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Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 473

Yeah, the Lenovo T420s has an array of mics up top around the webcam, and in theory they can be used to filter out noise from typing and be tuned to pick up the voice of the talker and not the speakers. But I went through all that calibration and it still sucks... it does filter out a lot of the keyboard noise but it also attacks the voice as well. Maybe someday Lenovo/Conexant will release better, more tunable drivers, but I haven't seen anything positive on any of the Lenovo support message boards yet.

In Lenovo's defense, I bought a z710 for my wife, and it appears to work great with Skype and stuff out of the box (though I've never sampled the audio quality on the far end of the call). It's a nice little desktop replacement box, at the time probably the cheapest laptop I could find with a 1920x1080 LCD and a half-decent NVidia GPU. Of course, it still has an Intel 4000 integrated GPU as well for "hybrid power savings"... you can't disable the iGPU, and the thing would BSOD with any 3D applications using the Nvidia GPU until I installed the right combination of driver updates relatively recently.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 473

Onboard sound sucks.

My work laptop (Lenovo T420s) is useless for microphone audio (some Conexant chip). The company keeps wanting us to use Skype and Lync and SoftVTC to do meetings, but all the people who try to use the onboard audio are inaudible (because the built-in noise cancellation keeps ducking their voice), or if they manage to dig 5 dialogs deep to disable the noise cancellation (with an option that gets reset every reboot), they have lots of system noise over their voices (even if they're using an external mic. ). So everyone dials in via phone for group VTCs and mutes their PCs.

I have an expensive Jabra headset with a USB dongle. That gives me pretty clean audio. Should be able to use bluetooth too, but that takes more driver updates and even then it's still a pain.

My gaming PC has somewhat nicer onboard audio, but even with a S/PDIF link to my Logitech Z-560 speakers, I still get a hiss whenever the OS turns on and "opens" the audio device. Would be nice to be able to input digital audio somehow for Skype, but I ended up just plugging in a cheap USB webcam with a digital mic instead.

Still, it's kinda sad that any cheap mobile phone has a better microphone with AEC (for speakerphone use) and NC than you can get on most computers.

United Kingdom

UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws 145

Posted by timothy
from the back-in-line-citizen dept.
beaker_72 (1845996) writes The Guardian reports that the UK government has unveiled plans to introduce emergency surveillance laws into the UK parliament at the beginning of next week. These are aimed at reinforcing the powers of security services in the UK to force service providers to retain records of their customers phone calls and emails. The laws, which have been introduced after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that existing laws invaded individual privacy, will receive cross-party support and so will not be subjected to scrutiny or challenged in Parliament before entering the statute books. But as Tom Watson (Labour backbench MP and one of few dissenting voices) has pointed out, the ECJ ruling was six weeks ago, so why has the government waited until now to railroad something through. Unless of course they don't want it scrutinised too closely.

Comment: Re:Identity Theft (Score 1) 74

by Blue Stone (#47408195) Attached to: Blue Shield Leaks 18,000 Doctors' Social Security Numbers

So, pretty clearly, there is a huge problem with SSNs being used in the USA as both identifier and authenticator. And this has been know for years, and many people have suffered as a result of this really really stupid system, whose flaws are obvious to everyone using the system.

So how long will it take to get something changed?

Privacy

Coddled, Surveilled, and Monetized: How Modern Houses Can Watch You 150

Posted by timothy
from the eye-oh-tee dept.
Presto Vivace (882157) links to a critical look in Time Magazine at the creepy side of connected household technology. An excerpt: A modern surveillance state isn't so much being forced on us, as it is sold to us device by device, with the idea that it is for our benefit. ... ... Nest sucks up data on how warm your home is. As Mocana CEO James Isaacs explained to me in early May, a detailed footprint of your comings and goings can be inferred from this information. Nest just bought Dropcam, a company that markets itself as a security tool allowing you to put cameras in your home and view them remotely, but brings with it a raft of disquieting implications about surveillance. Automatic wants you to monitor how far you drive and do things for you like talk to your your house when you're on your way home from work and turn on lights when you pull into your garage. Tied into the new SmartThings platform, a Jawbone UP band becomes a tool for remotely monitoring someone else's activity. The SmartThings hubs and sensors themselves put any switch or door in play. Companies like AT&T want to build a digital home that monitors your security and energy use. ... ... Withings Smart Body Analyzer monitors your weight and pulse. Teddy the Guardian is a soft toy for children that spies on their vital signs. Parrot Flower Power looks at the moisture in your home under the guise of helping you grow plants. The Beam Brush checks up on your teeth-brushing technique. Presto Vivaci adds, "Enough to make the Stasi blush. What I cannot understand is how politicians fail to understand what a future Kenneth Starr is going to do with data like this."

+ - New released NOAA data now confirms decades long cooling->

Submitted by bricko
bricko (1052210) writes "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade.

Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor citing issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely sited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.

According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.

USCRN data debunk claims that rising U.S. temperatures caused wildfires, droughts, or other extreme weather events during the past year. The objective data show droughts, wildfires, and other extreme weather events have become less frequent and severe in recent decades as our planet modestly warms. But even ignoring such objective data, it is difficult to claim global warming is causing recent U.S. droughts and wildfires when U.S. temperatures are a full 0.4 degrees Celsius colder than they were in 2005."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re: "Swap out" - LOL (Score 1) 122

by rwa2 (#47392261) Attached to: New Single Board Computer Lets You Swap Out the CPU and Memory

eh, there's ArsTechnica for that kind of thing. Or of course, you know, the /. comment filters that can also make the ACs invisible to you.

That said, I haven't really figured out what to use my Pi for yet. I have enough old smartphones to throw at random little projects that could use cameras/audio/touchscreens/wifi, and an Arduino Uno that does a better job at little ADC/DAC projects. Critically, I have only one monitor with an HDMI port, and my my PC is connected to that. Best I could come up with so far is just a device I could use to throw the BSOD screensaver up on LCDs at work or in public.

Comment: Reform to how we fund elections is primary (Score 1) 117

by PotatoHead (#47390461) Attached to: Lessig's Mayday PAC Scrambling To Cross Crowd Funding Finish Line

Your term limit issue is secondary, as are many other issues.

Whether or not we have term limits is a matter of reasoned public debate. Right now, we can't have that due to the money in politics problem.

It is unreasonable for you to connect your issue to the core, systemic problem of how elections are funded.

That is perhaps the biggest misconception and hangup people have. This isn't transactional politics. It's not like you get something in return, or trade-offs get made. We do that now, and the money biases it away from the overall best interests of the people.

Really, if we reform money in politics, a fair, reasoned discussion will happen. Or, at least a much better one will happen.

Term limits, and other things get decided then, not now.

This is a single issue effort. It is systemic, not partisan, and not intended to remedy anything other than the basic issue of money in politics.

+ - 3D Printed PiGRRL - Raspberry Pi Gameboy

Submitted by coop0030
coop0030 (263345) writes "Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the classic gaming device, Game Boy, by building your own with 3d printing and DIY electronics. This project uses a Raspberry Pi and TFT touch screen to make an epic DIY Game Girl. The 3d printed enclosure houses all of the components and can be printed in your favorite color. It's controlled with SNES gaming controller components, reusing the printed circuit board, buttons and elastomers. The 3D files can be found on Thingiverse, and a video of the finished product is provided as well."
Piracy

Rightscorp Pushing ISPs To Disconnect Repeat Infringers 92

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the can't-make-art-so-time-to-sue dept.
Torrentfreak acquired slides from the Anti-Piracy and Content Protection Summit indicating that Rightscorp wants ISPs to disconnect repeat copyright infringers, and that 140 small ISPs are already doing so. From the article: Christopher Sabec, CEO of Rightscorp, says that they have been in talks with various Internet providers urging them to step up their game. Thus far a total of 140 ISPs are indeed following this disconnection principle. ... By introducing disconnections Rightcorp hopes to claim more settlements to increase the company’s revenue stream. They offer participating ISPs a tool to keep track of the number of warnings each customer receives, and the providers are encouraged to reconnect the subscribers if the outstanding bills have been paid. ... Cutting off repeat infringers is also in the best interests of ISPs according to Rightscorp, who note that it is a requirement for all providers if they are to maintain their DMCA safe harbor. The presentation slides seem to indicate that Rightscorp is planning to go after the safe harbor protections that ISPs are given under the DMCA in order to force the issue.
Science

Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking 154

Posted by Soulskill
from the evil-masterminds-should-invest-in-natural-gas dept.
An anonymous reader writes Oklahoma has already experienced about 240 minor earthquakes this year, roughly double the rate at which California has had them. A recent study (abstract) has now tied those earthquakes to fracking. From the article: "Fracking itself doesn't seem to be causing many earthquakes at all. However, after the well is fracked, all that wastewater needs to be pumped back out and disposed of somewhere. Since it's often laced with chemicals and difficult to treat, companies will often pump the wastewater back underground into separate disposal wells. Wastewater injection comes with a catch, however: The process both pushes the crust in the region downward and increases pressure in cracks along the faults. That makes the faults more prone to slippages and earthquakes. ... More specifically, the researchers concluded that 89 wells were likely responsible for most of the seismic activity. And just four wells located southeast of Oklahoma City were likely responsible for about one-fifth of seismic activity in the state between 2008 and 2013."

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce

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