mandelbr0t writes "The Canadian Conservative government is preparing to reintroduce amended copyright legislation on Thursday (we discussed the rumor some weeks ago). Most sources say that the proposed legislation is very similar to Bill C-61, generally dubbed the 'Canadian DMCA.' It still includes definitions of 'technological protections' and criminalizes 'circumvention' of those protections. Bill C-61 died in the summer of 2008, facing massive opposition from the Canadian public. Once again, it's time for Canadians to get politically active; ORC ran a large campaign with the last attempt, and will likely be updated soon with the new proposed legislation." Read below for more of the submitter's thoughts on the coming battle.
theodp writes "For a medium in which mediocre singing has never been a bar to entry, a lot of pop vocals suddenly sound better than great — they're note- and pitch-perfect. It's all thanks to Auto-Tune, the brainchild of Andy Hildebrand, who realized that the wonders of autocorrelation — which he once used to map drilling sites for the oil industry — could also be used to bestow perfect pitch upon the Britney Spears of the world. While Auto-Tune was intended to be used unnoticed, musicians are growing fond of adjusting the program's retune speed to eliminate the natural transition between notes, which yield jumpy and automated-sounding vocals. 'I never figured anyone in their right mind would want to do that,' says Hildebrand." As these techniques improve and become more popular, it makes me wonder what music produced twenty or fifty years from now will sound like, and how much authenticity will be left.
ericatcw writes "With many users now used to having multiple monitors at home or work, you had to figure someone would try to offer a 'desktop replacement' laptop that offered the same. Lenovo is the first. Its new W700ds laptop will offer a 10.6 inch LCD screen in addition to the 17-inch primary display. The W700ds also sports a quad-core Intel Core 2 CPU, up to almost 1 TB of storage, and an Nvidia Quadro mobile chip with up to 128 cores. A Lenovo exec called this souped-up version of the normally buttoned-down-for-business ThinkPads the 'nitro-burning drag racer of ThinkPads.' There is even a Wacom digitizer pad and pen for graphic artists, who are expected to be the target market, along with photographers and other creative types who are willing to trade shoulder-aching bulk (11 pounds) and price (minimum of $3,600) for productivity enhancements." At the other end of the laptop size spectrum, Dell recently announced plans to launch a rival to the MacBook Air. Called "Adamo," it is supposedly "thinner than the MacBook Air," though further details will have to wait for the Computer Electronics Show in early January.
IHateEverybody writes "Scientists have found evidence that the solar wind is ripping off chunks of the Martian atmosphere, which could possibly explain why Mars has such a thin atmosphere today. The chunks are being ripped up along 'magnetic umbrellas,' which are bubbles of magnetic fields which rise from the ground and extend above the Martian atmosphere. This is surprising because scientists previously thought that these magnetic umbrellas protected the Martian atmosphere. Now it looks like exactly the opposite might be true."
Because laptops under ten pounds are for chicks and homosexuals.
Real men can carry the weight in their Ford F-450s.
arcticstoat writes to mention that Toshiba's latest line of high-powered laptops has three GPUs included. Both the Qosmio X305-Q706 and Q708 come with an integrated GeForce 9400M for day-to-day processing tasks but have a pair of GeForce 9800Ms in SLI that kick in when you need the extra horsepower. "The [Qosmio] X305-Q706 costs $1,999 US (£1,257) in the US, although we haven't seen any UK pricing on the laptops yet. The system comes with a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 and 4GB of RAM, while the costlier X305-Q708 comes with a quad-core 2.53GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9300 CPU."
B Rog writes "Cisco, Atmel, and the Swedish Institute of Computer Science have released uIPv6, the world's smallest IPv6 compliant IPv6 stack, as open source for the Contiki embedded operating system. The intent is to bring IP addresses to the masses by giving devices such as thermometers or lightbulbs an IPv6 stack. With a code size of 11 kilobytes and a dynamic memory usage of less than 2 kilobytes (yes, kilobytes!), it certainly fits the bill of the ultra-low-power microcontrollers typically used in such devices. When every lightbulb has an IP address, the vast address range of IPv6 sounds like a pretty good idea."
