brown was raided last night and was booked into the county jail around 11 p.m. She said the FBI removed him from the jail this morning to take him to a different facility, but she did not know where he was headed."
Link to Original Source

+ - 208 Patent troll sues X-Plane-> 2

Submitted by symbolset
symbolset (646467) writes "X-plane is a cross-platform flight simulator app, notably the only serious one that supports Mac OSX and Linux. It's under threat by an NPE (Non Practicing Entity), Uniloc, suing for things X-Plane has done for decades. X-plane cannot afford to defend this suit, so if somebody doesn't step up and defend them then we lose X-plane forever."
Link to Original Source

+ - 195 Patent troll sues X-Plane->

Submitted by symbolset
symbolset (646467) writes "X-Plane is an awesome flight simulator that has survived the onslaught of Microsoft Flight Simulator, been the first to include NASA data in their terrain modelling, and remained Linux compatible through their whole history. They have a long and grand history.

They are now under attack from a patent troll, Uniloc, and will needs must shut down unless we help them out. If we fail to help, we lose X-plane — and we deserve to."

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Security

+ - 170 Why WikiLeaks' Spinoff OpenLeaks Failed-> 1

Submitted by Sparrowvsrevolution
Sparrowvsrevolution (1926150) writes "Wired has published an excerpt of the new WikiLeaks-related book "This Machine Kills Secrets," which delves into the launch of the WikiLeaks spinoff OpenLeaks at the Chaos Communication Camp in Berlin last year. The detailed account of the site's debut, with German ex-WikiLeaker Daniel Domscheit-Berg at the helm, reveals that even before the dispute between WikiLeaks and OpenLeaks led to the controversial destruction of the decryption keys for 3,000 of WikiLeaks encrypted leaks taken by Domscheit-Berg, OpenLeaks was already facing significant problems: Rumors that the group had been infiltrated by the German government, a lack of code open for public auditing and even a failure to get the site online in time for the penetration test it had invited the CCC hackers to perform. The book passage gives a peek into the infighting, bad luck, disorganization and personality problems that has left the world without a real sequel to WikiLeaks despite the dozens of leak-focused sites that have launched in the last two years."
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Mars

+ - 172 High Definition video of Curiosity's landing on Mars-> 2

Submitted by
_0x783czar
_0x783czar writes "NASA has released an Hi-Def video of Curiosity's landing. This video was captured in low res, and then extrapolated and re-rendered by Bard Canning, to produce the most stunning imagery ever captured on an alien world. It took Canning over a month to complete the process. He used motion tracking to add sound effects which in turn give you the sensation of the ride of your life."
Link to Original Source
Google

+ - 145 Google Glass: Future of Movies or Monkey Cam 2.0? 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "When it comes to Google's futuristic Glass goggles, people seem to fall into two camps. On the one hand, you have people like NY Times Arts critic Mike Hale, who goes gaga over how fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg put Google glasses on models who walked in her recent Fashion Week show, enabling them to capture video from their point of view as they walked the runway. 'For a preview of how we all may be making movies in a few years,' Hale breathlessly writes, 'take a look at DVF Through Glass .' On the other hand, you have folks like NY Times commenter JokerDanny, who says he's seen this Google Glass movie before. 'David Letterman used to call this Monkey-Cam,' quips JD, referring to the mid-1980's Late Night bits in which Letterman mounted a camera on Zippy the Chimp, enabling the monkey to capture video from his point of view as he roamed the studio. Thanks to the magic of YouTube Doubler, here's a head-to-head comparison of POV video shot by Zippy in 1986 — the year Larry Page and Sergey Brin celebrated their 13th birthdays — to that taken by a DVF model in 2012."

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