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Television

Submission + - Neighbourhood Cable Co. ? 1

An anonymous reader writes: With the US deadline for transition to over the air digital TV and Canada not far behind, everyone is buying antennas and amplifiers to receive the best signal possible. Being that I live in a house and have a 50ft tower for ham radio, I had an idea. Since I have no problem receiving distant stations but none of my neighbours have such a beast, why can't we some how share what channels I receive? Running coax isn't an option and kinda defeats another goal of being open to everyone. Privacy is also of utmost importance so slingboxes probably wouldn't work too well for this.

I have a few ideas about how it can be done and one I'm leaning toward is sharing over a mesh type network (ala wifi) via multicast to anyone who can hear. Obviously that presents some issues of its own. Ideal would be something small and embedded I could mount on the tower or a single box with multiple dual tuner cards in it.

Having two tier service by running cat5 or fiber is possible (their cost to run the cable) as well but there should still be an open way to watch over wifi. I'm not looking to make a profit off it though.

So what are some other possibilities to consider? Has anyone else tried this? In trailer parks or apartment buildings for example?

Comment Re:Cute robot (Score 5, Interesting) 197

Your post reminds me a little of the "Postal Experiments" that I remember reading about amongst some comments here on Slashdot nearly 10 years ago:

We sent a variety of unpackaged items to U.S. destinations, appropriately stamped for weight and size, as well as a few items packaged as noted. We sent items that loosely fit into the following general categories: valuable, sentimental, unwieldy, pointless, potentially suspicious, and disgusting.

It's tough to say what my personal favorite was, but I think the helium-filled balloon at least deserves special mention. :-)
Communications

State Dept E-mail Crash After "Reply-All" Storm 384

twistah writes "It seems that a recent 'reply-all storm' at the State Department caused the entire e-mail infrastructure to crash. A notice sent to all State Department employees warned of disciplinary actions which will be taken if users 'reply-all' to lists with a large amount of users. Apparently, the problem was compounded by not only angry replies asking to be taken off the errant list, but by the e-mail recall function, which generated further e-mail traffic. One has to wonder if capacity planning was performed correctly — should an e-mail system be able to handle this type of traffic, or is it an unreasonable task for even the best system?"

Comment Re:Why number pads? (Score 5, Informative) 523

> why did the phone guys make theirs upside-down?

Go to the "Keyboards" section of this course outline and follow the link to the PDF copy of the "Bell Labs 1960 study". In short, it's because that configuration ranked highly for inputting phone numbers. If you take a look at the image provided of the button-based phone's predecessor you'll see that 7, 8, 9, and 0 are at the bottom and 1, 2, and 3 are at the top. I'd guess that made that structure more familiar to the test subjects, along with the fact that English is read from left to right, and from ... in case you hadn't noticed ... top to bottom. With those two points in mind, my question to you is, why are the keys on numeric keypads and calculators upside-down? :-)
Biotech

Scientists Identify a Potentially Universal Mechanism of Aging 359

cybergenesis2008 points us to a summary of research out of Harvard Medical School in which a set of genes known to affect aging in yeast was found to affect aging in mice as well. The genes, called sirtuins, perform two particular tasks; regulating which genes are "on" and "off," and also helping to repair damaged DNA. As an organism ages, the frequency of damage to DNA increases, leaving less time for the sirtuins' regulatory tasks. The increasingly unregulated genes then become a significant factor in aging. Realizing this, the researchers "administered extra copies of the sirtuin gene [to the mice], or fed them the sirtuin activator resveratrol, which in turn extended their mean lifespan by 24 to 46 percent." We discussed the plans for this research a few years ago.
Censorship

IOC Trademarks Part of Canadian National Anthem 412

gravis777 sends us to BoingBoing for news that the International Olympic Committee has trademarked a line from the Canadian National Anthem and is threatening to sue anyone who uses it. The line in question is "with glowing hearts." "The committee is so serious about protecting the Olympic brand it managed to get a landmark piece of legislation passed in the House of Commons last year that made using certain phrases related to the Games a violation of law. The list includes the number 2010 and the word 'winter,' phrases that normally couldn't be trademarked because they are so general."

Comment Re:I have true unlimited (Score 5, Informative) 656

I was a Speakeasy customer for about 3 years.

Then they were bought by Best Buy. I learned about it right here on Slashdot. It took me a while but I dropped them by the end of that year. And yes, my decision to drop them was based 100% on who their new owner was.

In my area, Speakeasy had always just been a reseller of Covad's services. So, I went with Covad instead and cut out the middle-man. It's been about a year now and I have no complaints. The only thing I had trouble with was technician incompetence during the installation. I had a similar experience during the installation of my original Speakeasy service (which, as I said, was always just re-sold Covad service, so it came as no surprise to me).

Just like it was with Speakeasy though, once the installation stupidity had been bulldozed through, everything has been fine with Covad.

I will do everything I can to avoid supporting the Best Buy corporation. Hence no more money of mine will go to Speakeasy. They are absolutely not the company they used to be.

It doesn't surprise me at all that a Best Buy employee would post here with praise for their Speakeasy brand. That's what you are, anonymous coward ... a Best Buy employee. Are you wearing one of their shirts when you pick up the phone and answer, "Speakeasy"?
Star Wars Prequels

LucasArts Embargoes "Clone Wars" Reviews 603

An anonymous reader writes "George Lucas CGI 'Clone Wars' movie has premiered to reviews ranging from MSNBC's 'Ugly animation and an uninspired storyline drag down the film' to AintItCool's 'I hated the film. HATED IT. REALLY HATED IT.' Critics have noted the animation style, music and slapstick humor had more than a passing similarity to Pixar's Toy Story, and wondered if the introduction of new action figures (sorry, characters) like Baby Jabba Hutt and Jabba the Hutt's Gay Uncle may have taken the franchise a bridge too far. Lucas responding by enforcing an embargo, forcing the reviews to be taken down. While sites like AintItCool.com responded, by then it was just a little too late. Still, the CGI eye candy will make it popular with kids. If the 'Clone Wars' movie can't save the galaxy, can it at least save the franchise?"
The Courts

ABA Judges Get an Earful About RIAA Litigations 349

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "I was afforded the opportunity to write for a slightly different audience — the judges who belong to the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association. I was invited by the The Judges Journal, their quarterly publication, to do a piece on the RIAA litigations for the ABA's Summer 2008 'Equal Access to Justice' issue. What I came up with was 'Large Recording Companies vs. The Defenseless: Some Common Sense Solutions to the Challenges of the RIAA Litigations,' in which I describe the unfairness of these cases and make 15 suggestions as to how the courts could level the playing field. I'm hoping the judges mod my article '+5 Insightful,' but I'd settle for '+3 Informative.' Here is the actual article (PDF). (If anyone out there can send me a decent HTML version of it, I'll run that one up the flagpole as well.)" Wired is helping to spread the word on Ray's article.
Censorship

COPA Suffers Yet Another Court Defeat 322

A US federal appeals court today struck down COPA, the Child Online Protection Act, a Clinton-era censorship law that the Justice Department has been struggling to get implemented for a decade. (The ACLU filed suit as soon as COPA was signed in 1998 and won an immediate injunction.) The battle has made it to the Supreme Court twice, and the DoJ has essentially never gotten any satisfaction out of the courts. This was the case for which the DoJ famously went trolling for search histories. In the ruling issued today, the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling that COPA violates the First Amendment because it is not the most effective way to keep children from visiting adult Web sites. The law would require sites to check visitors' ages, e.g. by taking a credit card, if the site contained any material that is "harmful to minors," whatever that means.
Medicine

What Is the Best Way To Disinfect Your Laptop? 545

akutz writes "I've had the flu since Tuesday afternoon. My wife picked me up from work with a temperature of 103.6 and it finally broke at 98.7 around 3am this morning. Yay. The problem is that I used my laptop during my periods of feverish deliriousness, contaminating my shiny 15" MacBook Pro with the icky influenza virus. I am asking my fellow Slashdotters if they have ever sought out a good way of disinfecting their lucky laptops after an illness. Do you use soap? A light acid bath? Just get the family dog to lick it until it looks clean?"
Security

Bank of NY Loses Tapes With 4.5 Million Clients' Data 156

Lucas123 brings news that Bank of New York Mellon Corp. has admitted they lost a box of unencrypted data storage tapes. The tapes contained personal information for over 4.5 million people. From Computerworld: "The bank informed the Connecticut State Attorney General's Office that the tapes ... were lost in transport by off-site storage firm Archive America on Feb. 27. The missing backup tapes include names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and other information from customers of BNY Mellon and the People's United Bank in Bridgeport, Conn., according to a statement by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
Robotics

Survivor Buddy, a Friendly Robot Rescuer 109

Roland Piquepaille writes "The St. Petersburg Times, Florida, reports that a well-known robot designer, Robin Murphy, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of South Florida (USF), 'plans to add a heart to robot rescuers.' As says USF, the goal is to develop 'a robot that will be a companion to a person who may be trapped after a car crash or in building ruins following an earthquake, or someone pinned down by sniper fire.' As said Murphy, 'robots can provide not only a sense of being a 'buddy' by playing soothing music or providing other entertainment, the robot also can be the audio and video link between survivor and family.' Murphy will develop this robot with some money coming from Microsoft. But read more for additional references and a picture of Murphy with her robot rescuers."
Space

Why Life On Mars May Foretell Our Doom 431

Hugh Pickens writes "Nick Bostrom has an interesting interpretation on why the failure of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) for the past half-century is good news and why the discovery of life on Mars could foretell our doom. Bostrom postulates a 'Great Filter,' which can be thought of as a probability barrier and consists of one or more evolutionary transitions or steps that must be traversed at great odds in order for an Earth-like planet to produce a civilization capable of exploring distant solar systems."

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