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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 95 declined, 21 accepted (116 total, 18.10% accepted)

Submission + - CNN auto-play violates their own advertising standards

xmas2003 writes: I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have CNN on my news' bookmarks, since while they offer a quick look at the current news, their increasingly sensationalistic reporting leaves a bit to be desired. I almost exclusively would just look at print stories as their videos reporting is long-winded fluff ... a very low bandwidth way of consuming news. Plus hosts such as Piers Morgan and Jeanne Moos are just grating to listen to.

A few months ago, I noticed that CNN's videos (and audio!) were auto-playing at the top of their print stories. ironically, this violates their own advertising guidelines which says "Must be user initiated by click ...No host-initiated audio is permitted ...... Audio must be user initiated by click ... Audio must be user-initiated by clicking within the banner"

The power of the mighty (advertising) buck accelerates their downhill slide! ;-)

Submission + - Webcam-Equipped Remote-Controllable Halloween Haunt

xmas2003 writes: Timothy asked yesterday what /.'ers are doing for Halloween and said "Maybe one year Alek Komarnitsky will switch to Hallowe'en instead of Christmas, and offer a webcam-equipped remote-controllable haunt." Turns out he actually has been doing that since 2005 ... and his Controllable Halloween Decorations allow you to turn 10,000 lights ON & OFF plus inflate/deflate the giant Frankenstein, Pumpkins, Grim Reaper, Skull, Headless Horseman, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Homer Simpson — D'OH! ;-)

Submission + - Before/After Javascript depicts Colorado Flooding (

xmas2003 writes: Everyone has seen pictures/video of the Flooding in Colorado which was caused by 17" of rain in less than a week — a 1,000-year precipitation event. Using the JQuery Before/After Plugin, a simple overlay of post-deluge Digital Globe Satellite Imagery shows the massive flooding compared to Google Satellite Maps.

Google put together a Memories of the Future webpage showing Japan before/after the Earthquake/Tsunami — something like this for the Colorado Flooding would be of great benefit to hydrologists in understanding how the water flowed and minimize future flooding.

Submission + - HULK for President - X10'd Halloween Display (

xmas2003 writes: "Alek's Controllable Halloween Decorations Webcams for Celiac Disease is back again with three live webcams and X10 power technology that not only allow you you to view the 10,000 Halloween lights, but also (in real-time) turn them on & off, plus inflate/deflate the giant Pumpkins, Skull, Frankenstein, and Homer Simpson — D'OH!

And since it is an election year, Internet surfers can "cast" a vote for Obama, Romey, or THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Right now, the Green Party candidate has a slight lead over Romney and then Obama ... although there has been quite a bit of ballot stuffing going on. Surf on by Halloween Night to see all the trick-or-treaters (online starting at 5:00PM MDT) and help put a Big Green Monster in the White House."

Submission + - U.S. Population Passes Pi Times 100 Million

xmas2003 writes: The US Census Bureau reports that the U.S. Population is now more than PI times 100 Million. The monthly rate of deaths is 185,000 is offset by the gain from births of 324,000 and net immigration of 56,000. At that rate, it will be over a 1,000 years before there is another digit of precision for Pi. World population is currently 22x the US's at over 7 Billion.

Submission + - Just how big are porn websites?

xmas2003 writes: ExtremeTech has an interesting piece about how big are porn websites. They get some actual traffic/bandwidth data from YouPorn.Com (only NSFW link here) which I'm sure has plenty of naked chicks and Boobies in their 100 Terabyte archive of porn. Every day, they handle over 100 million page views and almost a Petabyte of data transfer — one metric says this is about 10x of Slashdot.

While Sebastian Anthony has some fun with the subject matter — "While it's difficult domain to penetrate ... hard numbers are few and far between" — he plays it straight and provides some interesting facts about some of the most trafficked parts of the internet which present some real scalability challenges (PPT preso) using software such as Redis & Nginx. It's certainly a complicated industry as outlined in the Geek-Kings of Smut.

Submission + - Followup: Ultraviolet Vision after Cataract Surgery (

xmas2003 writes: "Several months ago, I posted to /. about being able to see ultraviolet light after cataract surgery. While a lot of the discussion whimsically discussed the best way for "Captain UV" or "UltraMan" to use this "super-power", there were some people who were skeptical or (incorrectly) said this is Tetrachromatic vision. I've subsequently done more testing using an Oriel Instruments MS257 Monochromator and was able to see color down to 350nm — below the usual ~400nm limit of the visual spectrum. It's also easily demonstrable with a pair of 400nm and 365nm UV flashlights.

Some /.'ers who also have UV vision commented this can be quite annoying at black-lit Disney Rides, Halloween Haunted Houses, etc. Fortunately for me, it's just an interesting oddity so far. Along those lines, some interesting related stories about using UV vision during World War II and Star Gazing. Finally, many/most people end up getting vision debilitating cataracts, so my experience having a Crystalens implanted after cataract surgery may be informative."

Submission + - Linux-Powered Christmas Display Puts Rudolph to Sh (

xmas2003 writes: "Over at, Zonker writes about Alek's Controllable Christmas Lights for Celiac Disease. This annual Internet tradition uses a hi/low-tech combo of LAMP'ed Redhat Web Servers, a 7+ year old Thinkpad running Unbuntu for the X10 control, and an old-school webpage design that could be politely described as Web 0.0 — wait until you see the animated cursor — D'OH! The site is free (and totally fun) as it also raises awareness and donations for Celiac Disease — over $70,000 to the University of Maryland.

Nifty pictures of the crazy christmas display can be seen on the Christmas Blog (notice Clifford Stoll's "The Cuckoo's Egg" in post #220) plus watch videos of it in action with comedic history. Nothing quite says Christmas like a giant HULK inflatable wearing a Santa Hat ... along with three wise men of Elmo, SpongeBob, and Homer Simpson — D'OH! The Slashdot Effect of turning 21,000 Christmas lights ON & OFF this evening should provide quite a Christmas Eve show to Alek's neighbors ... and also the International Space Station."

Submission + - Able to see Ultraviolet Light after Cataract Surge ( 2

xmas2003 writes: "I recently had Cataract Surgery with a Crystalens implant. With my cloudy yellowing (UV-filtering) natural lens removed, I see the world in a new light (more on that in a moment) as everything is brighter and colors are more vivid ... plus in focus. As a typical /. reader, I've been myopic since childhood, so it's wonderful not to have to wear glasses/contacts for distance.

One interesting oddity is that I can now see Ultraviolet light — it seems that there are a few people who have photoreceptors sensitive below 400nm into the UV spectrum. I've done some testing with a Black Light and UV filter to confirm this but would love to do more conclusive testing such as using a Monochromator — anyone in the Boulder, Colorado area have access to one? And any suggestions from /. readers on how I can further explore this phenomena?

So while "I can't see dead people", I guess I have a "superpower" ... although I'm not sure a middle-aged suburbanite Dad should don purple tights and cape to become a crime-fighter! ;-)"

Submission + - Cataract Surgery: Research & Firsthand Experie (

xmas2003 writes: As a long-time reader of News for Nerds, I fit the "profile" in a number of ways — including being myopic since childhood ... but fortunately for me, this was correctable with glasses or contacts. Around age 40, it started becoming more difficult to do close-up tasks (such as using vi to edit Perl code ;-) as Presbyopia showed up right "on time" — I'm sure many older /. readers can relate.

But at age 46, a cataract started to obscure my vision which was no longer correctable — bummer to have this happen a few decades early. After extensive research on the various options (mono focal, multi-focal, accommodating, etc.), I opted for Cataract Surgery with a Crystalens implant.

Millions of Cataract Surgeries are done annually, so I figured my (overly analytical) writeup plus visual examples might be of interest to some /. readers who may (or will) be dealing with the same issue. Plus I'm sure many have gone through this process and can chime in with their experience/recommendations.

I had the first eye done last Monday and have been updating the web page — so far, so good. The eye doctor will "poke a hole" in my second eye this Monday — wish me luck! ;-)


Submission + - Nobody pushing the Google +1 Button?

xmas2003 writes: A few months ago, Google announced their +1 button which was their response to the Facebook Like button, Twitter Tweet button, Stumble Badge and other misc. social networking tools.

I have some nifty pictures of baby hummingbirds that seem popular since several hundred people look at it every day. So a little while ago, I added the Google +1 button in-line with the buttons from Facebook (2,452 likes), Stumble (35,000 views), and Twitter (147 tweets) ... and so far, the big "G's" button has been pushed ZERO times.

Are web surfers just not used to seeing the latest web button, or is this a sign that Google is a little late to the social networking craze?

Submission + - Consumer webcams with high quality sensors

xmas2003 writes: Since 2005, I've had a live webcam watching my grass grow — another is currently watching a bird nest on my front door — five babies! While I appreciate the 802.11g wireless and Pan/Tilt/Zoom (10x optical) of the 5 year old D-Link DCS-6620g, it has issues, especially image quality. I've investigated getting a new webcam, but except for high-end/security-related gear from companies such as Axis, there doesn't seem to be much improvement in the consumer space as most offerings are just cheaper and USB connected for tethered video conferencing, etc.

I have an 18 Megapixel Canon 7D DSLR that shoots gorgeous 1920x1080x30p hi-def video. While I don't expect that in a consumer webcam, their recently released T2i uses the same chip and sells for $800. And heck, point-n-shoots are a couple of hundred bucks and now many cell phones have cameras built in, so there's plenty of low power speedy CPU's in small packages these days to handle the signal processing.

So why hasn't someone taken a sensor with good image quality sensor, downsized to around 1024x768, and put it in a PTZ webcam package with 802.11n wireless for around $500?

Submission + - Microsoft offers browser options to EU surfeers

Mr. Grass writes: "The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft will add rival browsers to settle EU probe. But rather than bundling this on new PC's, they will send a notification over the Internet that will ask all Windows users in Europe who currently have Microsoft's Internet Explorer as their default browser whether they'd like to install a different one and optionally turn Internet Explorer off. The ballot-screen mechanism would be in place for five years from the date of the settlement and feature the top five browsers by market share — currently Internet Explorer, Firefox, Apple Inc.'s Safari, Opera and Google's Chrome. More coverage on Google News."

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.