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Input Devices

Kinect Hacked, Adafruit Bounty Won 262

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-took-so-long dept.
scharkalvin writes "Adafruit has announced a winner to their bounty for an open source driver for the MS Kinect. From the article: 'We have verified that it works and have a screenshot from another member in the hacking community (thanks qdot!) who was also able to use the code. Congrats to Hector! He's running all this on a Linux laptop (his code works with OpenGL) and doesn't even have an Xbox!'" We talked about Adafruit's bounty yesterday.
Image

Govt To Bomb Guam With Frozen Mice To Kill Snakes 229 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the rodent-rain dept.
rhettb writes "In a spectacularly creative effort to rid Guam of the brown tree snake, an invasive species which has ravaged local wildlife and angered local residents, the US Department of Agriculture is planning to 'bomb' the island's rainforests with dead frozen mice laced with acetaminophen. While it might not seem difficult to purge an island of snakes, the snake's habit of dwelling high in the rainforest canopy has so far thwarted efforts to rid the island of the pest. Eradicating the snake is a priority because it triggers more than 100 power outages a year at a cost of $1-4 million and has driven at least 6 local bird species to extinction."
Image

Smart Underwear Designed For Military 169 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the now-taking-orders dept.
A team of scientists at the University of California San Diego, led by nano-engineering professor Joseph Wang, has designed some high-tech underwear that may save lives. Sensors in the waistband can monitor a person's blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs. The designers also hope that one day the underwear can release drugs to relieve pain and treat wounds. From the article: "But the technology's range of application goes beyond the military. 'We envision all the trend of personalized medicine for remote monitoring of the elderly at home, monitoring a wide range of biomedical markers, like cardiac markers, alerting for any potential stroke, diabetic changes, and other changes related to other biomedical scenario,' said Wang. Wearable biosensors can also provide valuable information to athletes or even measure blood alcohol levels."
Privacy

Net Users In Belarus May Soon Have To Register 89

Posted by timothy
from the not-just-register-their-displeasure dept.
Cwix writes "A new law proposed in Belarus would require all net users and online publications to register with the state: 'Belarus' authoritarian leader is promising to toughen regulation of the Internet and its users in an apparent effort to exert control over the last fully free medium in the former Soviet state. He told journalists that a new Internet bill, proposed Tuesday, would require the registration and identification of all online publications and of each Web user, including visitors to Internet cafes. Web service providers would have to report this information to police, courts, and special services.'"
Biotech

Scientists Build a Smarter Rat 302

Posted by timothy
from the politicians-still-mostly-in-the-lead dept.
destinyland writes "Scientists have engineered a more intelligent rat, with three times the memory length of today's smartest rats. Reseachers bred transgenic over-expression of the NR2B gene, which increased communication between the rat's memory synapses. Activating a crucial brain receptor for just a fraction of a second longer produces a dramatic effect on memory, as proven by the rat's longer memories of the path through a maze."
Communications

FCC Considers Opening Up US Broadband Access 253

Posted by kdawson
from the let-slip-the-dogs-of-the-market dept.
An anonymous reader writes On October 14, the FCC issued a call for public comments on a study (PDF) done by Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society about whether the US should require the telephone and cable companies to open their networks to competitors so that independent ISPs could begin offering broadband, much in the way it was done back in the days of dialup access. The study found that open-access in virtually every other country 'is playing a central role in current planning exercises throughout the highest performing countries,' noting: 'While Congress adopted various open access provisions in the almost unanimously-approved Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC decided to abandon this mode of regulation for broadband in a series of decisions in 2001 and 2002. Open access has been largely treated as a closed issue in US policy debates ever since. We find that in countries where an engaged regulator enforced open access obligations, competitors that entered using these open access facilities provided an important catalyst for the development of robust competition which, in most cases, contributed to strong broadband performance across a range of metrics.'"
Communications

US Cell Phone Plans Among World's Most Expensive 827

Posted by timothy
from the yes-but-we-have-cheap-gasoline dept.
Albanach writes "An OECD report published today has shown moderate cell phone users in the United States are paying some of the highest rates in the world . Average US plans cost $52.99 per month compared to an average of $10.95 in Finland. The full report is available only to subscribers, however Excel sheets of the raw data are available to download." (You'll find those Excel sheets — which open just fine in OpenOffice — on the summary page linked above.)
Cellphones

Cell Phones That Learn the Sounds of Your Life 121

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the soon-to-be-ad-supported dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Dartmouth College have developed new software that uses the microphone on the iPhone to track and interpret a user's everyday activities using sound. The software, called SoundSense, picks up sounds and tries to classify them into certain categories. SoundSense can recognize completely unfamiliar sounds and runs entirely on the phone. It automatically classifies sounds as 'voice,' 'music,' or 'ambient noise.' If a sound is repeated often enough or for long enough, SoundSense gives it a high 'sound rank' and asks the user to confirm that it is a significant sound and offers the option to label the sound. In testing, the SoundSense software was able to correctly determine when the user was in a particular coffee shop, walking outside, brushing her teeth, cycling, and driving in the car. It also picked up the noise of an ATM and a fan in a particular room. The results [PDF] of the experiments were recently presented at the MobiSys 2009 conference."
Moon

