ErichTheRed writes "Computerworld has put together an interesting collection of links to various sources detailing the decline of US R&D/innovation in technology. The cross section of sources is interesting — everything from government to private industry. It's interesting to see that some people are actually concerned about this...even though all the US does is argue internally while rewarding the behaviour that hastens the decline."
TechieAlizay points out a post at Geekword.net about a man who hacked Microsoft's Kinect to play Max Payne. "This hack was possible due to FAAST (a toolkit for Kinect), OpenNi/Nite and GlovePIE. Here's how the hacker describes the different control gestures: 'As you can see, the leaning left and right stuff is all there – and moving your body forward and back moves you back and forward. The reload and interact gestures are becoming pretty standard for me now, and pain killers are popped with an upward motion of the left hand. What makes this special though is the leg movements that activate bullet time. The result is bullet time diving for real! When this game hit just after the Matrix film came out, it caused a big stir – with Kinect augmentation it gets even better. The one thing that needs fixing is weapon select; this will be handled by the +/- buttons on the mote in future, I think.'" Another video shows Kinect controlling Left 4 Dead 2. In addition to future PC support, Microsoft is reportedly working on an official SDK. Yet another recent hack of note allows a human to control a humanoid robot with an impressive level of accuracy. Just be careful if you play the Kinect boxing game; somebody might call the police.
Adrian Lopez writes "A bill giving the government the power to shut down Web sites that host materials that infringe copyright is making its way quietly through the lame-duck session of Congress, raising the ire of free-speech groups and prompting a group of academics to lobby against the effort. The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) was introduced in Congress this fall by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It would grant the federal government the power to block access to any Web domain that is found to host copyrighted material without permission."
An anonymous reader writes "A hidden (and hardware password protected, by means of required special values in processor registers) debug mode has been found in AMD processors, and documented by a reverse engineer called Czernobyl on the RCE Forums community today. It enables powerful hardware debugging features long longed for by reverse engineers, such as hardware data-aware conditional breakpoints, and direct hardware 'page guard'-style breakpoints. And the best part is, it's sitting right there in your processor already, just read the details and off you go with the debugging ninja powers!"
JHaselden points to this "sad tale of one developer's trying time with the National Rail, the owners of the UK's train timetable data, which flies in the face of the recent assertion of Chris Scoggins (Chief Executive, National Rail Enquiries) in Wired recently stating that they had 'opened up' their data, 'often free of charge.'" This is a good case for keeping your old emails handy; the app's author uses cut-and-paste to excellent effect in his correspondence with the rail system.
Australian Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor has advised visitors to take a better safe than sorry policy when it comes to their porn stashes, and declare all porn that they think might be illegal with customs officers. From the article: "The government said it changed the wording on passenger arrival cards after becoming aware of confusion among travellers about what pornography to declare. 'People have a right to privacy and while some pornography is legal and does not need to be disclosed, all travellers should be aware that certain types of pornography are illegal and must be declared to customs,' Mr O'Connor said."
schliz writes "An Australian man has been served a restraining order via Facebook, after unsuccessful attempts by police to reach him by phone and in person. The man was a 'prolific Facebook user' who had allegedly threatened, bullied and harassed a former partner online. He was served both interim and final intervention orders by Facebook, after a local magistrate upheld the interim order indefinitely."
YokimaSun writes "The war between hackers and Sony over the PlayStation 3 has now taken an even more sinister turn, with Sony going after not just shops but actual buyers of the PSBreak dongle, threatening them with fines of many thousands of Euros and forcing them to sign cease-and-desist letters. It seems Sony will use any means necessary to thwart both homebrew and piracy on the PS3."
An anonymous reader writes "A 'Hackintosh' is a computer that runs Apple's OS X operating system on non-Apple hardware. This has been possible since Apple's switch from IBM's PowerPC processors to Intel processors a few years ago. Until recently, building a PC-based Mac was something done only by hard-core hackers and technophiles, but in the last few months, building a Hackintosh PC has become much easier. Benchmark Reviews looks at what it's possible to do with PC hardware and the Mac Snow Leopard OS today, and the pros and cons of building a Hackintosh computer system over purchasing a supported Apple Mac Pro."
Rahmmp writes "Adobe has sounded an alarm for a new zero-day flaw in its PDF Reader/Acrobat software, warning that hackers are actively exploiting the vulnerability in-the-wild. An Adobe spokeswoman described the attacks as 'limited' but warned that that could change with the availability of public samples and exploit code."
A few readers have noted that another gulf oil rig has exploded. This one is off the coast of Lousiana. So far all the workers are accounted for, but they are in immersion suits waiting for rescue.
Target Practice writes "A drunken mortgage worker at RANLife Home Loans decided for unknown reasons to take out the company's $100,000 server with a .45-caliber automatic, blaming the damage on an imagined assailant who: mugged him, assaulted him with his own weapon, drugged him, and then broke into his office to shoot said server. According to acquaintances, he had threatened earlier that day to shoot the server and maybe himself."
Engadget is running a preview of Microsoft's attempt to bring Xbox Live to upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices. Launch titles will include Guitar Hero, Castlevania, and Halo: Waypoint, and many of the features from the console version of Xbox Live will make the transition intact. Quoting: "Live on WP7 will allow for full avatar integration (we're talking fully rendered, interactive avatars) along with customization (clothes, accessories, and more). The company has even crafted an avatar-centric version of familiar phone utilities like flashlight apps and levels, adding some whimsy to what would normally be pretty staid affairs. Additionally, messaging, friend lists / status, achievements, and leaderboards (with friend comparisons) are all here as well, making for a pretty complete mobile Xbox Live experience. And also just like the console, every game will have a try-before-you buy demo to check out before spending your hard-earned cash."
js_sebastian writes "According to an article on the New York Times, a historical cross-over has occurred because of the declining costs of solar vs. the increasing costs of nuclear energy: solar, hardly the cheapest of renewable technologies, is now cheaper than nuclear, at around 16 cents per kilowatt hour. Furthermore, the NY Times reports that financial markets will not finance the construction of nuclear power plants unless the risk of default (which is historically as high as 50 percent for the nuclear industry) is externalized to someone else through federal loan guarantees or ratepayer funding. The bottom line seems to be that nuclear is simply not competitive, and the push from the US government to subsidize it seems to be forcing the wrong choice on the market."
Dragoniz3r writes "Activision has been served a lawsuit from 38 plaintiffs, including present and former Infinity Ward employees, demanding up to half a billion dollars. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for 'unpaid bonuses, royalties, profit-sharing, and future profits from games such as Modern Warfare 3, and punitive damages.'"