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Submission + - Retro Computers Run in your Browser (hackaday.com)

An anonymous reader writes: If you ever wanted to program an Altair, an Apple I, or a COSMAC ELF you may think you either have to buy one (expensive now) or load and configure simulation software. However, there's a slew of browser-based emulators for everything from a PDP-11 to Windows 1.0 out there. Some use Java, but many use Javascript and many perform better on a modern PC then they did in their original. If you want to learn some history or just want to finally play with the computers you saw in the magazines 35 years ago, these are great fun and slightly addictive.
The Military

Submission + - Military uses DNA Barcodes to tackle counterfeit gear (foxnews.com) 1

spatterson writes: "Cutting corners with substandard or counterfeit electronics won't be as easy for suppliers whose parts end up with the U.S. military, as the Department of Defense turns to DNA “barcodes” to track" Looks like the Chinese will have to work a bit harder to sneak in fake gear

Submission + - Florian Mueller Outs Himself as Oracle Employee (groklaw.net)

eldavojohn writes: So you're commenting on your highly visible blog about patent case after patent case that deal with corporations battling over open source stuff, what does it matter if you're taking money from one and not the other? If you don't see any ethical problems with that, you might be Florian Mueller. Groklaw's PJ (who has been suspicious of Florian's ties to other giants like Microsoft for quite sometime) has noticed that Florian Mueller has decided to go full disclosure and admit that all his commentary on the Oracle v Google case might be tainted by his employment by Oracle. It seems he's got a bunch of consulting money coming his way from Oracle but I'm sure that won't undermine any of his assessments like Android licenses violate the GPL or that Oracle will win $6 billion from Google and Google was "at risk" of not settling despite the outcome that the charges later dropped to a small fraction of the $6 billion. Like so many other times, PJ's hunch was right.
United Kingdom

Submission + - Bletchley Park gets £4.6 million restoration (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: Bletchley Park (UK) has secured a £4.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund Grant for the establishment of a visitor centre dedicated to the World War II Codebreakers.This year saw the unveiling of a new memorial to the Codebreakers in the grounds of Bletchley Park by Her Majesty the Queen and shortly after her visit a new fund raising campaign for the restoration of the iconic huts where the code-breaking teams worked was inaugurated with help and sponsorship from Google. The grant will enable the restoration of Codebreaking Huts 1, 3 and 6 and create a world-class visitor centre and exhibition in the currently derelict Block C.
The Bletchley Park Trust has launched the "Action This Day" campaign to raise the match funding now needed. For details of how to support it visit: Bletchley Park


Submission + - JBoss security incident (jboss.org)

jbatista writes: The JBoss community announced on April 19th that their free Atlassian JIRA instance was targeted by a supposedly previously unknown XSS attack, "which allowed administrative access to the JIRA instance on April 11th, 2010, and subsequently user credentials from a backend database, containing passwords hashed without a random salt." Further details are provided in their announcement. In the meantime, jboss.org account owners (forums, etc.) should be receiving PGP-signed emails providing two links, one for the announcement (the first one leads to an inexistent page, so see the link above) and one for the lost password page in order to change their account password.

Submission + - Google Apps no longer able to process new signups? (google.com)

Gentlewhisper writes: For the past two weeks an increasing number of Google Apps users are not able to get their new accounts setup, or reset their lost administrative passwords. All this is due to what seems to be a broken CNAME verification mechanism. Are you one of the affected users? What's your experience with this issue like? How have you managed to work around this?

Submission + - Touchless Screens, The Next Touchscreen (allvoices.com)

forgot_my_username writes: A report on Allvoices mentions that the MIT media lab. is developing a motion screen computer. It looks back at you. It measures light, and gestures and uses those. “Imagine every pixel on your LCD screen emitting light could also be receiving light,” said Ramesh Rakar, an Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab. They even mention the health benefits of not touching displays.... do you know where your display has been?

Submission + - SPAM: Hot Water Really Can Freeze Faster Than Cold Water

coolsuriya writes: Hot water really can freeze faster than cold water, a new study finds. Sometimes. Under extremely specific conditions. With carefully chosen samples of water.
New experiments provide support for a special case of the counterintuitive Mpemba effect, which holds that water at a higher temperature turns to ice faster than cooler water.
The Mpemba effect is named for a Tanzanian schoolboy, Erasto B. Mpemba, who noticed while making ice cream with his classmates that warm milk froze sooner than chilled milk. Mpemba and physicist Denis Osborne published a report of the phenomenon in Physics Education in 1969. Mpemba joined a distinguished group of people who had also noticed the effect: Aristotle, Francis Bacon and René Descartes had all made the same claim.

On the surface, the notion seems to defy reason. A container of hot water should take longer to turn into ice than a container of cold water, because the cold water has a head start in the race to zero degrees Celsius.But under scientific scrutiny, the issue becomes murky. The new study doesn’t explain the phenomenon, but it does identify special conditions under which the Mpemba effect can be seen, if it truly exists.“All in all, the work is a nice beginning, but not systematic enough to do more than confirm it can happen,” comments water expert David Auerbach, whose own experiments also suggest that the effect does occur.Papers published over the last decade, including several by Auerbach, who performed his research while at the Max Planck Institute for Flow Research in Göttingen, Germany, have documented instances of hot water freezing faster than cold, but not reproducibly, says study author James Brownridge of State University of New York at Binghamton. “No one has been able to get reproducible results on command.”

That’s what Brownridge has done. One of his experiments, presented online, repeatedly froze a sample of hot water faster than a similar sample of cool water.
Note the word similar. In order for the experiment to work, the cool water had to be distilled, and the hot water had to come from the tap.
In the experiment, about two teaspoons of each sample were held in a copper device that completely surrounded the water, preventing evaporation and setting reasonably even temperatures. Freezing was official when sensors picked up an electrical signal created by ice formation.Brownridge heated the tap water to about 100 C, while the distilled water was cooled to 25 C or lower. When both samples were put into the freezer, the hot water froze before the cold water. Brownridge then thawed the samples and repeated the experiment 27 times. Each time, the hot tap water froze first.

Link to Original Source

The Problems With Video Game Voice Acting 251

The Guardian's Games blog explores the tendency of modern video games to suffer from poor voice acting, a flaw made all the more glaring by increasingly precise and impressive graphics. Quoting: "Due to the interactive nature of games, actors can't be given a standard film script from which they're able to gauge the throughline of their character and a feel for the dramatic development of the narrative. Instead, lines of dialogue need to be isolated into chunks so they can be accessed and triggered within the game in line with the actions of each individual player. Consequently, the performer will usually be presented with a spreadsheet jammed with hundreds of single lines of dialogue, with little sense of context or interaction. ... But according to David Sobolov, one of the most experienced videogame voice actors in the world (just check out his website), the significant time pressures mean that close, in-depth direction is not always possible. 'Often, there's a need to record a great number of lines, so to keep the session moving, once we've established the tone of the character we're performing, the director will silently direct us using the spreadsheet on the screen by simply moving the cursor down the page to indicate if he/she liked what we did. Or they'll make up a code, like typing an 'x' to ask us to give them another take.' It sounds, in effect, like a sort of acting battery farm, a grinding, dehumanizing production line of disembodied phrases, delivered for hours on end. Hardly conducive to Oscar-winning performances."

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.