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Input Devices

Submission Wear Ur World: "Minority Report" Interface

konohitowa writes: MIT's indefatigable Patti Maes is showing off a wearable interface, dubbed 'WUW' for 'Wear Ur World', that lets the wearer interact with objects around them. According to the AFP story the device, a collaboration between Dr. Maes and Pranav Mistry, "... can turn any surface into a touch-screen for computing, controlled by simple hand gestures. The gadget can even take photographs if a user frames a scene with his or her hands, or project a watch face with the proper time on a wrist if the user makes a circle there with a finger." There is much gushing about being as cool as Tom Cruise, but the picture on the project's info page leads me to believe no one will be mistaking wearers for John Anderton. Some of you may remember Dr. Maes' work with intelligent agents and the Firefly project from the late 90's.
The Internet

Why Japan Leads the Mobile World 152

Phurge writes "It is no wonder that companies touting m-commerce as the next big web thing tell us Japan is the future blueprint. The Guardian takes a look at the cutting edge and everyday life of cell phone users in Japan. 'By offering the Japanese a multiplicity of services — and, very importantly, some very cool handsets to use them on — the operators have created what every western mobile service provider is dreaming of: a mobile lifestyle culture that keeps millions reaching for the mobile rather than the fixed internet ... What they are less keen on is video calling: in Japan, as in the UK, 90% say "no thanks, never". And as for using the mobile as a modem - to link to the internet - that's very expensive in Japan.'"

Apple May Be Breaking the Law With Policy On iPhone Unlocks 385

an anonymous reader writes "Apple's recent decision to void warranties for folks that unlocked their iPhones may wind them up in legal hot water. The site Phone News points out that Apple appears to have broken a key warranty law relevant to SIM unlocks. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law decades old, would seem to prevent Apple from voiding warranties in the way it is threatening to do with the iPhone, or so the site argues. 'The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act states that Apple cannot void a warranty for a product with third-party enhancements or modifications to their product. The only exception to this rule is if Apple can determine that the modification or enhancement is responsible [for] damaging the product in question ... The legal [questions are]: Is the SIM Unlock process that has become mainstream doing damage to iPhone? And, also, is Apple designing future software updates to do damage to iPhone when said SIM Unlock code is present?'"

Upcoming Firmware Will Brick Unlocked iPhones 605

iCry writes "It was rumored last week, and Apple has now confirmed it: 'Apple said today that a firmware update to the iPhone due to be released later this week "will likely result" in SIM-unlocked iPhones turning into very expensive bricks... So what are users of SIM-unlocked iPhones to do? Not run the latest software update, that's for sure. Users can instead pray to the hacking deities — the famed iPhone Dev Team that released the free software unlock, and iPhoneSIMfree, which released a commercial software unlock — to write applications that will undo the unlocks, as it were, if those users want to run the latest iPhone software.'"

Method for $1/Watt Solar Panels Will Soon See Commercial Use 502

An anonymous reader writes "A method developed at Colorado State University for crafting solar panels has been developed to the point where they are nearly ready for mass production. Professor W.S. Sampath's technique has resulted in a low-cost, high-efficiency process for creating the panels, which will soon be fabricated by a commercial interest. 'Produced at less than $1 per watt, the panels will dramatically reduce the cost of generating solar electricity and could power homes and businesses around the globe with clean energy for roughly the same cost as traditionally generated electricity. Sampath has developed a continuous, automated manufacturing process for solar panels using glass coating with a cadmium telluride thin film instead of the standard high-cost crystalline silicon. Because the process produces high efficiency devices (ranging from 11% to 13%) at a very high rate and yield, it can be done much more cheaply than with existing technologies.'"

Do Not Call Listings to Expire in 2008 247

Ant writes "Yahoo! News report that the cherished dinner hour void of telemarketers could vanish next year for millions of people when phone numbers begin dropping off the national/United States (U.S.)'s Do Not Call list. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which oversees the list, says there is a simple fix. But some lawmakers think it is a hassle to expect people to re-register their phone numbers every five years. Numbers placed on the registry, begun in June 2003, are valid for five years. For the millions of people who signed onto the list in its early days, their numbers will automatically drop off beginning next June if they do not enroll again."
Data Storage

USB 3 in 2008, 10 Times as Fast 381

psychicsword writes "Intel and others plan to release a new version of the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus technology in the first half of 2008, a revamp the chipmaker said will make data transfer rates more than 10 times as fast by adding fiber-optic links alongside the traditional copper wires." "The current USB 2.0 version has a top data-transfer rate of 480 megabits per second, so a tenfold increase would be 4.8 gigabits per second." This should make USB hard drives easier and faster to use."

