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+ - Google, Dropbox, And Others Forge Patent 'Arms Control Pact'->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Patent trolling is a serious irritatnt and financial drain on many big tech companies — but those same companies can't guarantee that their own future management won't sell the patents they own to a 'non-practicing entity', especially in the case of sale or bankruptcy. That's why a number of tech giants, including Google and Dropbox, have formed the 'License or Tranfer Network,' in which a patent will automatically be licensed to everyone else in the network in the event that it's sold to a third party."
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Comment: Re:There's already a Tesla museum, in Belgrade. (Score 1) 55

It wouldn't have done what he envisioned, but it could well have proven to be the worlds' first VLF radio station.

Marconi already had VLF working, sort of, before Wardenclyffe was built. Marconi's R&D approach was to transmit across short distances, test and improve the hardware, then try longer distances. Over a few years, he slowly worked up from across the room to across the ocean. Less grandiose than Tesla, but more successful.

Tesla is said to have assisted in the construction of the 1913 Telefunken VLF station on Long Island, but the IRE Journal article doesn't mention him. Telefunken built a VLF antenna much the way one would be built today - a simple guyed tower resting on an insulator base, with wires spreading outward to a circle of poles. They only used 35KW, instead of Tesla's 200KW. The station communicated with a similar station in Germany.

+ - SpaceX Wins FAA Permission to Build a Spaceport in Texas

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "SpaceX just got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a 56.5-acre spaceport along the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Mexico border—a huge step toward actually making the spaceport a reality.
Wednesday, the FAA, which handles all commercial space launch permitting in the United States, issued what's known as a "Record of Decision" that suggests the agency would allow the company to launch 10 Falcon 9 rockets and two Falcon Heavy rockets per year out of the spaceport, through at least 2025."

Comment: There's already a Tesla museum, in Belgrade. (Score 4, Informative) 55

by Animats (#47428151) Attached to: The Oatmeal Convinces Elon Musk To Donate $1 Million To Tesla Museum

The Tesla Museum already exists.

Tesla did great work with AC generators and motors. Most common AC motors today still use approaches he invented. That's his legacy.

Wardenclyffe, though, is a monument to failure. From his patents, you can read how he thought it would work. He thought the ionosphere was a conductive layer. The Wardenclyffe tower was supposed to punch power through the atmosphere to that conductive layer, so that signals and maybe power could be received elsewhere.

The ionosphere does not work that way. Tesla's tower would have done nothing useful, although with 200KW at 20KHz going in, it probably could have lit up fluorescent lamps and gas tubes for some distance around. Since the location is now surrounded by a housing subdivision, rebuilding the tower and powering it up would annoy the neighbors.

+ - Hints of Life's Start Found in a Giant Virus->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In the world of microbes, viruses are small — notoriously small. Pithovirus is not. The largest virus ever discovered, pithovirus is more massive than even some bacteria. Most viruses copy themselves by hijacking their host’s molecular machinery. But pithovirus is much more independent, possessing some replication machinery of its own. Pithovirus’s relatively large number of genes also differentiated it from other viruses, which are often genetically simple — the smallest have a mere four genes. Pithovirus has around 500 genes, and some are used for complex tasks such as making proteins and repairing and replicating DNA. “It was so different from what we were taught about viruses,” Abergel said.

The stunning find, first revealed in March, isn’t just expanding scientists’ notions of what a virus can be. It is reframing the debate over the origins of life."

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+ - AMD Publishes Open-Source HSA Radeon Linux Driver->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "AMD finally brought the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) into the open-source world with the announcement of a Radeon HSA driver for the Linux kernel. AMD published a massive open-source driver today with plans to incorporate into the mainline Linux kernel that allow for different processor types to share system resources better. The supported AMD GPUs being their Radeon "Sea Islands" hardware and newer for this Radeon HSA Linux open-source driver."
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+ - Senator Al Franken accuses AT+T of 'skirting' net neutrality rules->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "In a letter to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Justice, Senator Al Franken warned that letting AT&T acquire Direct TV could turn AT&T into a gatekeeper to the mobile Internet. Franken also complained that AT&T took inappropriate steps to block Internet applications like Google Voice and Skype: "AT&T has a history of skirting the spirit, and perhaps the letter" of the government's rules on net neutrality, Franken wrote."
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Comment: Yes (Score 1) 337

If you're mixing a lot of stuff on-board devices still fall apart, particularly if you're using a mic. Get an video player running, an MMO, TS/Skype/Mumble/whatever and a couple other things cranking and the on board device will click and pop when you speak, just as they've been doing for years and years.

wrt Soundblaster, I finally had enough of their absurd driver situation in Windows (which rival HP printer drivers for bloat and glitchyness,) their indifferent Linux support and their failure to create a straightforward PCI-E gaming card (at the time I was shopping.) I went with an ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 that uses a cmedia chip for my last build (18-ish months ago) and it's been great. Windows drivers are straightforward and it works in Linux with little drama. I honestly haven't given it a second thought (prior to this post) since I installed it.