Steve Jobs just got through announcing new MacBook lines in Cupertino. The MacBook, the Pro, and the Air all got revved. The old line of plastic-body MacBooks drops in price by $100, to $999. The new MacBooks have a metal body and multi-touch trackpad, just like the new Pros. The Pro features two NVidia graphics chips. Quoting Jobs: "With the 9400M, you get 5 hours of battery life, with the 9600M GT you get four hours of battery life. You choose." In summary: "We're building both [MacBook and Pro] in a whole new way. From a slab of aluminum to a notebook. New graphics. New trackpad, the best we've ever built. And LED-backlit displays that are far brighter, instant on, far more environmentally responsible." They are shipping today and should be in stores tomorrow. Oh, and one more thing: Steve's blood pressure is 110/70.
thefickler writes "Scientists at the University of Dayton have created a peel-on, peel-off glue which mimics the wall-climbing abilities of Spiderman. The substance, based on the feet of the Gecko lizard, is three times stickier than existing adhesives. The material is so strong that a 4×4mm pad would be enough to hold a 1.5kg object such as a hardcover book. However, it's likely too expensive for consumer use: one British scientist calculates that a single Post-it note using the glue would cost around a thousand dollars." We've mentioned the possibilities of synthetic gecko technology several times before, including as applied in this wall-climbing robot; commercial applications have seemed just around the corner for a while now.
Sockatume writes "The Florida Supreme Court has approved Judge Dava Tunis' recommendations for the permanent disbarment of John B. "Jack" Thompson, with no leave to reapply and $43,675.35 in disciplinary costs. The ruling is a step up from the enhanced disbarment that had been suggested by the prosecution, which would have forbidden him from reapplying for ten years. Thompson has 30 days to appeal the ruling before the disbarment is permanent. Thompson responds to the ruling."
theodp writes "Mama, don't let your babies send e-mail and photos from Vancouver. A Portland family racked up nearly $20,000 in charges on their AT&T bill after their son headed north to Vancouver and used a laptop with an AirCard twenty-one times to send photos and e-mails back home. The family said they wished they would have received some kind of warning before receiving their chock-full-of-international-fees 200-page bill in the mail for $19,370. Guess they didn't read the fine print in that 'Stay connected whether you are traveling across town, the US, or the world' AT&T AirCard pitch. Hey, at least it wasn't $85,000."
snydeq writes "Consuming twice as much RAM as Firefox and saturating the CPU with nearly six times as many execution threads, Microsoft's latest beta release of Internet Explorer 8 is in fact more demanding on your PC than Windows XP itself, research firm Devil Mountain Software found in performance tests. According to the firm, which operates a community-based testing network, IE8 Beta 2 consumed 380MB of RAM and spawned 171 concurrent threads during a multi-tab browsing test of popular Web destinations. InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy speculates that Microsoft may be designing IE8 for the multicore future. But until your machine sports four or eight discrete processing cores, IE8 will remain 'porcine,' Devil Mountain's Craig Barth says."
the-s-dog writes writes to mention that while there have been many people wishing on a star for an iPhone nano, it seems that at least one UK news pub is confident that it will happen, and in time for this Christmas no less. Still completely unfounded rumor, but an interesting possibility. "Apple is about to launch a 'nano' version of the hugely successful iPhone. It is expected to be in the shops in time for Christmas. The product will be launched in the UK at up to £150 for pay-as-you-go customers by O2, the mobile phone group owned by Spain's Telefonica. 'This will be a big one,' said an industry source."
klubar writes "According to a a recent survey, one in three IT staff snoops on colleagues. U.S. information security company Cyber-Ark surveyed 300 senior IT professionals, and found that one-third admitted to secretly snooping, while 47 percent said they had accessed information that was not relevant to their role. Makes you wonder about the other 2 out of 3. Did they lie on the survey or really don't snoop?"
katicli writes "Geohashing, an obscure xkcd pastime which involves going to random coordinates generated by md5 hashing, the date, and the opening status of the stock market, appears to have just gotten far more interesting. The official wiki reports a warning for other geohashers intending to go to the spot designated for June 14th in the San Francisco area, as several avid fans of xkcd were met by an angry rancher and firearms."