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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:First day of *nix training... (Score 4, Funny) 329

by cliffjumper222 (#48831791) Attached to: Steam For Linux Bug Wipes Out All of a User's Files

Has anyone actually gone into root and executed the command-that-shall-not-be-named? It's like being in a slow-motion train-wreck. I'd like to say I did it once just to see what would happen, but that would be a lie. I was a fresh-faced admin on a Solaris workstation with root access cleaning up the hard drive of extraneous data. Imagine the scene: the finger comes down in slow motion, the Enter key depresses and a few microseconds after, everything speeds up to real time as the brain realizes what just happened. That little bit of skin between your legs crushes up and you feel like your guts are falling out of your body. You rapidly try to find the process and kill it before those very commands get wiped, but it's too late....

Comment: Not very broad (Score 4, Informative) 105

by cliffjumper222 (#48807249) Attached to: Apple Awarded Gesture-Control Patent

This patent covers how to unlock a computer by raising your hand vertically about 20 cm. It's limited to that, so it's hardly "broad".

Quick Analysis of the independent claims (the broadest ones):

Claim 1. A method, comprising: receiving, by a computer executing a non-tactile three dimensional (3D) user interface, a set of multiple 3D coordinates representing a gesture by a hand positioned within a field of view of a sensing device coupled to the computer, the gesture comprising a rising motion along a vertical axis in space wherein the hand performs the rising motion for at least an unlock gesture distance at a minimum unlock gesture speed; and transitioning the non-tactile 3D user interface from a locked state to an unlocked state upon detecting completion of the gesture.

Summary: Covers raising your hand to unlock a computer.

Claims 2,3,4 & 5 add additional specifics around this.

Claim 6. An apparatus, comprising: a sensing device; and a computer executing a non-tactile three dimensional (3D) user interface and configured to receive, from the sensing device, a set of multiple 3D coordinates representing a gesture by a hand positioned within a field of view of the sensing device, the gesture comprising a rising motion along a vertical axis in space wherein the hand performs the rising motion for at least an unlock gesture distance at a minimum unlock gesture speed, and to transition the non-tactile 3D user interface from a locked state to an unlocked state upon detecting completion of the gesture.

Summary: Same as #1, but it's for an apparatus. It's still to unlock a computer.

Claims 7,8,9,10 just add detail to Claim 6.

Claim 11: A computer software product comprising a non-transitory computer-readable medium, in which program instructions are stored, which instructions, when read by a computer executing a non-tactile user interface, cause the computer to receive, from a sensing device, a set of multiple 3D coordinates representing a gesture by a hand positioned within a field of view of the sensing device, the gesture comprising a rising motion along a vertical axis in space wherein the hand performs the rising motion for at least an unlock gesture distance at a minimum unlock gesture speed, and to transition the non-tactile 3D user interface from a locked state to an unlocked state upon detecting completion of the gesture.

Summary: This makes the invention a machine rather just an algorithm, because that like makes it patentable.

Claim 12: A method, comprising: receiving, by a computer executing a non-tactile three dimensional (3D) user interface, a set of multiple 3D coordinates representing a gesture by a hand positioned within a field of view of a sensing device coupled to the computer, the gesture comprising a rising motion along a vertical axis in space; determining whether the gesture of the hand included a rising of the hand by at least 20 centimeters; and transitioning the non-tactile 3D user interface from a locked state to an unlocked state upon detecting completion of the gesture, wherein the transitioning of the user interface from a locked state to an unlocked state is performed only if the upward gesture included a rise of the hand by at least 20 centimeters.

Summary: The cherry on top claim that just sums up all the others into one that is actually what the invention most likely does in real life.

Comment: Nokia ringtone and hour beeps (Score 1) 790

by cliffjumper222 (#48785161) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Not the melodious version, but the tinny mono piezo one. Gahhh, it was everywhere!

Second, hour beeps. Back when digital watches were gain ground, the manufacturers decided to add a handy beep, beep feature on the hour. It was great. Except at school assembly, when about 300 watches would all beep at roughly the same time, ish.

Comment: Burn to brain cells (Score 1) 268

by cliffjumper222 (#47912111) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

As the original aim was to record the memories of the event, the best back up is to create new memories as soon as possible. Sit your kids in front of the monitor and subject ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H show them the videos. Provide plenty of glucose and caffeine so that they back up the memories as accurately as possible. Verbal annotations will help too.
If you want extra back-up diversity, invite members of your close family, and then extended family, work, church, sewing club, etc., to multiple showings. Produce fill-in-the-blanks question sheets about key events and run competitions to spot hard-to-see or difficult-to-catch occurrences. This will ensure multiple imprints of the video material in the neuro-cellular structures of the viewer's heads. Indeed, additional augmented memories may be generated by this whole exercise that can be shared later. And if you record those events on up-to-date video recording media, you will have a useful meta-recording to digest and disseminate further!

Comment: UK vs US roads (Score 4, Informative) 190

by cliffjumper222 (#47567793) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January
Whenever I travel to the UK, I'm impressed and often overwhelmed with the level of visual information that there is when driving - UK roads are fantastically well lined and signposted, they are especially good at night with reflectors/cats eyes down the middle of the road and often different colored ones on the side of the road. As you drive down a freeway/motorway there will typically be at least 4 or 5 signs warning you of a turn-off - two actual directions, and then 100m count-down signs! In the US, you're lucky if there's more than one, and usually that one single sign is just before the turn-off! Of course, computer-driven cars will be able to use GPS/satNav, but driving in the UK is like driving a video game compared to the US. In a lot of Colorado cities, they don't even paint a line across the road at the stop/traffic lights!

Comment: Black box in the Gents (Score 1) 238

If you did high-school physics you may have heard about black body radiation and a thing called a black box - a box that absorbs all light that enters it. This could be a box with a hole in it lined with light-absorbing material, such that any light entering the hole never goes out again. That hole is essentially "black" and can be very, very black indeed. It can be so black, that your mind can play tricks on you as to what it is. This experience occurred to me at work in the, ahem, Gent's, with a toilet roll dispenser. For months, this dispenser (one of those that is stainless steel and holds two rolls, one above the other) had a matt black plastic cover on the front about where a lock was supposed to be, (you can see where this is going). It was absolutely a solid black plastic cover. Quite boring, but clearly covering a hole for some reason. One day, while waiting for nature to, err, take its course I poked the cover and in a flash, found it was a hole! It was a stunning realization that this plastic thing I'd been staring at for months, every day, was actually, nothing. I've subsequently checked this many times and it's an extremely good black box because even when I knew what it was, it still looked like a solid cover. Sadly, last week the facilities folks filled it up with a new lock and ruined a great physical phenomenon. It will be sadly missed.
Government

Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-thought-asking-forgiveness-was-better dept.
angry tapir writes: Amazon.com has asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for permission to test drones outdoors for use in its Prime Air package delivery service. In the run up to launching the service, which aims to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less, the online retailer is developing aerial vehicles that travel over 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, and will carry 5pound (2.3 kilogram) payloads, which account for 86 percent of the products sold on Amazon. They need to ask permission because the FAA specifically banned such behavior last month.
Earth

Mapping a Monster Volcano 105

Posted by timothy
from the shhh-it's-sleeping dept.
bmahersciwriter (2955569) writes In one of the biggest-ever seismology deployments at an active volcano, researchers are peppering Mount St Helens in Washington state with equipment to study the intricate system of chambers and pipes that fed the most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This month, they plan to set off 24 explosions — each equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake — around around the slumbering beast in an effort to map the its interior with unprecedented depth and clarity.

Comment: Re:Mandatory features: (Score 1) 427

by cliffjumper222 (#47320153) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?
Agree with you on lots of these. Interesting about the battery life - why 36 hours? You mention e-ink - but mirasol looks better. Color, high res, high frame rate, great outdoors. With you on the touch screen - I prefer buttons. Could be okay though, but you still have the glove issue when it's cold.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

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