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Hi-Tech Nativity Security 110

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-higher-satellite-power dept.
To combat vandalism and theft of their holiday displays, many churches and cities are turning to a technological answer. After one of their cows was stolen, St. Marks Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, Ill. installed GPS devices in the figurines of its nativity scene. This year the village of Wellington, Fla. added security cameras to protect their display. From the article: "BrickHouse Security in New York City offered churches and synagogues free GPS and cameras to protect their displays this season. Seventy have signed up so far. About 24 of them are also installing security cameras. In Merrick, N.Y., the Chabad Center for Jewish Life is putting GPS in its 8-foot menorah on display in a park."

Comment: Re:let's not get too righteous (Score 2, Informative) 270

by Pixie_From_Hell (#34302184) Attached to: US Embassy Categorizes Beijing Air Quality As 'Crazy Bad'

...alerts for nearly exactly the same thing went on for 2-3 weeks in Boston.

It's not nearly the same thing. You're probably thinking of the impact of Quebec forest fires in May, which drove the Air Quality Index (AQI) to the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range (which is 101-150) in parts of the Boston area. This is nowhere near 500+. (The ranges above 150 are Unhealthy (151-200), Very Unhealthy (201-300), and Hazardous (301-500+).

Comment: Re:iPhone4 is $299 retail (32GB model) (Score 1) 202

by Pixie_From_Hell (#33367570) Attached to: Samsung Galaxy Tablet Coming In September

$299 with a contract is NOT retail. It's subsidized.

You can go into a retail store, and walk out with an iPhone 4 after paying that price. I'm sorry if you want to play word games, but that is retail by any definition EVEN THOUGH it is subsidized.

Since the poster ALREADY stated he "would carry a phone anyway" that rendered the subsidy point moot, since he would BE PAYING FOR PHONE SERVICE ANYWAY. A contract price doesn't factor in if you'd have a contract regardless.

A couple of quick points, since I think your argument is a little flawed. First, I can walk into car dealerships and drive away with a car after paying only hundreds of dollars. That's not retail, because I'm on the hook for years worth of payments afterward. The iPhone is cheaper, but I'm still paying for years.

But you argue that he'll be paying for phone service anyway? Phone service varies a lot in cost, and the post you're replying to quotes a $50 saving from T-Mobile over AT&T. So the paying for phone service anyway costs him an extra $1200 over two years? Not all plans are created equal, and they vary a lot in cost (and phone subsidy).

Comment: Re:Why approximate numbers? (Score 3, Informative) 309

by Pixie_From_Hell (#33190528) Attached to: Rubik's Cube Now Solvable in 20 Moves
No, they've proved that the superflip (the position where all the edge pieces are flipped and the corners and centers are in place) is 20 face turns from solved. Thus before this new work it was already known that the general solution required at least 20 face turns, and this work says that 20 is sufficient. So 20 it is!

Comment: Re:Yes. (Score 5, Informative) 319

by Pixie_From_Hell (#33101862) Attached to: Should Professors Be Required To Teach With Tech?
Really?

I teach math at a decent university, and I could teach a semester's worth of material in one class using PowerPoint. Nobody would learn anything, of course. But speaking as a math teacher, it's really easy to go far too fast using things like PowerPoint.

I teach with a lot of the techniques they're talking about (group activities, hands-on exercises), but I really don't want to use presentation software like PowerPoint. I'm willing to bet a lot that a student that has written down a couple of examples from the board is better off than one who has seen the same example projected on a screen.

Finally, the technology the article mentions include blogs, videoconferencing, and "clickers". I've avoided clickers mostly by teaching in small classes, but I can see their use as instant feedback. But blogs? Do my calculus students really want to read a blog I write?

Image

Man Builds His Own Subway 174

Posted by samzenpus
from the everyone-needs-a-hobby dept.
jerryjamesstone writes "Everybody is into rail these days; it is the greenest way to get around next to a bike. Leonid Mulyanchik has been into it for years since before the Berlin Wall fell, since before the first Macintosh, building his own private underground Metro railway system. English-Russia says that he has been doing it with his pension, that it is all legal and approved and that he is still at it. Gizmodo calls it 'Partly the traditional, inspiring, one man against all odds type of persistence, but more the obsessive, borderline insane persistence.'" Update: 06/02 07:33 GMT by T : And if you're the type to visit Burning Man, you can actually ride a home-made monorail this summer, too.
Image

New Hungarian Government OMGs All Gov Sites 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-forgot-the-ponies dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The new Hungarian government chose to replace the home pages with a 'disclaimer' page on several governmental websites such as ministries or the Foreign Office. The title and the main message is 'OMG,' which is followed by an explanation that the inherited websites 'lack any kind of uniform structure' and this is 'unworthy of Hungary.' Today is the takeover day in most ministries for the new administration."
Wine

Wine 1.2 Release Candidate Announced 165

Posted by timothy
from the vintage-2010 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After evolving over 15 years to get to 1.0, a mere 2 years later and Wine 1.2 is just about here. There have been many many improvements and plenty of new features added. Listing just a few (doing no justice to the complete change set): many new toolbar icons; support for alpha blending in image lists; much more complete shader assembler; support for Arabic font shaping and joining, and a number of fixes for video rendering; font anti-aliasing configuration through fontconfig; and improved handling of desktop link files. Win64 support is the milestone that marks this release. Please test your favorite applications for problems and regressions and let the Wine team know so fixes can be made before the final release. Find the release candidate here."
PlayStation (Games)

Valve's Newell Thinks PS3 Needs To Be "Open Like a Mac" 348

Posted by Soulskill
from the open-like-something dept.
Eraesr writes "Apparently Valve boss Gabe Newell thinks the PS3 needs to be more of an open platform, drawing a comparison to Apple's Mac platform. In an interview with 5BY5.TV, he said he would like to see the PS3 be 'open like a Mac' instead of being 'more closed like a Gamecube.' 'Platform investments, like the Mac, are difficult because you have to be aware of what direction that platform is moving,' Newell said, referring to the firm's recent move onto Macs with its titles and distribution service Steam. 'We need to target platforms that do a better job of looking like where we want to be in a few years.'"
Education

Study Finds That Video Games Hinder Learning In Young Boys 278

Posted by Soulskill
from the fun-activities-distract-from-studies,-film-at-11 dept.
dcollins writes "Researchers at Denison University in Ohio have shown that giving PlayStations to young boys leads to slower progress in reading and writing skills. Quoting: 'The study is the first controlled trial to look at the effects of playing video games on learning in young boys. That is to say, the findings aren't based on survey data of kids' game habits, but instead on a specific group of children that were randomly assigned to receive a PlayStation or not ... Those with PlayStations also spent less time engaged in educational activities after school and showed less advancement in their reading and writing skills over time than the control group, according to tests taken by the kids. While the game-system owners didn't show significant behavioral problems, their teachers did report delays in learning academic skills, including writing and spelling.'"
Programming

Simpler "Hello World" Demonstrated In C 582

Posted by kdawson
from the non-obfuscated dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wondering where all that bloat comes from, causing even the classic 'Hello world' to weigh in at 11 KB? An MIT programmer decided to make a Linux C program so simple, she could explain every byte of the assembly. She found that gcc was including libc even when you don't ask for it. The blog shows how to compile a much simpler 'Hello world,' using no libraries at all. This takes me back to the days of programming bare-metal on DOS!"
Government

Leak Shows US Lead Opponent of ACTA Transparency 164

Posted by timothy
from the putting-on-an-acta dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Throughout the debate over ACTA transparency, the secret copyright treaty, many countries have taken public positions that they support release of the actual text, but that other countries do not. Since full transparency requires consensus of all the ACTA partners, the text simply can't be released until everyone is in agreement. A new leak from the Netherlands fingers who the chief opponents of transparency are: the United States, South Korea, Singapore, and Denmark lead the way, with Belgium, Germany, and Portugal not far behind as problem countries."
PC Games (Games)

Valve's Battle Against Cheaters 336

Posted by Soulskill
from the busting-punks dept.
wjousts writes "IEEE Spectrum takes a look behind the scenes at Valve's on-going efforts to battle cheaters in online games: 'Cheating is a superserious threat,' says [Steam's lead engineer, John] Cook. 'Cheating is more of a serious threat than piracy.' The company combats this with its own Valve Anti-Cheat System, which a user consents to install in the Steam subscriber agreement. Cook says the software gets around anti-virus programs by handling all the operations that require administrator access to the user's machine. So, how important is preventing cheating? How much privacy are you willing to sacrifice in the interests of a level playing field? 'Valve also looks for changes within the player's computer processor's memory, which might indicate that cheat code is running.'"

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