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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 26 declined, 7 accepted (33 total, 21.21% accepted)

+ - I am Slashdot 1

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "I submit stories. I read stories. I add comments. I moderate comments. I am the reason that there is ad revenue.

I am Slashdot.

(please propagate the "I am Slashdot" meme in anyway you can)"

+ - The Inside Story Of The World's Biggest 'Battery'

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "With 24 gigawatt-hours of capacity, the Bath County (Virginia) Hydro Pumped Storage Facility is one giant sized storage battery that is the largest in the world. The Inside Story Of The World’s Biggest ‘Battery’ And The Future Of Renewable Energy talks about its operation, where pumped storage fits into the mix of power generation and the challenges they expect in the future. Also see this youtube video for another overview of the facility.

Disclaimer .. I have nothing to do with any of these websites .. I just drove past the place on the weekend."
Technology

+ - $1b Ghost town to be built in New Mexico->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported in the Brisbane Times, construction of a $1b Ghost Town is expected to start in Lea County near Hobbs, New Mexico this year. The town is the brainchild of Pegasus Global Holdings and represents its Center for Innovation, Testing & Evaluation (CITE) and will be modeled after the real town of Rock Hill S.C. From the Brisbane times article:

The point of the town is to enable researchers to test new technologies on existing infrastructure without interfering in everyday life. For instance, while some researchers will be testing smart technologies on old grids, others might be using the streets to test self-driving cars. "The only thing we won't be doing is destructive testing, blowing things up — I hope," said Brumley (senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings).

Also from the that article:

Brumley said plans are to break ground on the town by June 30. The initial development cost is estimated at $US400 million, although Brumley estimates the overall investment in the project to top $US1 billion.

"

Link to Original Source
Robotics

+ - Robot bird perches on human hand->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported in The Age and also directly from Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign researchers have demonstrated a robot bird that can fly down and perform a soft landing, such as perching on a human hand. From the the Age's article

"The ability to perform perched landings on a human hand endows our robot with the ability to operate around humans," says Aditya Paranjape, a post-doctoral scholar working on this project. The project is based on Paranjape's PhD thesis and journal articles written with Soon-Jo Chung, an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Illinois who is also working on the project."

. Video of the robot performing various landings can be seen on youtube at: First Successful Perching on a Human Hand by a Robotic Bird Airplane"
Link to Original Source

+ - How to stop cats pissing on your car->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "Militarizing your backyard with python and AI showed going high tech when trying to rid your back yard of unwelcome pests. But why get so complicated when all you need is a water cannon, some cheap sensors and a video and still camera setup to record the action — How to stop cats pissing on your car"
Link to Original Source

+ - War driving puts on a uniform->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported in The Age and from the Press release as a part of National Consumer Fraud week, the Queensland Police are going war driving in order to identify insecure WiFi setups. from the press release "The War Driving Project involves police conducting proactive patrols of residential and commercial areas to identify unprotected connections. Police will follow this up with a letterbox drop in the targeted area with information on how to effectively secure your connection". While some people may like having an open WiFi AP its interesting to see that the Police also feel that "Having WEP encryption is like using a closed screen door as your sole means of security at home. The WPA or WPA2 security encryption is certainly what we would recommend as it offers a high degree of protection""
Link to Original Source
Power

+ - Re-programming the thermostat->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported in WA Today, Tony Fadell of iPod fame has been using Nest Labs to design and build a thermostat that learns how you live in your house by following how you manually change the temperature. Once you have taught it how to behave (How the Nest learning Thermostat learns), it then can schedule temperature changes that suit your lifestyle, and help you cut down on energy costs."
Link to Original Source
Apple

+ - Rent an iPad for inflight entertainment->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "Jetstar will be trialling the renting out of pre-loaded iPads as a form of inflight entertainment instead of the the more typical seat back video system. No word in the article on how or if they will handle wi-fi connections, but interestingly it does mention that they will be usable during takeoff and landings — something that will be sure to spark lots of discussion regarding planes and modern electronics."
Link to Original Source
Technology

+ - Volvo demonstrates automated car breaking->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "Back in 2009 slashdot ran a story about Volvo working on a crash proof car that used radar and and automated braking (http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/01/02/159210/Volvo-Introduces-a-Collision-Proof-Car). Well a few weeks ago they demonstrated their S60 car with full auto braking. One small problem, it rear ended the truck it was meant to avoid. Fortunately (or perhaps smartly) no driver was in the car, so no one was injured. The failure of the demonstration was blamed on "one or more of the car's sensors had been "fried" before the demo, caused by the car maker fast-charging the S60's battery after discovering it was flat.". After seeing that I am not sure which is worse — that Volvo failed to properly run a demonstration of a new technology (and did not have a backup car ready), or that the said technology can easily be damaged without anyone noticing that it no longer works.

[note to editor — yes I deliberately said "breaking" in the title — its a joke, see]"

Link to Original Source

+ - Airport full body scanners not so secure->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting a story out of Manchester, UK of how an Indian actor claims he was asked to autograph printouts of his full body scans for two female security officers. If true, then this makes a mockery of the official claims that scans will be deleted immediately after they are performed. How long before copies of printouts of celebrities' scans start appearing on websites devoted to security porn?"
Link to Original Source
News

+ - Flying cars .. get yours now->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "Flying cars (or more rightly "Driving Planes") are just around the corner. The Terrafugia website is hosting several videos detailing some of the test flights performed in the last 6 months. The site also suggests that the initial delivery will be in 2011 — just in time for the end of the world when the Mayan calendar rolls over!"
Link to Original Source
Science

+ - Ploughing carbon into the ground->

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "A wheat farmer in Australia has eliminated adding fertilizer to his crop by the simple process of injecting the cooled diesel exhaust of his modified tractor into ground when the wheat is being sown. In doing so he eliminates releasing carbon into the atmosphere and at the same time saving himself up to $AUD500,000 that would have been required to fertilize his 3900 hectares in the traditional way. Yet the crop yields over the last 2 years are on at least par with his best yields since 2001. The technique was developed by a Canadian, Gary Lewis of Bio Agtive and is currently in trial at 100 farms around the world."
Link to Original Source
XBox (Games)

+ - What to do with a free XBox 360 Pro? 1

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "Last week I won an XBox 360 Pro, however I am not a gamer and after looking at the current MS offerings I am not tempted to become one.

But I am in the market for a Media Center PC that I can use for streaming TV shows off the 'net as well as general web browsing and displaying the video through the HDMI port. With that in mind I again looked at MS and saw that they seemed to have positioned the XBox as an adjunct to a separate Windows Media Center PC and not as a stand alone unit (which is not what I want). So once again I did some more research into the XBox homebrew scene and discovered things like Xbox Linux. But after reading that site it is apparent that MS is trying to beat down the homebrewers and I am left wondering how much hassle it would be to go down that path.

So my question is how should I re-purpose my XBox? is it worthwhile doing the Homebrew/Linux option (and can anyone share any experiences)? Are there other ways of re-purposing the device that I haven't considered? Or should I just keep it boxed up as a Christmas present for a favourite nephew?"
Cellphones

+ - Getting better cellphone reception

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "I currently have cellphone service with T-mobile and I get great coverage everywhere I go — except for in my own home. Their coverage website indicates that I should get reasonable signal strength at home, but in practice I only get about 1 bar and that can drop to zero depending on which side of the house I am in. This is very annoying given that my cellphone is my work phone. So I have been looking around for solutions to my problem.

Switching to AT&T might be a solution as that way I can keep my GSM phone, but their website also indicates that I should get about the same level of signal strength as I get with T-mobile. I am not too trusting about that, but I will be trying to track down a friend with AT&T and invite them over to see what actual signal strength I can get. My current phone is a Motorola Razr V3, but I am wondering if a newer phone might have better receiver sensitivity. And the third possible solution would be to install a cellphone booster — which is a big unknown.

So I am looking for recommendations/experience with each of these options:
  1. Switching from T-mobile to AT&T
  2. Getting a newer phone
  3. Installing a cellphone booster
"
Patents

+ - Microsoft loses patent case to tune of $US331 mil.

Submitted by OzPeter
OzPeter (195038) writes "As reported Microsoft has lost a patent case relating to copy protection and has had a $US331 million judgement awarded against them. The case was brought by Uniloc, which sued Microsoft in 2003 for violating its patent relating to technology designed to deter software piracy. From the article (with my emphasis):



"Richardson's patent, one of many under his name, relates to work he did in the early 1990s and covers a software registrations system that allows software makers to create try-before-you-buy versions of their work.

Once users buy the software they get a registration key that unlocks the full featured version of the software.

Uniloc claimed Richardson showed a copy of his software to Microsoft in 1993 but Microsoft did not license it, instead developing its own almost identical version and incorporating it into its products from 1997 or 1998.

Microsoft said that its system works differently from Uniloc's and that Uniloc's patent was obvious.""

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor

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