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Comment Re:Huh? (Score 3, Funny) 67

Looked at that page, which lead me to the SpinWaves page, which had the text: "The simplest way of understanding spin waves is to consider the Hamiltonian {H} for the Heisenberg ferromagnet:" at which point my head exploded and I went back to watching Star Trek reruns. At least there the technobabble make sense...

Comment TaxAct for me (Score 1) 386

I have use TaxAct for several years, for reasons similar to the OP. I'm also not a big fan of Intuit's business practices, so I avoid them where possible. On filing, I generally get a (small) refund so I file electronically to get my money ASAP. However, when I do something big like selling a bunch of stock, I'll file with paper and as late as possible. Gives me more time with my money, and rumor has it you're less likely to get audited with a paper return. Don't know if it's true, but doesn't hurt and even a little less probable is a good thing.

Comment Re:Needs oversight (Score 1) 352

I agree and disagree. I don't see oversight is needed for the Repo case, because unless they're using Google's new automated towing service (TM) there will be people in the loop. The tow truck driver will need to confirm the plate directly or he's (theoretically) committing a crime by stealing your car.

Where I have a problem with this is when law enforcement starts using the historical data in the database as direct proof. The government shouldn't be allowed to say "Based on information provided by XYZ Tracking, your car was in the McDonalds parking lot when it was robbed so you must have committed the crime" without some validity checking. Something like archiving all the scanned photos with embedded date/location info for X months. Of course the gov't would have to pay for all that data retention, but that's the only way to combat the inevitable errors in these huge databases.
Biotech

Machine Translates Thoughts Into Speech 93

An anonymous reader points to this explanation of a brain-machine interface for real-time synthetic speech production, which has been successfully tested in a 26-year-old patient. From the article: "Signals collected from an electrode in the speech motor cortex are amplified and sent wirelessly across the scalp as FM radio signals. The Neuralynx System amplifies, converts, and sorts the signals. The neural decoder then translates the signals into speech commands for the speech synthesizer."
Programming

Does the 'Hacker Ethic' Harm Today's Developers? 436

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions whether the 'hacker ethic' synonymous with computer programing in American society is enough for developers to succeed in today's economy. To be sure, self-taught 'cowboy coders' — the hallmark of today's programming generation in America — are technically proficient, McAllister writes, 'but their code is less likely to be maintainable in the long term, and they're less likely to conform to organizational development processes and coding standards.' And though HTC's Vineet Nayar's proclamation that American programmers are 'unemployable' is overblown, there may be wisdom in offering a new kind of computer engineering degree targeted toward the student who is more interested in succeeding in industry than exploring computing theory. 'American software development managers often complain that Indian programmers are too literal-minded,' McAllister writes, but perhaps Americans have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction. In other words, are we 'too in love with the hacker ideal of the 1980s to produce programmers who are truly prepared for today's real-life business environment?'"
Networking

Comcast Intercepts and Redirects Port 53 Traffic 527

An anonymous reader writes "An interesting (and profane) writeup of one frustrated user's discovery that Comcast is actually intercepting DNS requests bound for non-Comcast DNS servers and redirecting them to their own servers. I had obviously heard of the DNS hijacking for nonexistent domains, but I had no idea they'd actually prevent people from directly contacting their own DNS servers." If true, this is a pretty serious escalation in the Net Neutrality wars. Someone using Comcast, please replicate the simple experiment spelled out in the article and confirm or deny the truth of it. Also, it would be useful if someone using Comcast ran the ICSI Netalyzr and posted the resulting permalink in the comments.

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