An anonymous reader writes "The Open Source Coffee Machine [video link] is a recycled coffee machine, controlled by a PC running Beremiz, and using some MicroMod CANopen I/O nodes from Peak-System. This machine have been prepared by Peak-System and Lolitech for SCS-Paris-08 exhibition. It served free coffee during four days at Peak-System's booth, and has been donated to IUT of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France, so that students can have fun practicing automation."
theodp writes "Time reports that vinyl records are suddenly cool again. Vinyl has a warmer, more nuanced sound than CDs or MP3s; records feature large album covers with imaginative graphics, pullout photos, and liner notes. 'Bad sound on an iPod has had an impact on a lot of people going back to vinyl,' says 15-year-old David MacRunnel, who owns more than 1,000 records."
Kabz found the 10 Worst PC Keyboards of all time which leads off with the Commodore 64 and takes a trip through PCjr country. Might trigger some nostalgia, or some sort of flashback wrist strain.
theodp writes "Traditionally, comics have been by, for and about men. But more and more women are breaking into the traditional boys' club. Beginning with Wonder Woman #14, the superhero's tale is being told by Gail Simone. It's a break from nearly 66 years of being written for the most part by men. '[Her work as a blogger] led to a writing job for the all-female comic 'Birds of Prey' for DC--which became a short-lived, live-action TV series--and in turn won her the "Wonder Woman" job. Simone says she sees a change since she wrote her refrigerator rant 10 years ago. 'At that time, the trend was towards grim stories where female characters were killed,' she says. 'We only had a handful of female characters to look up to. Today we're not seeing those stories so much.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Seagate has agreed to settle a lawsuit that alleges that the company mislead customers by selling them hard disk drives with less capacity than the company advertised. The suit states that Seagate's use of the decimal definition of the storage capacity term "gigabyte" was misleading and inaccurate: whereby 1GB = 1 billion bytes. In actuality, 1GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes — a difference of approximately 7% from Seagate's figures. Seagate is saying it will offer a cash refund or free backup and recovery software."
andy1307 writes "According to an article in the New York Times, Lenovo has expressed an interest in buying Seagate. This has raised concerns among American government officials about the risks to national security in transferring high technology to China. From the article: 'In recent years, modern disk drives, used to store vast quantities of digital information securely, have become complex computing systems, complete with hundreds of thousands of lines of software that are used to ensure the integrity of data and to offer data encryption.'"
adachan writes "It seems that Microsoft has decided to add Xvid playback into the upcoming Spring Xbox 360 dashboard update. Xbox.com has a list of all the upcoming enhancements to the dash. The playback of video using H.264 and mpeg4 codecs seems to be the biggest news for those using the system as a media extender. If this is indeed true, my Xbox Media Center will be used less and less." Update: 04/09 17:29 GMT by Z : MSN Messenger is kinda interesting as well. Several sites are reporting that instant messenging is being added to the Xbox Live experience, with a USB keyboard controller attachment to be offered sometime in the near future.
JeremyDuffy sends us to Ars Technica for a look at an e-voting bill making its way through Congress that is gaining the support of the likes of Ed Felten and the EFF. Quoting: "HR 811 features several requirements that will warm the hearts of geek activists. It bans the use of computerized voting machines that lack a voter-verified paper trail. It mandates that the paper records be the authoritative source in any recounts, and requires prominent notices reminding voters to double-check the paper record before leaving the polling place. It mandates automatic audits of at least three percent of all votes cast to detect discrepancies between the paper and electronic records. It bans voting machines that contain wireless networking hardware and prohibits connecting voting machines to the Internet. Finally, it requires that the source code for e-voting machines be made publicly available."
Bruce Schneier has said that trying to make digital files uncopyable is like trying to make water not wet. With Vista, Microsoft seems to have done a pretty good job of making premium content files not copyable. Now a few readers have tipped us to a new wrinkle: Vista also makes it very, very slow to copy, rename, or delete ordinary files. Here is a Microsoft TechNet thread on the problem. The Reg reports that Microsoft has a hotfix for what sounds like a subset of the more general problem complained about on TechNet; but they will only give it to customers who ask nicely. And a hotfix is fussier to install than a proper patch.
Pojodojo writes "I have been pursuing a CS degree for the last two years at a very reputable University in the field, however I have recently come into question my intentions past graduation. I am currently working as a Student IT at school, and do not mind the IT environment, however I am almost certain it is something I would not want to do as a career. I am not particularly gifted in programming, nor am I that interested in it, I enjoy the theory behind the programming far more. The problem arises in that I would like to get a doctorate in CS eventually, but I do not know of any careers outside of academics that would be enjoyable for someone such as myself (one whom would rather not program all day). I would not mind being in academics, but what I want to know is: What sort of careers exist outside of the IT field for a computer scientist?"
An anonymous reader slipped us a link to the Seattle PI article discussing Bryan Lee's departure from Microsoft. The former business development VP for the Zune has parted ways with the company for personal reasons now that 'Zune was launched and on track'. This means that J. Allard will be stepping up into fill the void. Allard was instrumental in bringing the first Xbox console to market, and was the VP in charge of technical matters for the Zune. An analyst with Gartner is quoted as saying this move means not all is well in the land of Zune, but a rumour on the CrunchGear site indicates that Microsoft is planning on stepping things up later this year with a Zune cellphone. A smartphone designed to compete with Apple in that market it would seem, despite whatever problems may be going on, the company is still rather fond of the strange little brown device.
miller60 writes "The race by Microsoft and Google to build next-generation data centers is intensifying. On Thursday Microsoft announced a $550 million San Antonio project, only to have Google confirm plans for a $600 million site in North Carolina. It appears Google may just be getting started, as it is apparently planning two more enormous data centers in South Carolina, which may cost another $950 million. These 'Death Star' data centers are emerging as a key assets in the competitive struggle between Microsoft and Google, which have both scaled up their spending (as previously discussed on Slashdot). Some pundits, like PBS' Robert X. Cringley, say the scope and cost of these projects reflect the immense scale of Google's ambitions."
Benjamin Long writes to note a study, by a team of neuroscientists and engineers, that demonstrated that humans can follow a scent trail — an ability that most had assumed only animals possessed. Furthermore, the study demonstrated for the first time that humans make use of differential information from the two nostrils. The researchers blindfolded college students who crawled through grass to sniff out a chocolate-scented trail. Here is the abstract of the paper in Nature Neuroscience. From the article: "The humans, however, still sniffed much more slowly than dogs, which may partially account for canines' greater efficiency at scent tracking. [A commentator] says that despite their relatively sluggish speed, the fact that subjects improved with training is noteworthy. 'I think that shows the effect of our distinctively different behavior in actually using this sense,' he says. 'The dog [has] been doing this its whole life, and humans [were] just asked to plunge in the first time they've ever done it.'"