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Comment Re:OEM are peeing in their pants about Surface (Score 3, Insightful) 87

I thought the same thing years ago when MS first made the announcement. But then I realized that none of the MS OEMs were building equipment to compete with Apple. MS wanted to build the OS and User experience - but nobody was building an "iPad" or "MacBook Air" .... so MS had to do it.

Now folks are talking about the Surface & Surface Pro and stating how Apple and others are beginning to imitate MS. MS may have actually gotten this form factor right. But they had to push the Innovation and not rely upon OEMS to invest in this space.

Imagine the conversation: "Dear Dell/HP - we know PC sales are falling. Please spend money in this risky area and build a decent future tablet/laptop thingy" MS had, up to this point, been placing its hope for hw in the hands of others. With consumers flocking to Apple in this "new" mobile space MS had to stop it. But the OEMs were trying their own things to combat market slide. OEMs and MS were competitors - they wanted more features in Windows too (HP went to Linux for awhile).

I believe this was a good plan for MS - own the direction and put their money where their mouth was. Still plenty of work to do - but now I think more people are starting to consider Windows Hardware again. Apple is building a Pro tablet, and OEMs are jumping in too.


Comment Stopped a running car (Score 1) 249

Once upon a time I locked myself out of a running car and needed to stall it while I walked home to get the spare (pre-cell phone era). I reached under the bumper - unlatched the hood - removed the airfilter - and using a large glove in the carb slowly smothered it (and no - it didn't suck it in - but that was a worry along with a backfire). Neither happened and the car quietly died.

I've also started a car using only a screw driver.

Comment Re:Non-issue - back to work (Score 1) 217

Yeah - I had a similar thought later. Maybe MS is coding special features for gov't computers - maybe a honeypot monitoring service to catch hackers.

Or patching a known vulnerability for just Gov computers because the NSA asked it to be left open for the general public.

Then I turned on the TV and stopped thinking.

Submission + - Breakthrough Rectenna Converts Light Into DC Current (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: Rectifying antennas – "rectennas" – are used as parasitic power capture devices that absorb radio frequency (RF) energy and convert it into usable electrical power. Constructing such devices to absorb and rectify at optical wavelengths has proved impractical in the past, but the advent of carbon nanotubes and advances in microscopic manufacturing technology have allowed engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to create rectennas that capture and convert light to direct electrical current. The researchers believe that their creation may eventually help double the efficiency of solar energy harvesting.

Submission + - Dormant Virus Wakes Up In Some Patients With Lou Gehrig's Disease (acs.org)

MTorrice writes: Our chromosomes hold a partial record of prehistoric viral infections: About 8% of our genomes come from DNA that viruses incorporated into the cells of our ancestors. Over many millennia, these viral genes have accumulated mutations rendering them mostly dormant.

But one of these viruses can reawaken in some patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive muscle wasting disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. A new study demonstrates that this so-called endogenous retrovirus can damage neurons, possibly contributing to the neurodegeneration seen in the disease.

The findings raise the possibility that antiretroviral drugs, similar to those used to treat HIV, could slow the progression of ALS in some patients.

Submission + - Is an ancient virus responsible for some cases of Lou Gehrig's disease? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: A virus that long ago spliced itself into the human genome may play a role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the deadly muscle degenerative disease that crippled baseball great Lou Gehrig and ultimately took his life. That’s the controversial conclusion of a new study, which finds elevated levels of human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) in the brains of 11 people who died from the disease.

Comment Bio Defense Mode - already have it (Score 1) 323

My 8 year old VW GTI has a similar feature - albeit it doesn't have a flashy name. There are cabin filters which can keep out most everything - and if the car detects Automatically!!! air quality issues it turns on the air recirculation feature. Driving down a road through smoke the system will turn on - as well as dusty dirt roads. Even keeps out the smell of dead skunks (although system doesn't auto detect this air quality situation - requires Manual override). Problems those of us in the country deal with. To think I used to drive with the Windows Open!

Even putting the car in reverse engages this mode - because what - you're backing up through your exhaust (feature probably coded by the Clean Diesel group because they knew otherwise).

So Tesla is just good at the Reality Distortion Field and making you want something because it is shiny. And they built it. And Mr Musk is wearing a black t-shirt while saying "one more thing."

I can't wait for somebody to make an electric car I want - and can afford (or at least willing to afford). Quiet, Clean. Except for the burning ozone from the motors. :-P

Comment Re:See (Score 2) 111

Yes - right on.

I've noticed that many websites that link from FB in the mobile app are overtaken by the ads they serve. I tried reading a newsy item and each time the site came up briefly before auto-forwarding to some spamy ad site instead. Pressing the Back button didn't work - the original site was unusable.

These bad-ads are affecting "legitimate" content sites.

I haven't seen this behavior in mobile Chrome. But whatever browser FB uses isn't all that secure. I've wondered how much extra tracking happen in that browser? (e.g. where do I clear my cookies?)

Submission + - An AI Hunts the Wild Animals Carrying Ebola (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: Outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola follow a depressing pattern: People start to get sick, public health authorities get wind of the situation, and an all-out scramble begins to determine where the disease started and how it’s spreading. Barbara Han, a code-writing ecologist, hopes her algorithms will put an end to that reactive model. She wants to predict outbreaks and enable authorities to prevent the next pandemic. Han takes a big-data approach, using a machine-learning AI to identify the wild animal species that carry zoonotic diseases and transmit them to humans.

Comment Re:Looking forward to this headache (Score 1) 471

Yeah - as a long time VW owner I'm dismayed by this news. This is the second time in recent years that something like this has happened. Just a few months ago it was revealed that they "discouraged" security researchers from telling the world that the VW keyfob was easily defeated.

Now this --- seems to set (or suggest) a precedence for how VW operates. Secrets.

I have a few strange problems with my Mk5 GTI (with independent rear suspension :-P ) --- and now I wonder how much VW knows and isn't sharing.

Comment Re:I hope ... (Score 1) 471

Yes - exactly. They may not have reverse engineered anything.

I posted this elsewhere - but there was a fuel pump fraud at certain stations once upon a time. The pump under delivered the stated amount of fuel - thus overcharging consumers. Of course the Official Measurement folks go around and test these pumps - using defined bottles --- say 5 gallons. So they fill the jug with 5 gallons and declare the pump working.

However - the pump was rigged to produce 5 gallons only when 5 gallons was requested (pumped). So at 4.5 it had only produced 4.25...but as you got closer to 5 it would speed up the delivery rate - and be exact at 5. Then slow down again.

Without reverse engineering anything --- somebody showed up with a 6 gallon bottle and showed it was only filled to the 5.5 gallon mark !!!!

I suspect the same thing here. They put the probes on the car and drove it around without the test jig enabled (6 gallon bottle). Confused by the results they connected it to the 5 gallon bottle... and then began digging deeper.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss