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Comment Re:Brilliant. Go Steve! (Score 1) 609

First of all, yes, I did read the whole article.

I could be totally wrong on this (but I don't think so...), but there doesn't seem to be anything new here. This is just a differential (like those between the right and left wheels of a car) where the input drive is the same as the input drive on a differential, the output drive is one of the wheels, and the electric motor that determines the gear ratio is in place of the other wheel.

They will find that the electric motor is really being run as a generator in lower gears, and so is actually just taking away energy, not increasing the torque.

I invented something like this when I was just a kid playing with Lego blocks. One of the pieces was a differential and I tried to create something like this, but then determined that it would only lose energy, not actually create a different gear ratio.

The vital thing that they are missing is that the way it is built, it is always trying to go into a lower gear. So even if you put a fly wheel in place of the electric motor, it would just spin faster and faster until the transmission was in neutral (as soon as you put any load on the output drive).

No holy grail here (unfortunately).

Comment Re:Refuting the imaginary article in your head (Score 1) 410

To me, it seems that the article does not actually detect unknown malware -- it only detects malware that is actively trying not to be detected. If the malware is currently unknown and is not trying to change how memory is accessed -- that is, it allows itself to be swapped out and overwritten like all the other running programs -- then it will not be detected by this method.

The idea seems to be that rootkits will always reside in memory but mask themselves by overriding OS calls. However, this may not always be the case.

Also, I would love to see how they plan to swap out the operating system along with all programs . . . as far as I know, this is not possible/practical on anything that exists. Obviously you have to do it in order to make the computer hibernate, but in that case the kernel stays in memory until the very end when it powers off the computer, and is reloaded again from disk when the computer resumes.

Comment Re:Faster than you think (Score 1) 407

I have a programming contest coming up this Thursday at NJIT. We have two choices: Java, or C++. There is a one minute runtime limit for the solution (which is why we came in sixth place last year instead of first -- we focused too much on finishing all the problems than coming up with efficient solutions for two of them).

Anyway, for a runtime limit like that, there really is no difference between Java and C++. They will both do well or poorly depending on the algorithm. It's much better to be able to finish coding everything with time to spare than to spend too much time debugging.

Social Networks

William Shatner Takes On Social Networking 294

nut writes "Everybody's favourite actor, author and starship captain is bringing some new ideas to the world of social networking. Myouterspace.com is, in the Captain's own words, '...a Sci Fi Social Network for those with a passion for the arts.' Facebook and Myspace should be worried. Sign up now. Go on, you know you want to."
Social Networks

Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression 348

Last year we discussed news that an Xbox Live gamer was banned for identifying herself as a lesbian on her profile. Microsoft said at the time that nothing sexual in nature could appear in Gamertags or profiles. Now, they seem to have reconsidered their stance, and they've updated their Code of Conduct accordingly. Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten wrote: "[The update] will allow our members to more freely express their race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation in Gamertags and profiles. Under our previous policy, some of these expressions of self-identification were not allowed in Gamertags or profiles to prevent the use of these terms as insults or slurs. However we have since heard feedback from our customers that while the spirit of this approach was genuine, it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox LIVE community. This update also comes hand-in-hand with increased stringency and enforcement to prevent the misuse of these terms."

Fuel Cell Marvel "Bloom Box" Gaining Momentum 562

Many sources are continuing to excitedly report on the latest in a long line of startups chasing the holy grail of power sources. This incarnation, the "Bloom Box" from Bloom Energy, promises a power-plant-in-a-box that you can literally put in your backyard, and has received backing from companies like eBay, Google, Staples, FedEx, and Walmart. CBS recently aired an exclusive interview with K.R. Sridhar about his shiny new box. "So what is a Bloom Box exactly? Well, $700,000 to $800,000 will buy you a 'corporate sized' unit. Inside the box are a unique kind of fuel cell consisting of ceramic disks coated with green and black 'inks.' The inks somehow transform a stream of methane (or other hydrocarbons) and oxygen into power, when the box heats up to its operating temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius. To get a view of the cost and benefits, eBay installed 5 of the boxes nine months ago. It says it has saved $100,000 USD on energy since."

Programming With Proportional Fonts? 394

theodp writes "Betty or Veronica? Mary Ann or Ginger? Proportional or Monospaced? There's renewed interest in an old blog post by Maas-Maarten Zeeman, in which M-MZ made the case for programming with proportional fonts, citing studies that show proportional fonts can be read 14% faster than fixed-width fonts. Try it for a couple of weeks, he suggests, and you might like it too. Nowadays, Lucida Grande is M-MZ's font of choice on OS X, and he uses Lucida Sans on Windows. Helvetica, anyone?"
Input Devices

Typing With Your Brain 262

destinyland writes "This article asks, 'Why bother to type a document using a keyboard when you can write it by simply thinking about the letters?' A brain wave study presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society shows that people with electrodes in their brains can 'type' using just their minds. The study involved electrocorticography — a sheet of electrodes laid directly on the surface of the brain after a surgical incision into the skull. ('We were able to consistently predict the desired letters for our patients at or near 100 percent accuracy,' explains one Mayo clinic neurologist.) And besides typing, there's new brain wave applications that can now turn brain waves into music and even Twitter status updates — by thought alone."

Amazon Kindle Proprietary Format Broken 203

An anonymous reader writes "The Register reports that the proprietary document format used by the Amazon online store and Amazon's Kindle has been successfully reverse engineered, allowing these DRM-protected documents to be converted into the open MOBI format. Users of alternative e-book readers rejoice." Here are the hacker's notes on the program he is calling "Unswindle," and here is the (translated) forum where the Kindle challenge was posed and answered.

Caltech Scientists Film Photons With Electrons 46

al0ha writes "Techniques recently invented by researchers at the California Institute of Technology which allow the real-time, real-space visualization of fleeting changes in the structure of nanoscale matter have been used to image the evanescent electrical fields produced by the interaction of electrons and photons, and to track changes in atomic-scale structures."

What Drugs Do Astronauts Take? 132

astroengine writes "Science fiction is stuffed full of examples of pill-popping space explorers and aliens enjoying psychedelic highs. After all, space is big; it can get boring/scary/crazy up there. It's little wonder, then, that our current space explorers consume a cocktail of uppers, downers, tranquilizers and alcohol to get the job done. Robert Lamb on tranquilizers in the space station: 'Sure, it hardly makes for a civilized evening aboard ISS, but it beats someone blowing the hatch because they think they saw something crawling on one of the solar panels.'"

Comment Re:Let's stop calling it "Chrome OS". (Score 1) 193

Google Chrome (the browser) actually does run on Linux. It even has flash and java support now.

I added the chromium-daily repository, and everything is stable and works fine.


By the way, I still use firefox for the most part. Adblock plus is nice.


Keeping Pacemakers Safe From Hackers Screenshot-sm 167

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control have now developed a scheme for protecting implantable medical devices against wireless attacks. The approach relies on using ultrasound waves to determine the exact distance between a medical device and the wireless reader attempting to communicate with it." I had no idea that things have gotten so bad that hearts are being hacked.

Nothing recedes like success. -- Walter Winchell