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Microsoft

Will Microsoft Dis-Kinect Freeloading TV Viewers? 478

theodp writes "Just when you think the cable TV viewing experience couldn't get any worse, GeekWire reports on the Microsoft Xbox Incubation team's patent-pending Consumer Detector, which uses cameras and sensors like those in the Xbox 360 Kinect controller to monitor, count and in some cases identify the people in a room watching television, movies and other content. Should the number of viewers detected exceed the limits of a particular content license, the system would halt playback unless additional viewing rights were purchased."
Handhelds

Apple Patents Tech to Stop iPhones Filming in Venues 391

An anonymous reader writes "A patent application filed by Apple, and obtained by the Times, reveals how the software would work. If a person were to hold up their iPhone, the device would trigger the attention of infra-red sensors installed at the venue. These sensors would then instruct the iPhone to disable its camera."
The Almighty Buck

Ask Amir Taaki About Bitcoin 768

"Bitcoin," says the project's website, "is a peer-to-peer currency. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new money or tracks transactions." Wikipedia offers a readable explanation of the underlying technology. In (very) short, Bitcoin uses a distributed database and public key encryption to allow users to reassign ownership of units of Bitcoin currency (BTC), and does so in a way that can keep the user's identity private. Bitcoin isn't yet accepted the way credit cards are, but it's more than theoretical. You can buy (some) things with Bitcoin, and trade the currency itself. Now, you can ask question about Bitcoin of Amir Taaki, a developer of client interfaces and stock trading software for Bitcoin, and owner and operator of trading exchange Britcoin.co.uk. Amir requests that questions focus not "so much on the mining (too many people get focused on that when it's a minor aspect of Bitcoin) nor simple technical questions (people can go find that info themselves on Wikipedia/the forums/sourcecode)," but rather on the harder-to-answer questions. Reading some of the related stories listed below may give you ideas on what those are. Standard Slashdot Interview rules apply: ask as many questions as you want, but please keep them to one per comment. Amir will get back with his answers.
Advertising

Adobe's CTO Pitches 'Apps Near You' Concept 98

angry tapir writes "Next-generation applications will be location-specific, offering users information and features related to where they are at any given moment, Adobe Systems CTO Kevin Lynch, said at the Open Mobile Summit conference. 'Apps near you,' as he called the idea, would pop up on mobile screens when a user is close to a specific location. Lynch showed the example of someone with a Samsung tablet visiting a museum and being able to download a guide application."
Cellphones

Apple Camera Patent Lets External Transmitters Disable Features 268

sticks_us writes with news of an Apple patent application, recently published by the USPTO, for an on-board camera system that would include circuitry for processing external infrared signals. The data received from these signals could then be used to present information to the user of the device, or even to modify the device's operation. "For example, an infrared emitter could be located in areas where picture or video capture is prohibited, and the emitter could generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands to disable the recording functions of devices. An electronic device could then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and temporarily disable the device's recording function based on the command. ... In some embodiments, a device may apply a watermark to detected images as an alternative to completely disabling a recording function."
Television

The Next Phase of Intelligent TVs Will Observe You 294

An anonymous reader writes "Japan based NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories (STRL) is testing an interface which observes TV viewers, determines their interest and provides information related to the TV program in accordance with the way they are watching it. UTAN (user technology assisted navigation) TV viewing interface, as it is called, has a camera mounted on the TV which photographs the viewer and estimates the viewer's degrees of interest, concentration, etc. The information is processed by a tablet PC and recommended information is shown to the viewer. It is possible to show individual interests as well, in case there are multiple viewers."
The Matrix

The Matrix Re-Reloaded 640

derGoldstein writes "According to Keanu Reeves: ' Matrix 4 and 5 are coming.' At an event that took place at the London International School of Performing Arts, 'Reeves revealed that he met with the Wachowskis around Christmas. They told him that they completed script treatments for two more Matrix installments. They are planning to make the films in 3D and have already met with James Cameron to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. Reeves added that he's excited to return as Neo and promised that the treatments will truly revolutionize the action genre like the first Matrix film did.'"
Government

Obama Eyeing Internet ID For Americans 487

Pickens writes "CBS News reports that the Obama administration is currently drafting the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which will be released by the president in the next few months. 'We are not talking about a national ID card,' says Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whose department will be in charge of the program. 'We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.' Although details have not been finalized, the 'trusted identity' may take the form of a smart card or digital certificate that would prove online users are who they say they are. These digital IDs would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions. White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt says that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet. 'I don't have to get a credential if I don't want to,' says Schmidt. There's no chance that 'a centralized database will emerge,' and 'we need the private sector to lead the implementation of this.'"
Intel

Intel's Sandy Bridge Processor Has a Kill Switch 399

An anonymous reader writes "Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors have a new feature that the chip giant is calling Anti-Theft 3.0. The processor can be disabled even if the computer has no Internet connection or isn't even turned on, over a 3G network. With Intel anti-theft technology built into Sandy Bridge, David Allen, director of distribution sales at Intel North America, said that users have the option to set up their processor so that if their computer is lost or stolen, it can be shut down remotely."
Transportation

How To Build Roads To Control How Fast You Drive 801

An anonymous reader writes "They're the holy grail of transportation engineering: streets and highways specifically designed to encourage automobilists to drive less quickly, reducing the rates of passenger fatalities and generally encouraging a safer urban environment. And now new research shows that, if built right, they just might work. A new study out of the University of Connecticut suggests that minor reductions in vehicle speed are possible through changes in the street environment. Through the use of roadside parking, tighter building setbacks, and more commercial land uses, road designers can make drivers subconsciously drive more slowly." All of that is gonna work a lot better than my strategy of placing car-sized holes covered with twigs and branches randomly every half mile or so down the interstates.
Cellphones

Will Your Car Tell You To Put Down the Phone? 349

crimeandpunishment writes with this story from the AP: "We know it's dangerous to text while driving, or talk on a cell phone without using a hands-free device. What if our car knew it as well, and warned us about it? Our cars buzz and beep at us when our seatbelts aren't buckled ... now there are new applications in the works that could lead to a warning if we're driving with a cell phone in our hand."

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