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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Yeah sure (Score 2, Interesting) 200

by catdriver (#28500149) Attached to: DARPA Wants a 19" Super-Efficient Supercomputer

It's totally unscientific, but I just ran Xbench on my 2009 Mac mini and got around 3 GigaFLOPS. It's not very accurate, but probably good to within an order of magnitude.

According to Wikipedia's supercomputer article, that compares roughly with a 1985 Cray-2, which cost about $25 million at the time and was the size of a large closet.

All we have to do is wait about 25 years.

Comment: Re:Only thing that's for sure is that... (Score 1) 366

by catdriver (#27851355) Attached to: Ray Kurzweil's Vision of the Singularity, In Movie Form
Or that it will never allow itself to fall into the hands of the likes of you and me.

The Singularity Sky series by Charles Stross shows what one of the more benign versions of that future might look like.

Or for something less benign you could always watch Terminator...

Comment: Re:'Human' (Score 2, Informative) 309

by catdriver (#27638205) Attached to: Telepresence — Our Best Bet For Exploring Space
Or, if you believe we're all about to have our personalities uploaded to the great singularity in the sky like Ray Kurzweil, you could have an instance of you uploaded to a tiny computer-starship, and live in a virtual environment for the entire journey.

For an interesting and entertaining take on this concept (and other singularity-related ideas) check out the novel Accelerando by Charles Stross.

It's a great book by a fellow Slashdot user, and you can download it free!

(Then go buy some of his other fine works)

Comment: Re:So Long Tailhookers... (Score 3, Informative) 304

by catdriver (#27623209) Attached to: Predator C Avenger Makes First Flights

There's going to be a whole lot of pissed off Navy pilots if they make a UAV that can land on a carrier deck at night in crap weather. Their main reason for superiority over all other pilots will be shot to hell.

I'm the senior Landing Signal Officer for the US Navy's Atlantic Fleet, and we've actually had fully automated landing systems on carrier aircraft for a long while. The first test of any Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS) was in August 1957, and after extensive development the system was regularly used in Vietnam. The current AN/SPN-46 is the latest iteration, but essentially it's just a glorified missile tracking radar that feeds into the airplane's autopilot via a simple UHF datalink. It's all old tech.

While not all aircraft since Vietnam have done it well (my old F-14B Tomcat was actually worse at "Mode I" (fully coupled) ACLS approaches than the F-4 Phantom it replaced) today's Hornets and Super Hornets are very smooth when coupled up -- much smoother than the typical manual landing.

The problem comes when the system fails (something that can happen in any large automated system - in the air or on the ground). Pilots regularly practice landing by hand, because they never know when the ACLS might not be there for them. They could perform coupled approaches every pass, but they wouldn't have the skills to confidently get aboard if the system ever went away. Those skills require lots of practice to stay sharp, and landing at sea is really hard. I've been doing it for ten years, and it's still just as challenging as ever.

Sometime in the next decade the N-UCAS is supposed to demonstrate truly autonomous UAV operations in a carrier environment. It will rely on a draft version of our next-generation GPS-based replacement for the SPN-46: JPALS. It's stated goal is to fully integrate with our normal manned carrier air traffic procedures. Having seen highly trained aviators struggle with the challenges of operating around the boat, I'll be impressed if it lives up to its goals.

Comment: This is interesting... (Score 2, Interesting) 86

by catdriver (#27457141) Attached to: AT&T Changes TOS, Limits Streaming, Tethering

Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following:
(ii) as a substitute or backup for private lines, landlines or full-time or dedicated data connections;

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this seem to imply that you *must also* have dedicated home telephone *and* data service or you're violating their TOS?

Hardware Hacking

Build Your Own Open Source Twittering Power Meter 31

Posted by timothy
from the diy-with-some-help dept.
ptorrone writes "Open source hardware company 'Adafruit Industries' has released a 'Tweet-a-watt' kit. It's an open source power monitoring kit that mods an off-the-shelf power meter which can 'tweet' (publish wirelessly) the daily KWH consumed & Cumulative Kilowatt-hours to your Twitter account, Google App Engine, Facebook, IRC, whatever ... They recently won the 'GreenerGadget' design competition and have now released an open source hardware kit."

Laser Sniffing Captures Typed Keystrokes From 50-100 Feet 146

Posted by timothy
from the shoot-back dept.
Death Metal writes "Chief Security Engineer Andrea Barisani and hardware hacker Daniele Bianco used handmade laser microphone device and a photo diode to measure the vibrations, software for analyzing the spectrograms of frequencies from different keystrokes, as well as technology to apply the data to a dictionary to try to guess the words. They used a technique called dynamic time warping that's typically used for speech recognition applications, to measure the similarity of signals. Line-of-sight on the laptop is needed, but it works through a glass window, they said. Using an infrared laser would prevent a victim from knowing they were being spied on." (This is the same team that was able to pick up the electromagnetic signals emitted by PS/2 keyboards.)

Dreams are free, but you get soaked on the connect time.