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Submission + - Can Cyborg Tech End Human Disability by 2064? (

the_newsbeagle writes: As part of a 50th anniversary celebration, IEEE Spectrum magazine tries to peer into the technological future 50 years out. Its biomedical article foresees the integration of electronic parts into our human bodies, making up for physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities.

The article spotlights the visionaries Hugh Herr, an MIT professor (and double amputee) who wants to build prosthetic limbs that are wired directly into the nervous system; Helen Mayberg, who has developed brain pacemakers to cure depression; and Ted Berger, who's working on neural implants that can restore memory function.

Submission + - IKEA to Launch Electric Bicycle (

An anonymous reader writes: IKEA just announced plans to launch a new electric bike called the Folkvänlig in Austria. The e-bike tops out at 45 mph and it features six different driving modes. There's no word yet as to whether assembly will be required.

Submission + - Software bug disrupts e-vote count in Belgian election (

An anonymous reader writes: A bug in an e-voting application halted the release of European, federal and regional election results in Belgium, the country's interior ministry said.

On Sunday, problems occurred when counting votes made on older voting machines in around 20 of the country's 209 cantons, the ministry said.

The voting machines in question are x86 PCs from the DOS era, with two serial ports, a parallel port, a paltry 1 megabyte of RAM and a 3.5-inch disk drive used to load the voting software from a bootable DOS disk.

Submission + - Is your textbook studying you? (

drkim writes: Shades of "Snow Crash"?

A number of schools have started using a program called CourseSmart, which uses e-book analytics to alert teachers if their students are studying the night before tests, rather than taking a long-haul approach to learning.

In addition to test scores, the CourseSmart algorithm assigns each student an “engagement index” which can determine not just if a student is studying, but also if they’re studying properly.

(BTW: We are holding a 'In Soviet Russia....' reference contest on this one, too.)

Submission + - domain name suspended (

S37Rigor Mortis writes:, the largest torrent search engine on the Internet, has had its domain name suspended following a request from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit in the UK. The site continues to operate under two alternative domains, and is hoping to move the .eu domain to a new registrar.

Submission + - Report: Apple to unveil 'smart home' system

An anonymous reader writes: According to a reports Apple will be unveiling a new smart home system at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference. The system will allow users to control security systems, appliances and lighting with their iPhones. A "select number" of device makers will be certified to offer products that work with Apple's upcoming system, according to the report, which didn't name any of the manufacturers.

Submission + - found in Europe, will fight default judgement

portforward writes: Remember, that company who bills unhappy customers $3,500 for publicly expressing they are unhappy? claimed they were owed a substantial amount of money after a couple posted their negative experience on and then attempted to collect, severly damaging the the family's credit rating. The unlucky couple sued, and got a default judgement against Kleargear in part because no one could actually find the owners of the company. Apparently now the owners have surfaced in Paris — vowing to fight and saying:

"Our sales contract is enforceable under the laws of the United States because business transactions are exempt from First Amendment rights ... If a customer disagrees with any merchant of policies, they are free to shop elsewhere."

Especially, of course, when the company adds conditions to the bill of sale after the sale is complete.

Submission + - Open Source School Management aims to augment education (

An anonymous reader writes: Many schools pay over $100k a year on proprietary, inflexible, closed source School Management Systems. Some systems come bundled with full curriculum packages or integrated learning systems which cost schools millions in tablet computers and student licenses. Schools need a full featured, standards compliant system that is flexible, extendable, free of vendor lock-in, can be integrated with any curriculum or integrating learning system, and is free to use without a license.

GAKU Engine [meaning “Learning Engine” in Japanese] is a full featured, customizable and extendable Free Open Source School Management system. But the objective of GAKU Engine isn’t just to to run a standardized education; it aims to let schools break free of the standard by enhancing their educational offerings with external content and services, and augment student records with badges and achievements. With your help the base system could be completed and running in schools within the year.

