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+ - DARPA Tested Homing Bullets That Don't Miss

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "The US military conducted what it claims is the first "successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets." For the uninitiated, .50-caliber rounds are approximately the size of a Sharpie, and are used in long-range sniper rifles and machine guns.
The agency explains: "This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is aimed. EXACTO’s specially designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement and other factors that could impede successful hits.""

+ - How a Small Developer Hacked Apple TV Gen 2/3 for Home Automation

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Users of higher-end home automation systems want 2-way IP-based control and feedback for Apple TV, not sad little one-way IR control. The first gen Apple TV was fairly easy to hack for such purposes, but later generations not so much, thanks to no on-board hard drive and a new communications platform. Now at last we see an IP hack for Apple TV gens 2 and 3 that works with high-end remotes and home controllers from Remote Technologies Inc. Scroll to the bottom of this piece to get some tips on how the developer did it."

Comment: Re:No Funding for you then. (Score 1) 81

What does it mean that Comcast gave him money for his first election? Had Franken actually declared war on the Comcast/NBC merger while he was campaigning? GM/NBC was even his former employer at Saturday Night Live. Maybe Comcast just wanted to get on his good side at the time, like his other donors?

But the next election might be something different. And even if Comcast gave him $10k, they'll give the other guy 20k, (so 30K paid out overall) with 20K just the cost of doing business in order to pump up their real pick with a 10K advantage. Don't forget Comcast Corp has a right to Freedom of Speech and can't be sooo restricted financially.

+ - Aereo Embraces Ruling, Tries to Re-Classify Itself as Cable Company 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Rather than completely shuttering its TV-over-the-internet business, Aereo has decided to embrace the Supreme Court's recent decision against it. In a letter to the lower court overseeing the litigation between the company and network broadcasters, Aereo asks to be considered a cable company and to be allowed to pay royalties as such. Cable companies pay royalties to obtain a copyright statutory license under the Copyright Act to retransmit over-the-air programming, and the royalties are set by the government, not the broadcasters. The broadcasters are not happy with this move, of course, claiming that Aereo should not be allowed to flip-flop on how it defines itself."

Comment: Origin of life? (Score 1) 156

by jandersen (#47429873) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

I think the summary rather overstates the case. This virus, if a virus it is, doesn't so much hint at the origins of life as it puts a new perspective on the origins of viruses. The origin of life probably lies much further back in time than the emergence of viruses, certainly if viruses are 'degenerated' life-forms, evolved from cellular life.

Seen in this light, this new virus could be a primitive virus; but it rather begs the question whether 'virus' is actually a well-defined, mono-phyletic group. It seems quite reasonable to think that viruses have evolved many times during evolution. Firstly, although life is said to have begun when certain things came together and formed cells, there must have been a period when life or proto-life was more like a diffuse soup of components that would be part of cellular life, and while some of these combined to become cells, others may have become viruses. They may have evolved again at a slightly later stage from plasmids, pieces of genetic material that move between cells (or plasmids may have evolved as an extreme form of viruses, who knows?), and they may have arisen once more from bacteria or similar.

Comment: Re:Well (Score 5, Informative) 156

by jandersen (#47429841) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

I, for one, welcome our new virii overl...oh forget it, this meme is no longer funny.

Virii? Nitpicking, I know, but that particular abuse of the language makes me cringe, it really does, because it is so bizarrely and emphatically wrong on far too many levels.

Even if 'virus' had been the singular form of a latin word, the plural would not have been 'virii', with double 'i' at the end. 'Viri', possibly, but 'virii' would have to come from 'Virius', a personal name - check out:


Finally, from


The word is from the Latin virus referring to poison and other noxious substances, first used in English in 1392.[10] Virulent, from Latin virulentus (poisonous), dates to 1400.[11] A meaning of "agent that causes infectious disease" is first recorded in 1728,[10] before the discovery of viruses by Dmitri Ivanovsky in 1892. The English plural is viruses, whereas the Latin word is a mass noun, which has no classically attested plural. The adjective viral dates to 1948.[12] The term virion (plural virions), which dates from 1959,[13] is also used to refer to a single, stable infective viral particle that is released from the cell and is fully capable of infecting other cells of the same type.[14]

IMO, since 'virus' is a modernism - an old word used in a completely new way - it is reasonable to treat it grammatically as a modern word: one virus, multiple viruses, just like 'one bus, several buses' ('bus' from 'omnibus', but let's not go there). Apart from that, you would use a a nominative singular here: '... our virus overlords ...'

Comment: Re:UK is not a free country (Score 1) 146

by jandersen (#47429733) Attached to: UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws

Please forgive me if I try to inject a bit sanity into the discussion.

Firstly, there were EU rules in place, which required ISPs etc to keep records of who contacted who, how long they had to keep them and under which circumstances they were required to disclose this information to the police. These rules were overturned, and the UK government rushes a set of laws through, that put the EU rules back in power at the national level. IOW this is not a sudden introduction of new, sweeping powers to spy on UK citizens, it is merely a continuation of a set of rules already in place. It is also rather dubious whether this qualifies as 'spying on UK citizens', since this is about keeping records that the telephone companies already make, so they can bill their customers. Before the rules were introduced, telephone companies followed their own, internal rules, some keeping records for years while others kept them for a short period.

Requiring telecoms to keep their records for a minimum period of time is actually not exclusively bad, because as a customer you have to right to see your own records, which means that you can actually go back to the company and say 'Look, I never called that premium rate number for 2 hours every day while I was away on holiday, so somebody must have hacked you system'. This is one of the things the telecoms don't like at all, because it costs them money.

Finally, telephone records have been in used for solving crime for many years. Assuming that you are not part of a criminal organisation, you probably don't want large, international gangs - the people smugglers, the drugs cartels, the illegal arms traders, the pedophiles etc etc - to get away with it easily? So, in the absence of keeping telephone records, how to you propose that we, as a society tackle these problems? True, right now it is the job of the police, but in reality fighting crime is in the interest of all and is ultimately everybody's responsibility. So, tell us all, how do we fight international, organised crime without keeping an eye on what everybody is doing? After all, criminals look exactly like anybody else.

Comment: Re:Not getting enough volume for headphones... (Score 1) 487

I use the motherboard audio to plug my headphones into. However, the volume for headphones is never high enough even with the volume control maxed out in Windows. Would a separate audio card fix this problem?


Higher quality headphones, specifically ones that have their own amp, would probably work better, though.

I'd ask if the headphones are plugged into line out or the headphone port first.

+ - Senator Al Franken accuses AT+T of 'skirting' net neutrality rules->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "In a letter to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Justice, Senator Al Franken warned that letting AT&T acquire Direct TV could turn AT&T into a gatekeeper to the mobile Internet. Franken also complained that AT&T took inappropriate steps to block Internet applications like Google Voice and Skype: "AT&T has a history of skirting the spirit, and perhaps the letter" of the government's rules on net neutrality, Franken wrote."
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