Fantasy Author Robert Jordan Passes Away 571

willith writes "James Oliver Rigney Jr, author of the long-running fantasy series The Wheel of Time and better known to millions of fans by the pen name Robert Jordan, died on 16 Sept 2007 from cardiac amyloidosis. Jordan announced he had been diagnosed with the disease in March 2006 and vowed to beat the odds, but determination and gumption sometimes just aren't enough in the face of a disease with a median survival time of just over two years. Jordan was in the process of writing the twelfth and final book in the Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light, but the book was not slated for release until 2009 and is still incomplete. While there is hope that the book will still be finished from Jordan's notes, this is devastating news to all of us who have been reading the series since 1990."
Technology (Apple)

Submission Does Steve Jobs listen to Podcasts?

aralin writes: "Steve Jobs isn't exactly known for going easy on products he finds difficult to use. He has called iPhone the best iPod ever and others agree. But I find it the worst iPod yet for listening to Podcasts. The problems are plenty, you cannot see the full title of episode before or after selecting it, you cannot see the show notes at all, which would be very useful for the links in them could be instantly looked up. Many popular podcasts like IT Conversations or PodTech use variable Author and Album field for names of their guests and subsections. That clutters the Author and Album lists, prevents you to find your music easily and polutes the Cover Flow view as well. Not to mention it takes me 15 seconds to pause a podcast when someone interrupts me. This all leads me to a question: Do you think that Steve Jobs listens to podcasts on his iPhone?"

Feed Science Daily: Bouncing Breasts Spark New Bra Challenge->

Breasts move far more than ordinary bras are designed to cope with, according to a new study. And they also bounce more during exercise -- up to 21cm rather than the maximum 16cm bounce measured in past studies. Bras are designed to stop breasts bouncing but this study shows that breasts also move side to side and in and out. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of women experience breast pain when exercising.
Link to Original Source

Feed Science Daily: Bird Completes Epic Flight Across The Pacific->

A female Bar-tailed Godwit, a large, streamlined shorebird, has touched down in New Zealand following an epic, 18,000-mile-long (29,000 km) series of flights tracked by satellite, including the longest non-stop flight recorded for a land bird. On March 17, E7 departed Miranda on the North Island of New Zealand and flew non-stop to Yalu Jiang, China, completing the 6,300-mile-long flight in about eight days. There she settled in for a 5-week-long layover before departing for the breeding grounds.
Link to Original Source

Submission Mitsubishi Developing Perpetual Motion Machine?

konohitowa writes: Mitsubishi Motor's recently showed off a concept electric car that includes a roof mounted solar panel and "a fan in the front air intake system, to enable wind power generation". The latter strikes me as the marketing staff overriding the engineering staff, and the tail end of the article indicates as much: "... these features are designed to highlight Mitsubishi's environmental focus and efficient energy use, according to the company".

One can only assume the wind turbines won't make it into the production version (if there ever is a production version). Unless they have supplementary plans for a system that keeps your vehicle pointed into the wind while it's parked.

In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Submission Impassable Northwesth Passage is open->

An anonymous reader writes: The area covered by sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its lowest level this week, opening up the Northwest Passage — a long-sought short cut between Europe and Asia that has been historically impassable. Leif Toudal Pedersen from the Danish National Space Centre said: "We have seen the ice-covered area drop to just around 3 million sq km which is about 1 million sq km less than the previous minima of 2005 and 2006. There has been a reduction of the ice cover over the last 10 years of about 100 000 sq km per year on average, so a drop of 1 million sq km in just one year is extreme.
Link to Original Source

James Hansen on the Warmest Year Brouhaha 743

Jamie writes "In response to earlier reports, Dr. James Hansen, top climate scientist with NASA, has issued a statement on the recent global warming data correction. He points out 'the effect on global temperature was of order one-thousandth of a degree, so the corrected and uncorrected curves are indistinguishable.' In a second email he shows maps of U.S. temperatures relative to the world in 1934 and 1998, explains why the error occurred (it was not, as reported, a 'Y2K bug') and, in response to errors by 'Fox, Washington Times, and their like,' attacks the 'deceit' of those who 'are not stupid [but] seek to create a brouhaha and muddy the waters in the climate change story.'"

Diebold Rebrands What No One Wants 175

Irvu writes "Diebold has apparently failed in their bid to sell their tainted elections systems unit. Unable to find a buyer the CEO of Diebold promised that the system will be run more 'openly and independently.' To prove that they are serious, they renamed it. Diebold Election Systems is now Premiere Election Solutions. They still sell GEMS, AccuVote OS and the ever-unpopular AccuVote-TSX which performed so disastrously in California's Top-to-Bottom Review under the same names. Apparently their rebranding effort only goes so far."

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle