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Comment: The Cab Drivers Don't Want It, Nor Do We..... (Score 3, Informative) 235

by Sylvanus (#38057020) Attached to: Oxford City Council Mandates CCTV Cameras In Taxies by 2015

I live in Oxford and the cab drivers hate this idea. It's going to cost them at least £460 each at time when most of them are struggling to survive. They're also convinced its about snooping on them and have all raised privacy concerns. The council has refused to say who will have access to the tapes or what protections there will be.

Most Oxford cab drivers are Asian and few can afford to live in Oxford itself and so drive in from surrounding towns. There are hordes of them demonstrating at the town hall before every council meeting but the councillors don't seem to care - whether their lack of local vote is causing that or not, I don't know. Every cab driver I've spoken to believes someone in the council is 'receiving inducements' for this - no idea if its true!

Oxford City Council is hardcore Labour / militant and seems to regard large sections of the public as the enemy. Its elected by a bunch of leftist academics who have little idea or connection about the real world. Remember it was the last Labour government that tried to introduce ID cards, 90 days detention without charge and seems to have been complicit in torture. CCTV in taxis seems like a logical development!

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/archive/2011/11/14/Oxford+news+(om_oxfordnews)/9361537.Taxi_CCTV_breaks__rights_to_privacy_/

Transportation

Heroic Engineer Crashes Own Vehicle To Save a Life 486

Posted by kdawson
from the delta-vee dept.
scottbomb sends in this feel-good story of an engineer-hero, calling it "one of the coolest stories I've read in a long time." "A manager of Boeing's F22 fighter-jet program, Innes dodged the truck, then looked back to see that the driver was slumped over the wheel. He knew a busy intersection was just ahead, and he had to act fast. Without consulting the passengers in his minivan — 'there was no time to take a vote' — Innes kicked into engineer mode. 'Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,' Innes explained."
Hardware Hacking

Building a Telegraph Using Only Stone Age Materials 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-scratch dept.
MMBK writes "It's the ultimate salvagepunk experiment, building a telegraph out of things found in the woods. From the article: 'During the summer of 2009, artist Jamie O’Shea of the organization Substitute Materials set out to test whether or not electronic communication could have been built at any time in history with the proper knowledge, and with only tools and materials found in the wilderness of New Jersey.'"
The Internet

Woman's Nude Pics End Up Online After Call To Tech Support 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-was-your-service-today? dept.
Tara Fitzgerald couldn't find the nude pictures she planned on sending to her boyfriend, but instead of just taking more, she decided to see if a Dell tech support call could fix her problem. Apparently the tech support guy found them. Unfortunately, he then put them up on a site called "bitchtara."
Handhelds

Apple Reverses iPad "No Cash Purchase" Policy 377

Posted by timothy
from the so-it's-free-now dept.
ZipK writes "After a few days of bad publicity, Apple has reversed its no cash purchase policy, explaining that the policy was originally implemented to limit the number of iPads an individual could buy during the introductory period of short supply. Now that supply has caught up with demand — and the story has hit front pages and gained national attention — Apple has reversed its policy, and taken the opportunity to put a bow on the story by giving the formerly scorned Diane Campbell a free iPad."
Programming

Graph-View of Collaborative Development At GitHub 14

Posted by timothy
from the better-art-than-most-coffee-shops dept.
VindictivePantz writes "In an interesting graphical view on collaborative development, FlowingData writes: 'GitHub is a large community where coders can collaborate on software development projects. People check code in and out, make edits, etc. Franck Cuny maps this community (with Gephi), based on information in thousands of user profiles.'"
Ubuntu

Ubuntu Will Switch To Base-10 File Size Units In Future Release 984

Posted by Soulskill
from the stay-above-the-belt dept.
CyberDragon777 writes "Ubuntu's future 10.10 operating system is going to make a small, but contentious change to how file sizes are represented. Like most other operating systems using binary prefixes, Ubuntu currently represents 1 kB (kilobyte) as 1024 bytes (base-2). But starting with 10.10, a switch to SI prefixes (base-10) will denote 1 kB as 1000 bytes, 1 MB as 1000 kB, 1 GB as 1000 MB, and so on."
Internet Explorer

Steam UI Update Beta Drops IE Rendering For WebKit 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-a-coincidence-with-battle.net-in-beta-too dept.
Citing massive growth in their user base ("25 million users, 1000+ games, 12 billion player minutes per month, and 75 billion Steam client minutes per month"), Valve unveiled a revamped UI for Steam on Tuesday, opening the beta test to anyone who wants to try it out. There are many changes, and an increased focus on social features: "Right from within your own game Library, you can now track which of your friends plays each game or invite them to play one with you. Before you've even bought a game, knowing whether your friends play it is one of the most useful pieces of information to have. So on the store homepage, there's a new listing of what your friends have bought or played lately." Tracking games and achievements have both gotten simpler, and Valve has dropped the Internet Explorer rendering engine in favor of WebKit. An enterprising user also found files that may indicate the existence of an OS X Steam client.
Space

Space Photos Taken From Shed Stun Astronomers 149

Posted by timothy
from the love-the-gold-mylar dept.
krou writes "Amateur astronomer Peter Shah has stunned astronomers around the world with amazing photos of the universe taken from his garden shed. Shah spent £20,000 on the equipment, hooking up a telescope in his shed to his home computer, and the results are being compared to images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. 'Most men like to putter about in their garden shed,' said Shah, 'but mine is a bit more high tech than most. I have fitted it with a sliding roof so I can sit in comfort and look at the heavens. I have a very modest set up, but it just goes to show that a window to the universe is there for all of us – even with the smallest budgets. I had to be patient and take the images over a period of several months because the skies in Britain are often clouded over and you need clear conditions.' His images include the Monkey's head nebula, M33 Pinwheel Galaxy, Andromeda Galaxy and the Flaming Star Nebula, and are being put together for a book."

Apple Orders 10 Million Tablets? 221

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pricepoint-better-be-right dept.
Arvisp writes "According to a blog post by former Google China president Kai-Fu Lee, Apple plans to produce nearly 10 million tablets in the still-unannounced product's first year. If Lee's blog post is to be believed, Apple plans to sell nearly twice as many tablets as it did iPhones in the product's first year."
Media

Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

Posted by timothy
from the vlc-generally-rocks dept.
plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."

Comment: Previous British Attempts (Score 5, Interesting) 707

by Sylvanus (#28938109) Attached to: 30,000-Lb. Bomb On Fast Track For Deployment

Evelyn Waugh - Letter to His Wife - 31st May 1942

No.3 Commando was very anxious to be chums with Lord Glasgow, so they offered to blow up an old tree stump for him and he was very grateful and said don't spoil the plantation of young trees near it because that is the apple of my eye and they said no of course not we can blow a tree down so it falls on a sixpence and Lord Glasgow said goodness you are clever and he asked them all to luncheon for the great explosion.

So Col. Durnford-Slater DSO said to his subaltern, have you put enough explosive in the tree?. Yes, sir, 75lbs. Is that enough? Yes sir I worked it out by mathematics it is exactly right. Well better put a bit more. Very good sir.

And when Col. D Slater DSO had had his port he sent for the subaltern and said subaltern better put a bit more explosive in that tree. I don't want to disappoint Lord Glasgow. Very good sir.

Then they all went out to see the explosion and Col. DS DSO said you will see that tree fall flat at just the angle where it will hurt no young trees and Lord Glasgow said goodness you are clever.

So soon they lit the fuse and waited for the explosion and presently the tree, instead of falling quietly sideways, rose 50 feet into the air taking with it 1/2 acre of soil and the whole young plantation.

And the subaltern said Sir, I made a mistake, it should have been 7 1/2 not 75. Lord Glasgow was so upset he walked in dead silence back to his castle and when they came to the turn of the drive in sight of his castle what should they find but that every pane of glass in the building was broken.

So Lord Glasgow gave a little cry and ran to hide his emotions in the lavatory and there when he pulled the plug the entire ceiling, loosened by the explosion, fell on his head.
This is quite true.

Games

GameStop Selling Games Played By Employees As New 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-sufficiently-played-values-of-new dept.
Kotaku reports on a practice by GameStop which allows employees to "check out" new copies of video games, play them, then return them to be sold as new. Quoting: "When a shipment of video games initially arrives at a store, managers are told to 'gut' several copies of the game, removing the disc or cartridge from the packaging so it can be displayed on the shelf without concern of theft, according to our sources. The games are then placed in protective sleeves or cases under the counter. If a customer asks why the game is not sealed they are typically told the the game is a display copy. The game is still sold as new. When check-out games are returned, we were told, they are placed with the gutted display copies. If a customer asks about these, they are typically told they are display copies, not that they have been played before. Since the copies are often placed with display copies, even managers and employees typically don't know which of these games have been played and which haven't."

Comment: If Games had REAL violence they would do less harm (Score 3, Insightful) 191

by Sylvanus (#26494811) Attached to: Violence in Games, Once Again, Not That Compelling

The problem with violent films and video games is that they do not contain real violence but a 'pornographic' imitation. In real violence the player would be bruised, mutilated or even killed and would see the ghastly effect that weapons have on the human body and people he / she cares about. I used to be in the British Army and I can promise you that real violence is deeply horrifying and frightening. It always involves the soldier / player getting injured in some way and is a great inoculation against violent urges and dreams. Even in a pub brawl you'll get hurt even if you 'win' often with broken knuckles or fingers and a lot of facial bruising. I vividly remember an SAS instructor in personal combat explaining that hand-to-hand fighting without a weapon seldom made sense particularly when you had more than one opponent or they were armed. His three steps in that case were:
1) Talk
2) Run
3) Faint

Video Games and Films sell fantasy violence just as advertising sells fantasy romance and glamour. We know that Advertising works highly effectively to sell products and alter behaviour. It works on all of us, however little we care to acknowledge it. Adolescent males often have brains that are tortured by testosterone and fantasies of masculine power, significance and violence. Violent Games indulge those fantasies which is why they are so successful and in many cases it is very likely they have the same 'advertising' effect and lower the social taboos against violence or aggressive behaviour. I have young children and even though I run a software company (not games), I keep them well away from violent games and films and spend as much time as possible trying to make sure they get exposure to outdoor sport, real contact with friends and doses of high-culture.

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