Protecting the Apollo Landing Sites From Later Landings 339

Posted by timothy
from the everyone-must-have-a-hobby dept.
R3d M3rcury writes "The Lunar X-Prize is a contest offering $20 million to the first private organization to land and maneuver a robotic rover on the moon. There is also a $1 million bonus to anyone who can get a picture of a man-made object on the moon. But one archeologist believes that 'The sites of early lunar landings are of unparalleled significance in the history of humanity, and extraordinary caution should be taken to protect them.' He's concerned that we may end up with rover tracks destroying historic artifacts, such as Neil Armstrong's first bootprint, or that a mistake could send a rocket slamming into a landing site. He calls on the organizers to ban any contestant from landing within 100KM of a prior moon landing site. Now he seems to think this just means Apollo. What about the Luna and Surveyor landers? What about the Lunokhod rovers? Are they fair game?"

Comment: Power to digital stations will be... (Score 1) 334

by stardestroyer (#26732835) Attached to: US Digital TV Switchover Delayed Until June

So what will the power level to digital stations be between February and June? AFAIK, now all-digital stations are only broadcasting at 60(?)% of power so as to not interfere with analog transmissions in nearby ranges. Does this bill mean digital stations will be at 100% in June only, or in February, or they will trickle in turn up the power?

Hardware Hacking

Scientists Hack Cellphone To Detect Diseases 100

Posted by kdawson
from the blue-blood dept.
Dave Bullock (eecue) plugs his piece up at Wired on a cellphone modded into a portable blood tester. This could become a significant piece of medical technology. "A new MacGyver-esque cellphone hack could bring cheap, on-the-spot disease detection to even the most remote villages on the planet. Using only an LED, plastic light filter, and some wires, scientists at UCLA have modded a cellphone into a portable blood tester capable of detecting HIV, malaria, and other illnesses. Blood tests today require either refrigerator-sized machines that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or a trained technician who manually identifies and counts cells under a microscope. These systems are slow, expensive and require dedicated labs to function. And soon they could be a thing of the past."
Security

Reliable, Free Anti-Virus Software? 586

Posted by timothy
from the when's-it-positively-gotta-be-windows dept.
oahazmatt writes "Some time ago my wife was having severe issues on her laptop. (A Dell Inspiron, if that helps.) I eventually found the cause to be McAfee, which took about an hour to remove fully. I installed AVG on her system to replace McAfee, but we have since found that AVG is causing problems with her laptop's connection to our wireless network. She's not thrilled about a wired connection as the router is on the other end of the house. We're looking for some good, open-source or free personal editions of anti-virus software. So, who on Slashdot trusts what?" When school required a Windows laptop, I used Clam AV, and the machine seemed to do as well as most classmates'. What have you found that works?
Security

Can You Trust Anti-Virus Rankings? 258

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the of-course-not dept.
Slatterz writes "It seems nobody can agree on a universal set of tests for rating anti-virus software, with Eugene Kaspersky the latest to weigh in on the topic, criticizing the well-known Virus Bulletin 100. Kaspersky is one of several big anti-virus brands to fall foul of the VB100 tests, reportedly failing to pass a recent test of security software on Windows Server 2008, along with F-Secure and Computer Associates. At Kaspersky, bloggers have pointed out that they don't focus on detecting PoCs, calling it a 'dead end,' and saying their anti-virus database focuses on 'real threats and exploits.' 'I don't want to say it's rubbish,' Kaspersky told PC Authority. 'But the security experts don't pay attention to these tests. It doesn't reflect the real level of protection.'"
Data Storage

Build a Cheap Media-Reading PC? 255

Posted by kdawson
from the chewing-gum-memory-sticks dept.
tsm_sf writes "A recent Slashdot article got me thinking about dead and dying media. I'd like to build a cheap PC with the goal of being able to read as many old formats as possible. Size and power consumption would be design considerations; priority of media formats would be primary. How would you approach such a project?"
Programming

Getting Hired As an Entry-Level Programmer? 540

Posted by kdawson
from the foot-in-door dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I received a state university degree in Computer Science. After graduation, I immediately took jobs in QA to pay the bills while waiting for other opportunities, which of course turned out to be as naive as it sounds. I've been working QA for several years now and my resume does not show the right kind of work experience for programming. On the whole I'm probably no better as a a candidate than a CS graduate fresh out of college. But all of the job postings out in the real world are looking for people with 2-5 years of programming work experience. How do you build up those first 2 years of experience? What kinds of companies hire programmers with no prior experience?"

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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