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Submission + - Device lets moviegoers report obnoxious patrons

The Iso writes: Regal Cinemas in New York is using science to enable patrons to report ringing cell phones, crying babies, spies from the Internet, and technical difficulties so a staff member can deal with those problems.

A hand-held pager is given to a random member of the Regal Crown Club Loyalty Program who's attending each movie. "If any situation does arise they can just press a button which goes directly to the pager which the manager will have and they'll signal it and they'll go right into the theater and handle the situation," theater manager Heather Dematteis said.
I know there's a Soviet Russia joke in this.

Submission + - Microsoft unveils new device called Surface

GnarlyDoug writes: According to MSNBC, Microsoft has a new device called Surface . It is in effect a very large touch-screen device built into a large work surface, and it looks like Bill Gates sees this as the future of computing. What do you think?

Submission + - Microsoft unveils new computer interface

grimwell writes: The TODAY show has the exclusive on Microsoft's new Surface product. Basically it is a touch responsive display. In the TODAY article the display was a tabletop.`At the touch of his hand, the hard, plastic tabletop suddenly dissolved into what looked like tiny ripples of water. The 'water' responded to each of his fingers and the ripples rushed quickly away in every direction. "Go ahead," he said. "Try it." When I placed my hand on the table at the same time, there were more ripples. It took a moment to appreciate what was happening. Every hand motion Gates or I did was met with an immediate response from the table. There was no keyboard. There was no mouse. Just our gestures.`

Microsoft's Multitouch Coffee Table Display 466

longacre writes "Popular Mechanics takes the Microsoft Surface system for a hands-on video test drive. To be announced at today's D5 conference, the coffee-table-esqe device allows manipulation from multiple touch points, while infrared, WiFi and Bluetooth team up to allow wireless transfers between devices placed on top of it, such as cameras and cell phones. Expected to launch before the end of the year in the $5,000-$10,000 range, the devices might not make their way under many Christmas trees, but will find the insides of Starwood hotels, Harrah's casinos and T-Mobile shops."

Submission + - Microsoft announces Multi-Touch coffee table

An anonymous reader writes: MacScoop reports: "Microsoft announced its first device which uses the Multi-Touch technology also present in the iPhone. It's not a digital media player, it's not a mobile phone, it's neither a TabletPC, it's a coffee table!" An impressive video on demos the technology.

Shaking a 275-ton Building 110

Roland Piquepaille writes "If you want to predict how a tall building can resist to an earthquake, some researchers have better tools than others. Engineers from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) have built a full-size 275-ton building and really shaken it to obtain earthshaking images. The building was equipped with some 600 sensors and filmed as the shake table simulated the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles, California. It gave so much data to the engineers to analyze that they needed a supercomputer to help them. Now they hope their study will yield to better structure performance for future buildings in case of earthquakes."

Submission + - Where did the cellphone go?

Jim Adkins writes: "MHW has a brief editorial about today's current multi use cellphones. What I use a cellphone for is to make calls. Period. I am not looking for a phone that acts as a bad MP3 player, a second rate digital camera, a tiny screened wannabe PSP, or any myriad of other uses. What I want from a cellphone is good reception, a rugged frame that can stand rough use like being dropped occasionally, a front screen LCD so I can see who is calling before I answer, and last but not least — long battery life."

Submission + - Vendors fudging prices for Froogle, others

An anonymous reader writes: I recently stumbled across a case of an online vendor adjusting it's prices based on url referral; notably,, but I've noticed similar (though harder to trace) activity from other large vendors such as Dell and Amazon.

Take a look at this page: Exchange Software, then find it again through Froogle. Once you access the SoftwareMedia site through the Froogle link, they update (generally lower) their prices to match those found on Froogle. Accessing the exact same page after going through Froogle results in an entirely different set of prices. (In my case, Exchange 2003 Enterprise was 'discounted' by a whopping $1260)

Is SoftwareMedia trying to make Froogle Fudge? Should this sort of activity be allowed? Should users be presented with two different pages depending on referral? Shouldn't all users be presented with the same set of prices?