I'll stop buying discrete audio when they start soldering audio chips that have full parity with discrete cards onto motherboards. Until then they may as well not bother providing half-ass on board codecs as far as I'm concerned.

The Almighty Buck

The Oatmeal Convinces Elon Musk To Donate $1 Million To Tesla Museum 55

Posted by timothy
from the carreon-should-donate-too dept.
Ars Technica notes (as does Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman) that Elon Musk has agreed to donate $1 million towards the restoration of Nikola Tesla's old lab as a museum, a project that Inman has been pushing for some time now. And if you happen to get there in a Tesla, you're in luck: Musk is also planning to install one of his company's superchargers in the parking lot. (At the other end of the east coast, you can visit a very different kind of Tesla museum.)

Comment: Self-reported data will never work. (Score 1) 119

by Animats (#47427143) Attached to: How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business

See my 2010 paper "'Places' spam - the new front in the spam wars." As I wrote back then, "The two phases of spamming Google Places are the insertion of fake business locations and the creation of fake reviews. Both are embarrassingly easy." That hasn't changed.

Google doesn't fix this 4-year-old problem because Google makes money from bad search results. If search results take you directly to the business selling whatever it is you want, Google makes no money. If you're detoured through some Demand Media content farm, Google makes ad revenue. If you get fed up with being sent to ad-choked sites and click on a Google ad, Google makes money. Organic search that sucks is a fundamental part of Google's business model.

Technically, it's straightforward to fix this. Business data has to be checked against sources businesses can't easily manipulate, such as business credit rating companies. A business that reports fake store locations to Dun & Bradstreet or Experian will soon have a very low credit rating.

Bing or Yahoo could beat Google at search quality. They have the same spam problem, but it doesn't make them money. That's because Google has most of the third-party advertising market. Web spam on Bing drives traffic mostly to sites with Google ads, not Bing ads.

The real search engines are Google, Bing, Baidu (China) and Yandex (Russia). Everybody else, including Yahoo, is a reseller. Yandex has been doing some interesting stuff lately with linkless search ranking, and Baidu just opened a Silicon Valley office.

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer announced last January that Yahoo was getting back into search. (They've been reselling Bing since 2009.) That appears to have been a bluff to get a better deal from Microsoft. There's no indication of Yahoo actually building a search engine. No relevant job ads, no data center buildout, no increased crawling by Yahoo bots, no high-profile hires, no buzz in Silicon Valley.

Bing ought to be doing better than it is, but they're reported to have management problems. Every year, there's new top management at Bing, and it doesn't help.

Music

Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment? 337

Posted by timothy
from the won't-fit-in-my-phone dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Back in the day (which is a scientific measurement for anyone who used to walk to school during snowstorms, uphill, both ways), integrated audio solutions had trouble earning respect. Many enthusiasts considered a sound card an essential piece to the PC building puzzle. It's been 25 years since the first Sound Blaster card was introduced, a pretty remarkable feat considering the diminished reliance on discrete audio in PCs, in general. These days, the Sound Blaster ZxR is Creative's flagship audio solution for PC power users. It boasts a signal-to-noise (SNR) of 124dB that Creative claims is 89.1 times better than your motherboard's integrated audio solution. It also features a built-in headphone amplifier, beamforming microphone, a multi-core Sound Core3D audio processor, and various proprietary audio technologies. While gaming there is no significant performance impact or benefit when going from onboard audio to the Sound Blaster ZxR. However, the Sound Blaster ZxR produced higher-quality in-game sound effects and it also produces noticeably superior audio in music and movies, provided your speakers can keep up."

+ - Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth The Investment?->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Back in the day (which is a scientific measurement for anyone who used to walk to school during snowstorms, uphill, both ways), integrated audio solutions had trouble earning respect. Many enthusiasts considered a sound card an essential piece to the PC building puzzle. It's been 25 years since the first Sound Blaster card was introduced, a pretty remarkable feat considering the diminished reliance on discrete audio in PCs, in general. These days, the Sound Blaster ZxR is Creative's flagship audio solution for PC power users. It boasts a signal-to-noise (SNR) of 124dB that Creative claims is 89.1 times better than your motherboard's integrated audio solution. It also features a built-in headphone amplifier, beamforming microphone, a multi-core Sound Core3D audio processor, and various proprietary audio technologies. While gaming there is no significant performance impact or benefit when going from onboard audio to the Sound Blaster ZxR. However, the Sound Blaster ZxR produced higher-quality in-game sound effects and it also produces noticeably superior audio in music and movies, provided your speakers can keep up."
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