This has bothered me for several years. One of the beauties of an electric car is the lack of noise. Humans have a strange relationship to sound. I see many articles where people want cars to sound like cars, yet I have friends who are surprised that my robotic vacuum (Roomba) is "so noisy". I stand on street corners and feel assaulted by the noise from dozens of idling engines providing no useful work and wonder how nice it would be to drop the sound level on our streets. It's noisy now with lots of idling internal combustion engines, but imagine if we have dozens of different noises, all customized from regular engine noise, futuristic space noise, to Nyan Cat. Is this the sort of environment we want? Cacophony. I am sympathetic to the plight of sight impaired people, they currently rely upon sound, but quiet vehicles already produce problems for them, and as drivers we MUST be careful of ALL pedestrians. I'm not sure the solution is to replicate old technology by imitating old noises. There must be a better solution than hacking something on to a relatively clean and simple system.
An anonymous reader writes "In medieval times a 'book curse' was often included on the inside cover or on the last leaf of a manuscripts, warning away anyone who might do the book some harm. Here's a particularly pretty one from Yale's Beinecke MS 214: 'In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. In the one thousand two hundred twenty-ninth year from the incarnation of our Lord, Peter, of all monks the least significant, gave this book to the [Benedictine monastery of the] most blessed martyr, St. Quentin. If anyone should steal it, let him know that on the Day of Judgment the most sainted martyr himself will be the accuser against him before the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.'"
Whether they annoy you or fulfill your nerdy collection habit, achievements have spread across the gaming landscape and are here to stay. The Xbox Engineering blog recently posted a glimpse into the creation of the Xbox 360 achievement system, discussing how achievements work at a software level, and even showing a brief snippet of code. They also mention some of the decisions they struggled with while creating them: "We are proud of the consistency you find across all games. You have one friends list, every game supports voice chat, etc. But we also like to give game designers room to come up with new and interesting ways to entertain. That trade-off was at the heart of the original decision we made to not give any indication that a new achievement had been awarded. Some people argued that gamers wouldn't want toast popping up in the heat of battle and that game designers would want to use their own visual style to present achievements. Others argued for consistency and for reducing the work required of game developers. In the end we added the notification popup and its happy beep, which turned out to be the right decision, but for a long time it was anything but obvious."
An anonymous reader writes "Develop has an excellent piece up profiling a bunch of average to awful titles that flopped so hard they harmed or sunk their studio or publisher. The list includes Haze, Enter The Matrix, Hellgate: London, Daikatana, Tabula Rasa, and — of course — Duke Nukem Forever. 'Daikatana was finally released in June 2000, over two and a half years late. Gamers weren't convinced the wait was worth it. A buggy game with sidekicks (touted as an innovation) who more often caused you hindrance than helped ... achieved an average rating of 53. By this time, Eidos is believed to have invested over $25 million in the studio. And they called it a day. Eidos closed the Dallas Ion Storm office in 2001.'"
CNETNate writes "The world's first 3D webcam not only takes anaglyphic images, but will let you have a stereoscopic 3D video chat over the Internet. It's the work of a unique camera called 'Minoru,' which has been tested and documented in a feature today. Be warned though: anaglyphic photography was clearly not invented to create comfortably-viewable videos."
kpoole55 writes "I've been googling for an answer to a question and I'm not making much progress. The problem is image collections, and finding the better of near-duplicate images. There are many programs, free and costly, CLI or GUI oriented, for finding visually similar images — but I'm looking for a next step in the process. It's known that saving the same source image in JPEG format at different quality levels produces different images, the one at the lower quality having more JPEG artifacts. I've been trying to find a method to compare two visually similar JPEG images and select the one with the fewest JPEG artifacts (or the one with the most JPEG artifacts, either will serve.) I also suspect that this is going to be one of those 'Well, of course, how else would you do it? It's so simple.' moments."
NASA is under orders to retain all data from planetary missions, including lunar missions. Once the data as been recovered, what are NASA's plans to archive and prevent the data from being lost over the next 40, or 400 years? How will they plan on making the data available to general public?
jd writes "The BBC is reporting that the United Nations' World Digital Library has gone online with an initial offering of 1,200 ancient manuscripts, parchments and documents. To no great surprise, Europe comes in first with 380 items. South America comes in second with 320, with a very distant third place being given to the Middle East at a paltry 157 texts. This is only the initial round, so the leader board can be expected to change. There are, for example, a lot of Sumerian and Babylonian tablets, many of which are already online elsewhere. Astonishingly, the collection is covered by numerous copyright laws, according to the legal page. Use of material from a given country is subject to whatever restrictions that country places, in addition to any local and international copyright laws. With some of the contributions being over 8,000 years old, this has to be the longest copyright extension ever offered. There is nothing on whether the original artists get royalties, however."
The best thing about the iphone for calculators is that you use your fingers again, not a mouse.
kegger64 (653899) writes "Larry Page announced that Google is looking into building an AI system. "We have some people at Google [who] are really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale," the Google co-founder declared. "It's not as far off as people think." http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/02/19/larr
WindBourne (631190) writes "Apparently, Elon Musk is going to sell Electric cars to the middle class masses, not just the wealthy.Musk's Tesla Motors, based out of San Carlos, California, will use the plant to produce its "WhiteStar" car — a four door, five passenger sports sedan which is 100 percent electric. I will be be nice to see this encourage GM/Ford/Toyota/Honda/etc to get the true hybrids and electrics out the door sooner, rather than later."
thinkingpen (1031996) writes "Read/Write web is carrying an interesting story about Firefox 3. From the article — "An interesting tidbit came out of the recent Foo Camp New Zealand (which unfortunately I wasn't able to attend). Robert O'Callahan from Mozilla, who is based in NZ but drives the rendering engine of Mozilla/FireFox, spoke about how Firefox 3 will deliver support for offline applications. This is significant because you'll be able to use your web apps — like Gmail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, etc — in the browser even when offline. I deliberately mentioned all Google web apps there, because of course this plays right into Google's hands." Now thats web 3.0 ?"
Jari Mustonen (132206) writes "Time to hide your Mac-fanboy hat. Or maybe you are beliver enough to defend Apple even on this one. The question is simple: Where is the Java 6 for OS X? Let the gossips fly and let the slashdot do what it is best at: to summon an anonymous coward from Apple to tell us what is happening and where is my Java? But in the mean time, let's hear your theory."