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Comment Re:Compustick (Score 1) 112 112

I'm using an MK809 Android TV stick that cost me about $35 on Amazon. Plays my Samba shared media over wifi flawlessly, as well as Hulu/Netflix/NBC/CBS, all while using the USB port on my TV as its power supply. It really doesn't get much more efficient than that.

Instead of a TV remote, I use a "flying mouse" that you can find for around $15 on Amazon. Held like a remote, it's a mouse; hold it sideways if you need to type. I leave the TV's volume always on max, and control the audio thru the TV stick.

It's slick, it's easy, it's cheap, and very efficient, and doesn't require *any* expensive hardware nor any cable running.

Comment Re:Difficulty (Score 2) 103 103

Being an astrophysicist doesn't make you at all qualified to use a VCR. (Wait, who uses VCRs anymore?! I haven't touched one in almost two decades!) But it *does* mean that we're not talking about an idiot. And if you're trying to target your product to be usable for the average joe, and an astrophysicist can't figure it out, you can assume that you missed your target.

Comment Re:I'm surprised they missed "Wi-Fi Sense." (Score 1) 361 361

uploads a supposedly-encrypted form of your wireless AP's password to a Microsoft server for safe-keeping

It's a bit hard to get outraged at MSFT when GOOG has been doing the exact same thing for the last three or four Android versions.

Submission + - Superhydrophobic nano-wallpaint in San Francisco pisses back on public pissers 2->

monkeyzoo writes: San Francisco is testing an ultra-water-repellant paint on wallls in areas fraught with public urination problems. The paint is designed to repel the urine and soil the pisser's pants. "It's supposed to, when people urinate, bounce back and hit them on the pants and get them wet. Hopefully that will discourage them. We will put a sign to give them a heads up," said Mohammad Nuru, director of the San Francisco public works. A Florida company named Ultra-Tech produces the super-hydrophobic oleophobic nano-coating that was also recently used with success on walls in Hamburg, Germany [video] to discourage public urination. Signs posted there warn, "Do not pee here! We pee back!" Time will tell if this works better than the firehose employed in India.
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Power

Replacing Silicon With Gallium Nitride In Chips Could Reduce Energy Use By 20% 90 90

Mickeycaskill writes: Cambridge Electronics Inc (CEI), formed of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), claim semiconductors made of gallium nitride (GaN) could reduce the power consumption of data centers and consumer electronics by 20 percent by 2025. CEI has revealed a range of GaN transistors and power electronic circuits that have just one tenth of the resistance of silicon, resulting in much higher energy efficiency. The company claims to have overcome previous barriers to adoption such as safety concerns and expense through new manufacturing techniques. "Basically, we are fabricating our advanced GaN transistors and circuits in conventional silicon foundries, at the cost of silicon. The cost is the same, but the performance of the new devices is 100 times better," Cambridge Electronics researcher Bin Lu said.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1) 1142 1142

That's not destruction of property, that's maintenance of property. Want a better analogy than the soccer ball? If your neighbor parks in your driveway without permission you can probably have him towed. What you can't do is take a 9 Iron to his headlights.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1) 1142 1142

No, that would still be destruction of property. The fact that it's on your property does not give you the right to destroy it. If the neighbor's kid kicks a soccer ball over your fence does that give you the right to slash it with a knife before you return it to them? Of course not.

GNU is Not Unix

Interviews: Ask Richard Stallman a Question 308 308

RMS founded the GNU Project, the Free Software Foundation, and remains one of the most important and outspoken advocates for software freedom. He now spends much of his time fighting excessive extension of copyright laws, digital restrictions management, and software patents. RMS has agreed to answer your questions about GNU/Linux, how GNU relates to Linux the kernel, free software, why he disagrees with the idea of open source, and other issues of public concern. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Input Devices

Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Caps Lock Key Still So Prominent On Keyboards? 666 666

Esther Schindler writes: The developers at .io are into tracking things, I guess. In any case, a few weeks back they decided to track team performance in terms of keyboard and mouse activity during the working day. They installed a simple Chrome plugin on every Macbook and collected some statistics. For instance, developers have fewer keypresses than editors and managers—around 4k every day. Managers type more than 23k characters per day. And so on. Some pretty neat statistics.

But the piece that jumped out at me was this: "What's curious—the least popular keys are Capslock and Right Mouse Button. Somewhere around 0.1% of all keypresses together. It's time to make some changes to keyboards." I've been whining about this for years. Why is it that the least-used key on my keyboard is not just in a prominent position, but also bigger than most other keys? I can I invest in a real alternate keyboard with a different layout (my husband's a big fan of the Kinesis keyboards, initially to cope with carpal tunnel). But surely it's time to re-visit the standard key layout? What keys would you eliminate or re-arrange?
PC Games (Games)

Sprked Tries To Solve Valve's Paid Mods Scandal 37 37

SlappingOysters writes: This article takes a closer look at the emerging crowdfunding platform Sprked, which aims to follow the Patreon support model, but exclusively for video game modders. The service is currently in its early stages, but by crafting a system of appreciation and support that acknowledges the loyalty of the modding community, Sprked has the potential to promote and foster the creativity that is so integral to modding, instead of hampering it with the murky baggage of a mandatory economy. Valve's attempt to let modders make some money for their efforts backfired within the community — there are four demons the paid mods plan must slay to actually work.

Submission + - OPM hackers suspected in United Airlines breach->

vivaoporto writes: Bloomberg reports that the hackers who stole data on more than 22 million U.S. insurance holders and government employees in recent months breached another big target at around the same time — United Airlines.

United, the world's second-largest airline, detected an incursion into its computer systems in May or early June, said several people familiar with the probe. According to three of these people, investigators working with the carrier have linked the attack to a group of China-backed hackers they say are behind several other large heists — including the theft of security-clearance records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and medical data from health insurer Anthem Inc.

The airline is still trying to determine exactly which data was removed from the network, said two of the people familiar with the probe. That assessment took months in the OPM case, which was discovered in April and made public in June.

Besides passenger lists and other flight-related data, the hackers may also have taken information related to United’s mergers and acquisitions strategy, one of the people familiar with the investigation said.

Flight manifests usually contain the names and birthdates of passengers, but even if those files were taken, experts say that would be unlikely to trigger disclosure requirements in any of the 47 states with breach-notification laws.

The timing of the United breach also raises questions about whether it's linked to computer faults that stranded thousands of the airline's passengers in two incidents over the past couple of months. Two additional people close to the probe, who like the others asked not to be identified when discussing the investigation, say the carrier has found no connection between the hack and a July 8 systems failure that halted flights for two hours. They didn't rule out a possible, tangential connection to an outage on June 2.

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