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Submission + - Growing Public Unrest Leads China to Admit to "Cancer Villages" (bbc.co.uk) 1

The Internet

Submission + - DIY 4G Antenna Design for the Holidays?

eldavojohn writes: This holiday season I will return to the land of my childhood. It is flat and desolate with the nearest major city being a three hour car drive away. Although being able to hear the blood pulse through your ears and enjoying the full milky way is nice, I have finally convinced my parents to get "the internet." It's basically a Verizon Jetpack that receives 4G connected to a router. My mom says it works great but she has complained of it cutting in and out. I know where the tower is, this land is so flat and so devoid of light pollution that the tower and all windmills are supernovas on the horizon at night. Usually I use my rooted Galaxy Nexus to read Slashdot, reply to work e-mails, etc. I would like to build an antenna for her 4G device so they can finally enjoy information the way I have. I have access to tons of scrap copper, wood, steel, etc and could probably hit a scrap yard if something else were needed. As a kid, I would build various quad antennas in an attempt to get better radio and TV reception (is the new digital television antenna design any different?) but I have no experience with building 4G antennas. I assume the sizes and lengths would be much different? After shopping around any 4G antenna costs way too much money. So, Slashdot, do you have any resources, suggestions, books, ideas or otherwise about building something to connect to a Jetpack antenna port? I've got a Masters of Science but it's in Computer Science so if you do explain complicated circuits it helps to explain it like I'm five. I've used baluns before in antenna design but after pulling up unidirectional and reflector antenna designs, I realize I might be in a little over my head. Is there an industry standard book on building antennas for any spectrum?

Submission + - Notch Expands on 0x10c, Microsoft and Quantum Computing (pcgamer.com)

eldavojohn writes: Mojang's Marcus Persson (better known as 'Notch') has answered quite a few questions in an interview with PC Gamer about his new game 0x10c. Since its announcement, there's been very few details about game play aside from the DCPU-16 and art tests. But in this interview, Notch has revealed quite a bit about how the game will function and non-final ideas he has for either a monthly fee to play in a 'multiverse' or micropayments. He talks about a custom OS people are working on to load into the game's CPU as well as a an in-game 3D printer that will allow you to make virtual objects. When asked about Kickstarter and his Oculus dev kit, Notch said 'Definitely going to make it work in 0x10c no matter what' and his account of using the Oculus Rift sounds more than promising for the VR Device. When asked about Linux he said, '[Linux] is wonderful. I think we need to have it, and it’s a shame that more people, including myself, don’t use it. It’s gotten easier and friendlier.' When asked about Microsoft he said, 'I use their OS – Windows 7 is an amazing operating system in my opinion and of course there’s the Xbox, which I love. I’m sure Bing is going to take off and save them. [Editor’s note: Notch is smiling mischievously as he says this.]'

Submission + - Revisiting the Macintosh ROM Easter Egg (nycresistor.com) 1

eldavojohn writes: NYCResistor has published photos of what they call "Ghosts in the ROM" after dumping Apple Mac SE ROM images from a roadside Motorolla 68000 era Macintosh and looking at all the data (they mention an Easter egg reference to this from 1999). They go into some nice detail about the strategy for extracting this data from a discarded unit and noticing structure. There's also other data that they weren't able to identify which causes one to wonder how many other Easter eggs are lying about in various ROM chips and what modern Easter eggs must be shipping with software/hardware today.

Submission + - China Begins Stockpiling Rare Earths, Draws WTO Attention (google.com)

eldavojohn writes: A report by China Securities Journal claims that that China is now stockpiling rare earths although it has not indicated when this stockpiling started. Many WTO members have complained about China's tightening restrictions on exports of rare earths while China maintains that such restrictions are an attempt to clean up its environmental problems. A WTO special conference scheduled for July 10th will hopefully decide if China's restrictions are unfair trade practices or if the US, the EU and Japan are merely upset that they can't export their pollution and receive rare earths at low prices. Last year, China granted its mining companies the right to export 30,200 tonnes but in actuality only 18,600 tonnes were shipped out of country.

Submission + - Startup Claims C-code to SoC in 8-16 Weeks (eetimes.com)

eldavojohn writes: Details are really thin but the EE Times is reporting that Algotochip claims to be sitting on the 'Holy Grail' of SoC design. From Algotochip: "We can move your designs from algorithms to chips in as little as eight weeks," said Satish Padmanabhan CTO and founder of Algotochip, whose EDA tool directly implements digital chips from C-algorithms." Padmanabhan is the designer of the first superscalar DSP. His company, interestingly enough, claims to provide a service that consists of a 'suite of software tools that interprets a customers' C-code without their having any knowledge of Algotochp's proprietary technology and tools. The resultant GDSII design, from which an EDA system can produce the file that goes to TSMC, and all of its intellectual property (IP) is owned completely by the customer—with no licenses required from Algotochip.' This was presented at this year's Globalpress Electronics Summit. Too good to be true or can we expect our ANSI C code to be automagically implemented in a SoC in such a short time?

Submission + - Low Power Consuming, Fast FeTRAM Memory (purdue.edu)

eldavojohn writes: "Researchers at the University of Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center have released news of a proof of concept new ferroelectric transistor random access memory or "FeTRAM." This new technology is nonvolatile and the researchers claim it could use up to 99% less energy than current flash memory. Unlike most FeRAM technology that uses a capacitor, FeTRAM provides nondestructive readout by storing information using a ferroelectric transistor instead. From the article, 'The new technology also is compatible with industry manufacturing processes for complementary metal oxide semiconductors, or CMOS, used to produce computer chips. It has the potential to replace conventional memory systems.' So if they get this into production, you might not have to worry about your laptop cooking your genitals. They've been published in ACS (paywalled) and the professor leading the research has many patents filed relating to transistor nanotechology."

Submission + - Research Grows Nanolasers on Chips (berkeley.edu)

eldavojohn writes: We've all wanted processors with frickin' lasers on them so scientists at UC Berkeley devised a way to 'grow' the nanolasers that could lead to on-chip photonics compatible with CMOS technology used to make current integrated circuits. Particularly exciting about this research is that it integrates the fabrication of III-V devices into our existing infrastructures. From the article, 'Once the nanopillar was made, the researchers showed that it could generate near infrared laser light – a wavelength of about 950 nanometers – at room temperature. The hexagonal geometry dictated by the crystal structure of the nanopillars creates a new, efficient, light-trapping optical cavity. Light circulates up and down the structure in a helical fashion and amplifies via this optical feedback mechanism.' The principal investigator of the research said it has the 'potential to catalyze an optoelectronics revolution in computing, communications, displays and optical signal processing.' This research was funded by DARPA and the DoD.

Submission + - North Korea Opens .kp Sites on the Internet (computerworld.com)

eldavojohn writes: What an auspicious day for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea! To commemorate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, North Korea will no longer depend on Chinese national internet service to reach the outside world — they have their own connection and are hosting sites like the state run media. The article mentions that about a thousand websites are coming online including services like Skype and Twitter. From where I sit in the United States, I can't seem to get any .kp TLD sites to resolve but the news is promising if in fact it will bring more information to the information starved masses of North Korea.

Submission + - Nobel Prize in Physics for Graphene Research (npr.org)

eldavojohn writes: Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two Russian born physicists, will receive the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on graphene research. Graphene's long been a topic of discussion on Slashdot with the very same researchers noted in 2007 for their work in the UK on the first graphene transistor. Subsequent research figured out how to make ultracapacitors out of graphene, get theoretically speedy results from the transistors (and in practice), make memory unimaginably denser and the single atom thick carbon material has even enjoyed advances in fabrication. If you wish to congratulate them, you can post on the Nobel Prize site.

Submission + - Cooling Pump Malfunction on ISS (space.com)

eldavojohn writes: On Saturday at 8pm GMT, the crew of the International Space Station awoke to alarm bells as one of two ammonia pumps shut down due to a spike in power. Their backup cooling (Loop B) is functioning as designed and NASA released an official statement, "The crew is in no danger, but will need to work additional troubleshooting on Sunday to keep the station in a stable configuration, including the installation of a jumper cable to maintain proper cooling to the Zarya module in the Russian segment."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Put Your Own Micro Satellite in Orbit For $8,000 (npr.org)

eldavojohn writes: For just over eight large, a California company will give you a kit and put your satellite in orbit. A professional astronomer who purchased one with the intent of making music out of the solar sensor described the kit, 'It has a power system that's basically two lithium AA batteries hooked together, a little stick of gum computer chip, a bunch of very fragile solar cells that are packed away, antenna and lots of wires. If you were expecting to see Sputnik, it's completely different.' However, it appears that whatever you could fit inside the shoebox sized "launch cylinder" could go up (no weight limits listed). The TubeSat Kit suggests many possible uses and experiments including 'Earth-from-space video imaging, Earth magnetic field measurement, Satellite orientation detection (horizon sensor, gyros, accelerometers, etc.), Orbital environment measurements (temperature, pressure, radiation, etc.), On-orbit hardware and software component testing (microprocessors, etc.), Tracking migratory animals from orbit, Testing satellite stabilization methods, Biological experiments, On-orbit advertising, Private e-mail, Space art and even Space burials.' Considering how easily some have made image satellites, there might be a lot of uses for amateur and professional alike.

Submission + - Taiwanese Scholars Blast Foxconn's Chinese Plants (google.com)

eldavojohn writes: Taiwanese technology group Foxconn is the target of criticism from 180 professors, labor activists and scientists after a growing number of high profile suicides. A petition is claiming that "Foxconn's military management model, including scolding and sometimes beating front-line workers, helps drive isolated Chinese workers to kill themselves. If the company does not put an end to that, there will be more suicides in the future." Chairman Terry Gou has responded that dormitories and rec facilities have been built for workers in China as well as Foxconn provided social services that the local government cannot provide to the many factory workers. As a result, Gou went on to reveal that it's Chinese plant operations may be unsustainable (possibly as a result of the aforementioned benefits cost). Some workers are seeing raises with this article mentioning monthly wages have DOUBLED to $239 at the Chinese factories. You should only be bothered with accusations of Foxconn's "concentration camp styled controlling system" if you care about how humane the conditions are for the hands that manufactured your HP/Dell/Apple devices and the related subcomponents.

Submission + - Audio Innovator Fritz Sennheiser Dies (gizmodo.com)

eldavojohn writes: You may not know Sennheiser but for a tour of their plant. The man behind the company, Professor Dr. Fritz Sennheiser, has passed away (9 May 1912 – 17 May 2010). The founder of Sennheiser and its namesake was responsible for the first shotgun microphones and open headphones as well as advancements in wireless radio and infra-red transmission. A pair of 457s has served me at work for over five years in various cubicle lands and despite all the abuse they've endured they are still producing great sound. Rest in piece, Fritz.

Submission + - 9 Chip Makers Fined $400M in EU for Price Fixing (bbc.co.uk)

eldavojohn writes: In a disturbing case for average consumers, nine DRAM chip manufacturers have been fined over four hundred million dollars for price fixing. The named companies are Samsung, Hynix, Infineon, NEC, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Elpida and Nanya. Micron, a tenth price fixing member, avoided fines for reporting the other nine to the authorities. Since all companies cooperated with the probe, they received a 10% reduction in fines so it could have been worse. The US DoJ has had their own history with chip makers as well as LCD makers in price fixing scandals.

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.