Submission + - New Laws of Robotics proposed for US kill-bots

jakosc writes: The Register has a short commentry about a proposed new set of laws of robotics for war robots by John S Canning of the Naval Surface Warfare Centre. Unlike Azimov's three laws of robotics Canning proposes (pdf) that we should "Let machines target other machines and let men target men." although this sounds OK in principle, "a robot could decide under Mr Canning's rules, to target a weapon system such as an AK47 for destruction on its own initiative, requiring no permission from a human. If the person holding it was thereby killed, that would be collateral damage and the killer droid would be in the clear.."

Submission + - YouTube Takedowns: Any 15-year old can do it

BillGatesLoveChild writes: Recently Slashdotters wondered how easy it would be to take down YouTube videos. Wonder no longer:

A 15-year old Australian Boy with nothing more than a HotMail account emailed YouTube saying he was the "Australian Broadcasting Corporation" and under the DMCA ordered YouTube to take down hundreds of videos. They did without immediately and without question. YouTube did not try and call the ABC back, nor ask why the email came from Hotmail. Given Cringely's recent report which lead to Slashdotters asking the question, YouTube seem remarkably slow to learn. How many more DMCA attacks will there be before they get the message?

Many of the Video's were from the ABC's The Chaser, including one where a prankster rolling a cigar asked Senator Hillary Clinton if he could be her new intern. The Chaser Staff were impressed with the youngster, "I don't think we should prosecute him — we should probably hire him."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - at+t hit with lawsuit

sdriver writes: "The Register reports at+t has been hit by an overtime class-action suit. IBM has previously settled for such abuses for $65 million with Electronic Arts paying nearly $15 million as well. I for one would love to get all the overtime I've worked paid... my 6 figure salary ends up being around $30/hour for all the time I've put in... *grumble*."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Bank error not in your favor, lose $400.

Loconut1389 writes: "A few days ago, I deposited $400 cash in an atm. Long ago, I remember my mother saying not to put cash in an ATM, but have been doing so ever since I 'grew up' without problem- until now. This morning I looked at my online banking to see if a check had gone through only to see that they 'corrected' my deposit to $40 instead of $400. I have to wait until things open to speak with a human and work towards fixing this, but even if they immediately take me at my word and correct the 'correction'- the larger question remains: is it safe to deposit cash? I've been a customer at this particular bank for 6 years with no incidents like this- which should be in my favor, but I ask Slashdot, do you deposit cash? Have you had a problem like this? What problems did you have getting the bank to trust you?"

Submission + - Which programming language should a noob learn?

howhardcanitbetocrea writes: "I have been programming for a few years. Web-wise I moved from ASP/VBscript/Access to PHP/mySQL (which I quite enjoy using) a while back.

I have developed a browser based PHP/mySQL application to manage Australian volunteer bushfire brigades. Other Brigades eye it enviously but in its current form it would be too hard to share and expect them to be able to use it effortlessly. So I would like to turn into a standalone Windows executable to give to other brigades.

The app would have a database to store member records and also handle real-time incident management by assigning members from the db to trucks etc. Keep in mind that as bushfire brigades we don't have incidents every day so we don't need "professional" (=expensive) software.

I am considering learning C++ to do this but is it best language to change to? The options as I understand it are either C/C++ or Visual Basic...or are their other languages that /.ers recommend.

I notice there are a bunch of free/open source compilers. Are there any favourites out there?

The one reason I can see going for C++ is it is easier to spell :o) But I am sure people have their own opinions. Let's hear them."
Input Devices

Submission + - DIY mid-air pointing device

Werner Heuser writes: "From Linuxdevices: "Three researchers at Microsoft Research have created an innovative handheld pointing device that works in mid-air. "Soap", which resembles a bar of soap, is based on hardware found in a common wireless optical mouse, and is relatively easy to make, according to its inventors. Imagine numerous situations in which one might wish to control an appliance while standing or walking, for example, when giving a slide presentation or interacting with a wall-sized display...". There is a YouTube video showing the Soap in action and detailed instructions to make your own Soap."

It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.