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Comment: Re:The issue has moved to the Internet (Score 3, Insightful) 288

by alfrin (#45665035) Attached to: A Year After Ban On Loud TV Commercials: Has It Worked?

Stop using the service then. Seriously. If something is that insanely bad then just go without.

That's the equivalent of saying "TV commercials are annoying, so stop watching TV at all." That's not a solution to the actual problem, that's just hiding from it. I love the actual service, I just find the intrusiveness of the commercials unnecessary( and counterproductive to the purpose of commercials i.e. to convince me to buy a product)

Comment: The issue has moved to the Internet (Score 5, Interesting) 288

by alfrin (#45664877) Attached to: A Year After Ban On Loud TV Commercials: Has It Worked?
Now that I exclusively use online streaming services to watch television shows, I find the commercial volume issues there are far more irritating than I ever experienced on actual television. Spotify is the worst culprit, since it PAUSES the commercial if you lower your system volume. You cannot even avoid the obnoxiously loud commercials there.

+ - MS: Windows Phone 8 WiFi Vulnerable, Cannot Be Patched

Submitted by Freshly Exhumed
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes "Microsoft advises that a cryptographic problem in the PEAP-MS-CHAPv2 protocol used in Windows Phone 8 to provide WPA2 authentication allows a victim’s encrypted domain credentials to be collected by an attacker posing as a typical WiFi access point. Redmond further states that this problem cannot be patched, although a set of manually entered configuration changes involving root certificates on all WP8 phones and on WiFi access points will apparently address the issue. WP7.8 phones are likewise vulnerable."

+ - Various Performance Improvements to Be Seen in Next Visual Studio->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "The big integrated development environments are not always top dogs in terms of performance. Microsoft has tried to alleviate the situation by introducing series of performance improvements for the upcoming Visual Studio 2013. In an interesting article showing a good batch of collected telemetry, Li Shao, a senior software design engineer goes through various components of the IDE and their respective tweaks. Improvements have been made in configuration switching, overall responsiveness, build throughput, building Windows Store apps and IntelliSense. The company still encourages anyone interested to download the full free preview of VS2013 and to provide feedback."
Link to Original Source

+ - Federal Judge Declares Bitcoin a Currency ->

Submitted by tlhIngan
tlhIngan (30335) writes "An East Texas federal judge has concluded that Bitcoin is a currency (can be used as money) that can be regulated under American Law. The conclusion came during the trial of Trendon Shavers, who is accused of running the Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) as a Ponzi scheme. Shavers had argued that since the transactions were all done in Bitcoins, no money changed hands and thus the SEC has no jurisdiction. The judge found that since Bitcoins may be used to purchase goods and services, and more importantly, can be converted to conventional currencies, it is a form of currency and investors wishing to invest in the BTCST provided an investment of money, and thus the SEC may regulate such business"
Link to Original Source

+ - Scientists predict new structure in turbulence

Submitted by liceor
liceor (1095111) writes "A story on phys.org and eurekalert describes a new understanding of how turbulence works.
The article describes a new way of predicting structure within turbulence near walls, which is important because a lot of power is used by ships, planes and automobiles to overcome the drag caused by turbulence.
Although the equations that govern fluid flow were discovered in the early 1800s, nobody had figured out a way to predict recurring structure in wall turbulence directly from these equations. This is mainly because the massive range of scales of motion involved are all coupled.
The paper describes how wall turbulence can be broken down into constituent blocks that can be simply pieced together, lego-like, to approach and eventually get back to the full equations. The calculations are simple enough to be done on a laptop and just a few blocks can give realistic-looking flows.
Links to original paper (paywalled) and preprint version on arxiv."

+ - Super-Flexible Circuits Could Boost Smartphones, Bionic Limbs->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "The microelectronic sensors and mechanical systems built into smartphone cameras and other tiny electronic devices may soon evolve into microscopic, custom-printed versions designed as bionic body parts rather than smartphone components. Engineering researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a micro-printing process that can build microscopic microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) onto a flexible, non-toxic organic polymer designed for implantation in the human body. Current-generation MEMS are typically found in the accelerometers in smartphones, or the tiny actuator motors that focus cell-phone camera lenses. Most are made from substrates based on silicon, and built using techniques common to semiconductor fabrication. The new process, as described in the journal Microelectronic Engineering , relies on an organic polymer that is hundreds of times more flexible than conventional materials used for similar purposes. That flexibility not only makes the units easier to fit into the oddly shaped parts of a human body, it allows them to be made more sensitive to motion and energy-efficient. That alone would give a boost to the miniaturization of electronics, but the stretch and flex of the new materials could also serve as more comfortable and efficient replacements for current prosthetics that sense stimuli from an amputee’s nervous system to power a prosthetic arm, for example, or operate a synthetic bladder."
Link to Original Source

