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Medicine

New Interface Could Wire Prosthetics Directly Into Amputees' Nervous Systems 160

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-can-make-him-better dept.
cylonlover writes "Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have announced a breakthrough in prosthetics that may one day allow artificial limbs to be controlled by their wearers as naturally as organic ones, as well as providing sensations of touch and feeling. The scientists have developed a new interface consisting of a porous, flexible, conductive, biocompatible material through which nerve fibers can grow and act as a sort of junction through which nerve impulses can pass to the prosthesis and data from the prosthesis back to the nerve. If this new interface is successful, it has the potential to one day allow nerves to be connected directly to artificial limbs."
Mars

Programming Error Doomed Russian Mars Probe 276

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-infinite-loops-and-beyond dept.
astroengine writes "So it turns out U.S. radars weren't to blame for the unfortunate demise of Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars sample return mission — it was a computer programming error that doomed the probe, a government board investigating the accident has determined." According to the Planetary Society Blog's unofficial translation and paraphrasing of the incident report, "The spacecraft computer failed when two of the chips in the electronics suffered radiation damage. (The Russians say that radiation damage is the most likely cause, but the spacecraft was still in low Earth orbit beneath the radiation belts.) Whatever triggered the chip failure, the ultimate cause was the use of non-space-qualified electronic components. When the chips failed, the on-board computer program crashed."
Windows

What's Keeping You On Windows? 1880

Posted by samzenpus
from the old-slippers dept.
tearmeapart writes "It may be time again for another discussion/flamewar on the reasons why a lot of us are (still) using Microsoft. The last big discussion on Slashdot was close to 10 years ago, and a lot has changed since then: Windows XP and 7 have proven to be stable (and memories of Windows ME are mostly gone.) There are many more distributions for Linux, especially commercial options. Distributions like Ubuntu and CentOS have made GNU/Linux more friendly. Options for word processing, spreadsheets, etc. have grown. Apple and their products have changed considerably, though their philosophy hasn't. Microsoft Silverlight came and is on the way out. Wine and solutions like Transgaming have matured. So... why are a lot of us still using Windows? What would it take for us to switch?"
Businesses

Skype Execs Purged On Eve of MS Takeover 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the out-with-the-old dept.
jfruhlinger writes "You might think that the executive team that engineered a lucrative buyout for their company would be rewarded. But eight execs from Skype instead found themselves fired just before their company was formally taken over by Microsoft. It appears that this move isn't meddling from Redmond; rather, the private equity firm that owns a 70 percent stake in Skype wanted to cut back on the payout to company execs that would normally accompany this kind of transaction."
PlayStation (Games)

Ask Slashdot: How Should Sony Compensate PSN Users? 386

Posted by timothy
from the coupons-for-a-2d-helping-of-course dept.
ogar572 writes "So Sony is going to give 20 million+ PlayStation Network users (numbers vary based on what article you read) two free games and free credit protection (US only) for what happened a few weeks ago. I for one do miss playing Black Ops online, but I have made it through this outage by doing other, more productive things. What I am most frustrated about is the lack of consistent details and information via email about what is going on. Now Sony says that they are going to compensate us with two free downloadable games (more than likely I have never heard of these games before). I would have been satisfied with the free credit protection. Now that they want to offer me 2 games, why can't I pick any 2 games that I want? I mean, my personal info is now probably being sold on the black market because of Sony. What do you think Sony should do, if anything, to compensate for what has happened?"

Comment: Yes. (Score 1) 697

by MrFancyPants (#35901788) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Streaming-Only For Home Entertainment?

I do. I saved ~$100/month by axing Comcast and downloading torrents of all my favorite shows.

I built an HTPC for ~$600. I use MediaPortal to do playback. The plugins for it do an amazing job of automatically associating files with episodes, downloading art, keeping track of which episodes you've watched, etc. Similar stuff for Movies too. Throw in a Harmony remote and it's even wife-friendly enough that I don't have to do anything. I highly recommend it.

The Internet

White House Wants New Copyright Law Crackdown 652

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-that'll-work-out-fine dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The White House is concerned that 'illegal streaming of content' may not be covered by criminal law, saying 'questions have arisen about whether streaming constitutes the distribution of copyrighted works.' To resolve that ambiguity, it wants a new law to 'clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances'""
Google

Beware of Using Google Or OpenDNS For iTunes 348

Posted by timothy
from the speak-friend-and-enter-slowly dept.
Relayman writes "Joe Mailer wanted to download an iTunes movie recently and his Apple TV told him it would take two hours. When he switched his DNS resolver settings, the download time dropped to less than 20 seconds. Apparently, iTunes content is served by Akamai which uses geolocation based on the IP address of the DNS request to determine which server should provide his content. When you use Google or OpenDNS to resolve the Apple domain name, all the requests to Akamai appear to be coming from the same location and they're all directed to the same server pool, overloading that pool and causing the slow downloads. The solution: be wary of using Google or OpenDNS when downloading iTunes files or similar large files. Use your own ISP's DNS servers instead or run your own resolving DNS server."
Businesses

