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Comment On interaction in communication media (Score 2) 166

Your example assumes you called a certain known endpoint (a person, or an automated telephone answering system) and interacted directly with it.

BitTorrent downloads from, and uploads to, unknown endpoints that happen to have or want the file, respectively.

On the one hand, you authorise your BitTorrent client to communicate with these hosts on your behalf, and your goal is the same (to get and give the file); this may constitute a form of interaction.

On the other hand, you have no control over which hosts your BitTorrent client contacts. These people may be people you know or strangers; people in the same or another jurisdiction. The link may be difficult to establish.


Nanoparticles Heated By Radio Waves Switch On Genes In Mice 42

ananyo writes "Researchers have used radio waves to remotely activate engineered insulin-producing genes in mice. In the long term, the work could lead to medical procedures in which patients' genes are triggered on demand. The researchers coated iron oxide nanoparticles with antibodies that bind to a modified version of a temperature-sensitive ion channel. They injected these particles into tumors grown under the skins of mice, then heated the nanoparticles with low-frequency radio waves. The nanoparticles heated the ion channel, activating it and allowing calcium to flow into cells. The influx of calcium switched on an engineered calcium-sensitive gene that produces insulin (abstract)."

Free Software Faces a Test With Qt 177

An anonymous reader writes with an article in TechRadar. From the article: "Thanks to Nokia's jump to Windows Phone 7, from the frying pan into the fire, its Free Software darling, the Qt toolkit, has been left living on vague promises and shell-shocked, hollow enthusiasm. Nokia has pledged some continued investment, bonuses for developers who stick with the platform and even a phone or two that might use it. But the truth is that Qt is deprecated, the project has stalled, and its future is uncertain."

Comment Nintendo Exec Says Phone Games Are Dying (Score 2) 350

"Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata went on the offensive today against his smartphone counterparts, arguing that the model pursued by individuals like Peter Vesterbacka is 'dying.' In a panel discussion at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Iwata said that innovation wasn't coming from independent game coders, but from large and established companies like his own. Iwata also pointed to the major concern over the price model for smartphone games. Compared to games on established consoles, which hover around fifty dollars, mobile titles like Angry Birds run for 99 cents and make their developers little money due to the policies of online app stores. At these price points, "there's no motivation [for] high-value video games," Iwata said. Still, the executive did admit that the business model for console games had yet to be completely figured out."

Okay, not exactly, but Iwata-san did say something against smartphones at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a mere 13 days ago.

Comment Re:Miking up 'open' and 'standard' (Score 1) 663

There's a mistaken assumption here: Google doesn't save $6.5 million as long as Youtube is still encoding H.264 video. This is a purely political move on Google's part.

That is right, but if Google and Mozilla get their way, Google will have saved themselves $6.5 million a year by not needing to encode H.264 anymore for YouTube, and everyone else for not needing to put in support anymore. I seem to have tripped up in my explanations again.

Comment Re:Miking up 'open' and 'standard' (Score 1) 663

The other side of that coin is that, if Google decided to include H.264 support in Chrome, other browser makers, without or with little money, could have been unable to pay the royalties needed to be paid to patent owners to support it in their browsers. Does Google saving itself $6.5 million annually pale in comparison to Google saving itself and everyone else up to $6.5 million annually?

The Web does not need H.264 to function, so if everyone drops support for it preemptively, then even the small browser makers (I'm thinking of Flock here, which is based on Chromium but has a user base of its own) won't need to pay royalties to anyone.

This is like the GIF patents by Unisys* driving adoption of the PNG format, except that the patents are being assessed now because we know of a few formats that are** suitable for the job but unencumbered already. For instance, WebM can, like H.264, be implemented by anyone, but in addition to that, WebM intentionally doesn't require that royalties be paid. It can become a standard, like PNG originally wasn't a standard but then became an ISO/IEC standard 8 years later.

* = As well as other factors such as the lack of true-color support, alpha and ICC in a lossless format, but that's off-topic.
** = May not be for now, due to lack of hardware acceleration, but could become in the future. Some people don't really care about power usage or CPU usage, so it's already suitable for them.


Rogue Satellite Shuts Down US Weather Services 202

radioweather writes "On Sunday, the drifting rogue 'zombie' Galaxy 15 satellite with a stuck transmitter interfered with the satellite data distribution system used by NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS), effectively shutting down data sharing between NWS offices nationwide, as well as weather support groups for the US Air force. This left many forecasters without data, imagery, and maps. Interference from Galaxy 15 affected transmissions of the SES-1 Satellite, which not only serves NOAA with data relay services, but also is used to feed TV programming into virtually every cable network in the US. NOAA's Network Control Facility reports that the computer system affected was NOAA's Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) used to issue forecasts and weather bulletins which uses the weather data feed. They also state the problem is likely to recur again this month before the satellite drifts out of range and eventually dies due to battery depletion."

Comment Re:And in other news... (Score 1) 382

That's because you can't really use HTML 5 to make an ad that is going to be served to users of IE below version 9, in all of which support for HTML 5 does not exist.

So what do you use to advertise IE 9? Either Flash, or Java, or HTML 4 + JavaScript, or some other solution.

Java is bulky. HTML 4 + JavaScript is not that fast in IE 8 and earlier, so it's liable to freeze IE up and disrupt page navigation. Other solutions may mess up even further. You're left with Flash.


UK Wants ISPs To Be Responsible For Third Party Content Online 158

An anonymous reader writes "A key UK government minister, Ed Vaizey (Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries), has ominously proposed that internet service providers should introduce a new Mediation Service that would allow them the freedom to censor third party content on the Internet, without court intervention, in response to little more than a public complaint. Vaizey anticipates that Internet users could use the 'service' to request that any material deemed to be 'inaccurate' (good luck with that) or privacy infringing is removed. No doubt any genuine complaints would probably get lost in a sea of abuse by commercial firms trying to attack freedom of speech and expression."

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (7) Well, it's an excellent idea, but it would make the compilers too hard to write.