+ - Coffee May Impair Fetal Brain Development->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "It’s often one of the first questions a woman asks her physician when she learns she’s pregnant: Can I keep drinking coffee or caffeinated sodas? Soon-to-be moms are generally told by doctors not to drink more than a cup or two of coffee a day, a recommendation in line with a 2010 review concluding moderate caffeine consumption doesn’t promote premature births or miscarriages or harm fetal growth. But a new study in mice offers the controversial suggestion that at larger doses, caffeine can impair memory and increase the risk of having seizures."
Link to Original Source

Comment: There is no good substitute (Score 3, Interesting) 196

by alfrin (#38558352) Attached to: Google Health's Lifeline Runs Out
I've been an avid user of Google Health for a couple years now. Since the decision to end the service was announced, I've attempted numerous times to find some sense of replacement from HealthVault. HealthVault is a great service, but its hardly equivalent. For instance, HealthVault is merely a storage system for your raw data, and to view it or continue to keep track of it, you have to utilize other services (such as through the Mayo Clinic) with which HV interfaces to manage. It has a lot of possibility, in that you can utilize many specialized services from many different places, however it fails at keeping the experience seemless. You always know that you are leaving to a new site, and often times go through redundant logins and registrations.

Google Health however kept everything restricted to a couple pages. Your blood pressure measurements, weights and other vitals were displayed in concise graphs The greatest strength of Google Health was its stripped down visuals and your ability to create your own trackers for virtually any metric. I used it to keep track of my migraine headaches in hopes of finding a trend which would reveal possible triggers. Some of the services, such as the Mayo Clinic's personal health manager, which use HealthVault offer similar customization, but they are very stripped down, the interfaces are clunky and, once again, it takes an annoying amount of log-in's and desperate clicking to get into the service.

I wish Google would just release the source, so that someone else could construct their own version. I for one would. I loved it.

Comment: Re:reminds me... (Score 2) 235

by alfrin (#34820532) Attached to: EMC Engineer Steals Almost $1 Million of Kit One Piece at a Time

The story doesn't make any sense -- why would he be smuggling bicycles?

Actually, this is derived from a true story told by the Guardia Civil in the Spanish Basquelands.when the government was truly cracking down on their trade. I forget at what point in their history this was, it may have been after Franco's death. However, the Basques were only allowed to bring so much over from the French Basquelands and so some boy would go over every day and return with a small bag and every day the Guardia had to let him pass since his imports were clearly for personal use. They never noticed he was leaving on a rusted, crappy bike of sorts and returning with a new one.

Comment: Re:30 minutes to recharge, every 52 miles? (Score 1) 168

by alfrin (#34705606) Attached to: South Korea Launches First Electric Bus Fleet

Assuming they can actually go 52 miles at the top speed of 62 mph, this means the buses can keep moving for about 50 minutes, and then they need to spend 30 minutes recharging. So it effectively takes 80 minutes to go 52 miles, under the assumption of fast driving on the freeway with no stops, which translates to a speed of 40 mph.

In a long distance race, anything which can average more than 40 mph will beat these buses.

Large urban cities would not allow the possibility to drive 52 miles in that amount of time. Cities are very condensed, filled with hills, traffic signals, and a lot of braking. Not to mention its engine doesn't require electricity like a car uses fuel while idle. A conservative estimate probably would give a bus half a day in Seoul. We are not talking about a Greyhound bus service across the countryside.

Comment: An 'Irony'? (Score 1) 527

by alfrin (#33844608) Attached to: Facebook Billionaire Gives Money To Legalize Marijuana
An irony here is that about a month ago, Facebook refused to take FireDogLake's 'Just Say Now' pro-cannabis law reform ads."
Why is that an irony? Facebook as an entity has much more to lose in political backlash if it even hints at supporting such a, albeit unnecessarily, hot topic such as marijuana legalization. Very few people give a damn what a single person does with their own money.
Patents

US Supreme Court Skeptical of Business Method Patents 160

Posted by kdawson
from the feeling-bilski dept.
Trepidity writes "The US Supreme Court held oral argument Monday in Bilski, a business-methods patent case that might also have important implications for software patents (We have previously discussed the case several times). The tone of the argument appears to be good news, as the justices were very skeptical of the broad patentability claims. They even brought up a parade of absurd hypothetical patents quite similar to the ones Slashdotters tend to mention in these kinds of debates. Roberts surmised that 'buy low, sell high' might be a patentable business method, Sotomayor wondered if speed-dating could be patentable, Breyer questioned whether a professor could patent a lesson plan that kept his students from falling asleep, and Scalia brought up the old-time radio soap opera Lorenzo Jones, featuring a hare-brained inventor with delusions of getting rich." Patently O has good blow-by-blow coverage of the day's proceedings. Official argument transcripts will be up soon, they say.

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