Submission + - OTTO - The Hackable Raspberry Pi GIF Camera (

mikejuk writes: Otto is the first product to make use of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and it is open, hackable and takes animated GIFs which are automatically uploaded to your phone.
Otto is the brainchild of Next Thing Computing. It is currently on Kickstarter and at the time of writing well on its way to making its $60,000 goal. It doesn't look like a top notch semi-pro digital camera and that's by design. It looks like an old fashioned low-end film camera of the type you might give to kids. What is novel about this camera is that it may look like a cheapo plastic snapper but it can do some really interesting things.
The "film winder" on the top takes a sequence of stills as you rotate it to "advance the film" and when you "rewind the film" these are combined to create an animated GIF. Of course there might be some users who don't remember what film cameras were like and so might not get the reference to the older tech.
The animated GIF mode is enough to make Otto novel, but the fact that it uses a Raspberry Pi means it can be used in other modes and can be customized. "Using the OTTO SDK, you can modify every bit of OTTO’s software. Recompile the kernel, load it up with additional Linux packages, or just peek under the hood and see how it all works."
There is even a very weird hardware expansion option called Flashyflashy that looks like an old flash bulb attachment. How many users are going to remember those?
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Otto is that it is clearly going to be fun as soon as you take it out of the box but with some software and perhaps hardware skills you can have so much more fun with it.
I can't help but think that they might do even better with a cool futuristic design rather than something retro.

Submission + - Questionable Patents From MakerBot ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: OpenBeam USA is a Kickstarted company that builds open source aluminum construction systems (think erector sets). One of the main uses for the system is building 3D printers, and creator Terence Tam is heavily involved in the 3D-printing community. He's now put up a blog post about some disturbing patents filed by MakerBot. In particular, he notes a patent for auto-levelling on a 3D printer. Not only is this an important upcoming technology for 3D printers, the restriction of which would be a huge blow to progress, it seems the patent was filed just a few short weeks after Steve Graber posted a video demonstrating such auto-levelling. There had also been a Kickstarter campaign for similar tech a few months earlier. Tam gives this warning: 'Considering the Stratasys — Afinia lawsuit, and the fact that Makerbot is now a subsidiary of Stratasys, it's not a stretch to imagine Makerbot coming after other open source 3D manufacturers that threaten their sales. After all, nobody acquires a patent warchest just to invite their competitors to sit around the campfire to sing Kumbaya. It is therefore vitally important that community developed improvements do not fall under Makerbot's (or any other company's) patent portfolio to be used at a later date to clobber the little guys.'

Submission + - Amazon Escalates Its Battle Against Publishers (

An anonymous reader writes: Just weeks after the retailing giant began pressuring the publisher on pricing by delaying shipping and cutting discounts, it is now refusing orders for coming books. The retailer began refusing orders late Thursday for coming Hachette books, including J.K. Rowling’s new novel. The paperback edition of Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” — a book Amazon disliked so much it denounced it — is suddenly listed as “unavailable.” In some cases, even the pages promoting the books have disappeared. Anne Rivers Siddons’s new novel, “The Girls of August,” coming in July, no longer has a page for the physical book or even the Kindle edition. Only the audio edition is still being sold (for more than $60). Otherwise it is as if it did not exist. Amazon is also flexing its muscles in Germany, delaying deliveries of books issued by Bonnier, a major publisher.

Submission + - We want to bring KEEO to live and share it with you. (

GetKEEO writes: Do you know KEEO? It's the world's first keyholder with an App for iPhone & Android.
An interactive keyholder which not only looks great, but brings cool features with it,too.
KEEO makes the right key pop out with the push of a button. Given the integrated Bluetooth chip it is almost impossible to lose your keys.
This is because KEEO and your Smartphone alert you when they are separated.
Our campaign is running on Kickstarter. Take a look and enjoy KEEO!

Submission + - CO2ube Kickstarter - world-changing device - or an outright scam? (

An anonymous reader writes: Can two smart kids right out of highschool make a device that sequesters a useful amount of CO2 from the tailpipe of your car for $50 — or is it a scam? They appear to be on-track to take $18,000 from Kickstarter backers to make the device. It would seem that this device has to violate the laws of physics in order to do what it claims — yet money from backers is flooding in. Do backers have a healthy open mind — or have they crossed the line into gullibility? Should Kickstarter's management have shut the project down?

More interesting still is the claim that the EPA have somehow "recognised" the device's value. Well, it turns out that the device won a prize at an EPA sponsored science fair. Should the EPA be awarding prizes to enterprising high-schoolers who claim to be violating the laws of physics? Are they encouraging future scientists or making future science worse by leading kids to believe that they can make a difference with junk science?

Submission + - Looking for non-US based email providers 2

jlnance writes: I don't particularly like the NSA looking over my shoulder. As the scope of its various data gathering programs comes to light, it is apparent to me that the only way to avoid being watched is to use servers based in countries which are unlikely to respond to US requests for information. I realize I am trading surveillance by the NSA for surveillance by the KGB or equivalent, but I'm less troubled by that.

I searched briefly for services similar to ymail or gmail which are not hosted in the US. I didn't come up with much. Surely they exist? What are your experiences with this?

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe