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Submission + - Texas Attorney General Fighting Radio Shack's Attempt To Sell Customer Data (

jfruh writes: The bankrupt Radio Shack chain is still planning to auction off personal data in its attempt to get as much money as it can for its creditors. But the Attorney General of Texas is leading the fight to prevent that from happening, demanding that the Delaware bankruptcy court in charge of the case hear his motion before OKing the sale.

Submission + - DARPA developing remote wireless sensors that use almost no power (

An anonymous reader writes: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing research [] into the creation of wireless sensors that use so little power they will not need recharging for years. The objective is a reduction of idle power-draw down to a minuscule 10 nanowatts — about the same draw as a stored battery that isn't actually in a device, and 1000 times less consumption than current sensors. DARPA program manager Troy Olsson said: "It is the waiting for a specific event or activity that constrains mission life and drains the battery energy of these essential electronics...By cutting reliance on active power and enhancing battery life, N-ZERO aims to enable wireless, ubiquitous sensing that is energy efficient and safer for the warfighter,". Non-military applications for low-drain sensors include monitoring architecture for developing cracks over a period of several years and identifying threats in forests.

Comment Re:Astronomy club? (Score 1) 234

I second this. I was in the same position a few years ago, and went to my local astronomy club, found a gifted person that I got along with well, and was willing to teach me. After several "star-hopping" observation sessions I found that I was really beginning to know and understand the night sky. Eventually I learned enough from him, Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Magazine and books from my local library that I was asked to teach the Intro to Astronomy class at the local university--that activity forced me to learn even more! I even went on to be active with other, more advanced clubs in the state, which helped push my knowledge.

I'd also recommend looking into week-long activities like the one at University of Arizona. I've been to both the beginning and advanced Adult camps and they were great fun.

As for Physics, I'll leave that as an exercise for other posters ;-).

Comment Additional Questions (Score 3, Insightful) 211

I'd also ask:

Number of years in business.
Involvement of the owner in the current business.
Number of years the current owner has been in this business.
Also do a check with the Better Business Bureau to see what, if any, complaints had been filed.

And, as always, Google is your friend -- definitely do a search for the business you are considering along with the word(s) problem, issue, complaint, praise, etc!
The Courts

Submission + - Excess copyright damages may get to Sup Ct (

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "In a copyright infringement case involving karaokes, a number of important copyright issues may get thrashed out by the U.S. Supreme Court, including several of the most troubling these days, (1) whether teaching is a fair use, and (2) whether the content companies' demands for large statutory damages awards, where they can't prove any damages, are unconstitutional. A petition for Supreme Court review has been filed in Zomba v. Panorama, from a decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which left standing an award of damages 44 times the actual damages sustained. The brief (pdf) made reference, at page 32, to the RIAA, MPAA, and NMPA's "flooding the courts with statutory damages cases", and to the $222,000 award, based on $23.76 worth of song files, obtained by the RIAA in Capitol v. Thomas."

Comment Re:ST:VOY (Score 3, Funny) 926

7/9 (and her character's perspective, not her rack)

The general consensus is that her rack is the single biggest contribution to Voyager. (ba-dum-pshhhhh, thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week)

Umm, wouldn't that be the TWO biggest contributions?? :-)

Submission + - Boost video performance of aging AGP system

jmke writes: While most manufacturers have forsaken AGP and are no longer bringing out new products for this platform, there are still a few left who cater to the budget minded end user. The ATI X1950 Pro chipset carries the top mid-range title in its PCI Express incarnation, the people from HIS Digital have brought it over to AGP in hopes that'll it will give a performance boost for older systems too, their X1950 Pro IceQ3 comes overclocked and with custom cooling to keep things running cool and quiet. Worth a look for those who like to play the latest games on their AGP system.

Submission + - Poll: where do you put the curly braces?

raner writes: "Where do you put the curly braces:
* opening brace at end of line, closing brace at beginning
* both braces at the beginning of their own lines
* option 1, with some exceptions
* option 2, with some exceptions
* wherever I see fit
* I'm a COBOL programmer"

Submission + - What is the best bug-as-a-feature?

Bat Country writes: The workflow system at the department I develop for was hand-coded by my predecessor in a rather short amount of time, resulting in somewhat unreadable code with a number of interesting "features."

When I took over maintenance of the code base, I started patching bugs and cleaning up the code in preparation for a new set of features.

When I was done however, I got a pile of complaints about features which disappeared which turned out to be caused by the bugs in the code.
So that leads me to ask, what is your favorite bug that you either can't live without or makes your life easier?

Submission + - Why Microsoft Should Fear Apple

jcatcw writes: Computerworld's Scot Finnie says that MS should be afraid because Apple has gotten smarter about how it competes. He says that it's the Parallels Desktop software that has been truly transformational for the Mac. Finnie did a simple three-month trial of the Mac last in the fall and realized four months later that he wasn't going back. Since then he's received hundreds of messages from readers who've also made the switch.
United States

Submission + - New report finds H-1Bs accelerating outsourcing

chris_be writes: The Economic Policy Institute's latest Briefing Paper, Outsourcing America's technology and knowledge jobs: High-skill guest worker visas are currently hurting rather than helping keep jobs at home, comes as Congress once again considers changes to U.S. high-skill immigration policy. This report disproves claims that, because of a shortage of U.S. scientists and engineers, our H-1B visa program has to expand so that employers are not forced to hire foreign workers in their home countries. The report also finds the H-1B program instead accelerates the outsourcing of high-wage, high-skill jobs to low-cost countries. In fact, the visa program's largest users are offshore outsourcing firms who sponsor very few of their workers for long-term green cards. The report also points out three major fundamental flaws in the program design. First, firms do not have to ensure that there isn't a U.S. worker who could fill the job before hiring a foreign worker. Second, the visa program's prevailing wage guidelines are riddled with loopholes, so that firms can easily pay foreign workers below-market wages that then depress the wages of U.S. workers. Third, the program has little oversight.

Submission + - World's first full review of the Sony NW-A800

softmint writes: CNET has reviewed the soon to be released video walkman from Sony, the 8GB model in the A800 series.

The Sony NW-A808 is the most stunning flash MP3 player we've seen since the iPod nano — if anything, it's better in many significant areas. It's one of the only MP3 players around to make music sound great out of the box — plus video clips look lush and the battery life is superb.

The only drawbacks are the SonicStage software, as ever, and the relatively high recommended price. You'll have to learn to live with the awkward software, but the nice people at Advanced MP3 Players tell us they're planning to sell the NW-A808 for less than the price of a nano — if this happens, it's well worth snapping up.

There's also a video review on the same site.

A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.