Countering a DMCA Takedown In the Magnet Wars 475

Posted by kdawson
from the not-attractive dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Zen Magnets, a maker of neodymium magnet toys, has been under assault by the much larger and better distributed Buckyballs, maker of a nearly identical toy. After Zen Magnets listed a couple of eBay auctions with a set of Buckyballs and a set of their own, asking customers to decide which was of higher quality, Buckyballs replied with a legal threat. Zen Magnets countered with an open video response, in which they presented the voicemail from Buckyballs and demonstrated their claims of quality through repeatable, factual tests, providing quantitative data to back up their assertions. Soon after, Buckyballs CEO Jake Bronstein got the video taken down from YouTube via a DMCA takedown, despite the fact that the only elements not made by Zen Magnets are the voicemail he left and some images of himself, which are low-resolution and publicly available online. Zen Magnets has decided to file a counter-takedown notice — not effective yet apparently, since the video is still marked as taken down." Slashdot's sister company ThinkGeek sells Buckyballs. No, we don't get kickbacks, but we totally should.
Update: 09/23 13:23 GMT by KD : Reader Coopjust (872796) points out one place where the disputed video has been mirrored.

Comment: Re:MediaPortal (Score 1) 516

by MrFancyPants (#33461308) Attached to: Video Appliance For a Large Library On a Network?

It does? News to me. It's been 2 years since I tried xbmc, and when I last tried it, a fairly decent machine struggled with HD playback while Mediaportal (and MPC and others that used avivo and purevideo). I did a quick search before posting to make sure I wasn't mistaken and saw this:

> Note! Developers wanted! XBMC does not yet support any listed methods of hardware accelerated video decoding.

at
http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=Hardware_Accelerated_Video_Decoding

So I didn't do more digging...but that page hasn't been updated so 2009, so my bad.

Comment: MediaPortal (Score 2, Informative) 516

by MrFancyPants (#33459870) Attached to: Video Appliance For a Large Library On a Network?

I highly recommend MediaPortal http://www.team-mediaportal.com/

The setup is significant, but once you have it going, it's great. You can use hardware accelerated h264 decoding (whereas Boxee, XBMC and many others are software only). The plugins for it have great, poweful support for automatically matching Movies and TV shows based on regexps and online lookups of the filenames.

Some screenshots can be found:
http://code.google.com/p/moving-pictures/
http://code.google.com/p/mptvseries/

Science

Why Being Wrong Makes Humans So Smart 311

Posted by kdawson
from the something-so-right dept.
Hugh Pickens sends in an excerpt in last week's Boston Globe from Kathryn Schulz's book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. "The more scientists understand about cognitive functioning, the more it becomes clear that our capacity to make mistakes is utterly inextricable from what makes the human brain so swift, adaptable, and intelligent. Rather than treating errors like the bedbugs of the intellect — an appalling and embarrassing nuisance we try to pretend out of existence — we need to recognize that human fallibility is part and parcel of human brilliance. Neuroscientists increasingly think that inductive reasoning undergirds virtually all of human cognition. Humans use inductive reasoning to learn language, organize the world into meaningful categories, and grasp the relationship between cause and effect. Thanks to inductive reasoning, we are able to form nearly instantaneous beliefs and take action accordingly. However, Schulz writes, 'The distinctive thing about inductive reasoning is that it generates conclusions that aren't necessarily true. They are, instead, probabilistically true — which means they are possibly false.' Schulz recommends that we respond to the mistakes (or putative mistakes) of those around us with empathy and generosity and demand that our business and political leaders acknowledge and redress their errors rather than ignoring or denying them. 'Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity, or evil intent, we can liberate ourselves from the impossible burden of trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition that we could be in error, without deeming ourselves idiotic or unworthy.'"
Programming

For Automated Testing, Better Alternatives To DOS Batch Files? 426

Posted by timothy
from the run-them-under-wine dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am working on a project that would allow our customers to test out sending different PCL commands to LAN printers. My initial thought was that a DOS batch file will allow users to select some simple options, send the tests to printers, and even generate a small web page which, when launched from the batch file, will provide email feedback on the tool. This all worked. To spice it up I added some ANSI color commands to the menus, though the implementation of that may prove tricky without resorting to .COM files or forcing the load of the ansi.sys via the command.com shortcut. And this implementation goes against my initial idea that I want the entire thing to be contained in a standalone batch file. My questions are: Is there a better option for this? Are DOS Batch files too 1990s to be taken seriously in 2010? The application needs to (1) be simple (2) be easy to update (3) be able to send PCL commands to LAN-attached printers and (4) allow email feedback. I don't know what other programming language would allow this and be as simple. I tend to think that I have found the best tool for the job but if you have another idea let me know. Call me crazy but I love DOS."
Image

Aussie Gamers Dress As Zombies To Raise R18+ Awareness 85 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the know-we'll-get-to-common-ground-somehow dept.
swandives writes "Australian gamers will dress as zombies to raise awareness about the lack of an R18+ rating for video games in the country. The protest will begin at Hyde Park Fountain on March 27 and lumber through Sydney, raising awareness of the need for a higher classification rating and hopefully causing a bit of havoc at the same time! Computerworld Australia has pictures of previous zombie protests in the lead-up to the event. Australia has a long history of lobbying for an R18+ games classification but, even after a decade, video games are banned from sale if they exceed the maximum M15+ classification. So far, the list of banned titles includes 7 Sins, Risen, Left 4 Dead 2 and Dark Sector. Others, like Alien vs. Predator, were initially banned but appealed the rating and are now MA15+."

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

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