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Optical Solution For an NP-Complete Problem? 232

6 writes to let us know that two optical researchers have proposed, as a thought experiment, a novel idea for solving the traveling salesman problem. From the abstract: We introduce an optical method based on white light interferometry in order to solve the well-known NP-complete traveling salesman problem. To our knowledge it is the first time that a method for the reduction of non-polynomial time to quadratic time has been proposed. We will show that this achievement is limited by the number of available photons for solving the problem. It will turn out that this number of photons is proportional to NN for a traveling salesman problem with N cities and that for large numbers of cities the method in practice therefore is limited by the signal-to-noise ratio. The proposed method is meant purely as a gedankenexperiment."

Submission + - A pollution indicator on our car dashboard?

Roland Piquepaille writes: "This might soon be possible according to researchers at the University of Manchester. They've designed a near-infrared diode laser sensor able to record levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane directly from your car's exhaust. Their device could be one day incorporated into onboard diagnostic systems and be permanently in use while you drive. So you could be warned that your pollution levels are too high. The system would include dashboard warnings telling you to modify the way you're driving. But read more for additional details and a picture of the test bed the researchers used to take their measurements."
Input Devices

Submission + - Tivo your day

ZeroMaker writes: Apparently Apple filed for a patent for "Presentation of audible media in accommodation with external sound". With this system you would be able to hear external sounds while wearing your iPod earbuds but it also offers this tidbit. "...stored external sound can be presented with a full range of media playback features (e.g., forward, backward, pause, replay)". All the parts already exist someone just needs to make it easy to tivo (verb) your day. humm...

Submission + - Novell wants Linux ISV standard (

neapolitan writes: Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian calls for Linux to develop a standard for ISV (Independent Software Vendors) to follow, so that their applications may work cross-platform. A quote from the entry, 'In Unix, we fragmented the applications and the No. 1 thing we need is applications. We need customers and the ISVs to have their footprints on the Linux platform.'

Is this certification something that is needed? It seems that an application written for Linux currently can be ported to multiple distributions without excess difficulty. Is this going to supplement the POSIX standard, or is this just a business / certification decision?

Full story at


Submission + - Bring ODF to Apple's Office Suite (

Pedahzur writes: "The recently released Apple iWork '08 contains does not contain support for ODF (Open Document Format), an ISO standard. There is support, however, for Microsoft's OOXML, which is not yet an ISO standard (and may never be). Hopefully with enough community and customer feedback, Apple could be nudged into including ODF in their next update of iWork. If you'd like to see this happen, add your name to the Apple ODF Petition."

Submission + - Corporate IT waste due to politics

jpolachak writes: Question:
How badly do companies waste money due to political reasons? When viable solutions are proposed only to be declined to due "Executives" that have nothing to do with a project.

I am new to the "Corporate" big business world. I have been a government contractor for 8 years. However, already I am appalled at the things that go on. The company I work for as a Unix System Administrator is always complaining about budgets. Day in and day out someone is complaining about not having money. I know that this is universal. However, when I had a chance to implement a proposal for saving abou $10,000 on a project that is budgeted for $50,000. I was shot down due to political issues. The project was to upgrade and buy new desktops for all the Unix administrators(since we are running on machines almost 10 years old. Ultra 5's). The inital proposal was to go with Sun workstations with 24" Sun monitors. Totaling about $4700 per system w/ monitors. However, I then proposed to buy another brand monitor. Since the cost of another monitor would save about $1000 per persons workstation. I was told that if we changed the order to a non Sun product it would get declined. Due to another "VP" saying that we couldn't have such nice equiptment. However, if we spend the extra $1000 per monitor. Since it said Sun on it that the "VP" would not fuss over it. I was told this happens all the time.

So how often does this happen in other "Corporate" businesses? I ask because if I can make such a difference in just one small area. That must mean it is going on in other areas in the company. How does one get a point across that what is being done is an absolute waste and is inexcusable?

Submission + - Fixed Wireless Phone

SkipF writes: I would like to move my land line to a cell phone. But I don't want a puny portable phone dangling off its charger cord on my phone stand. I've seen a couple of hacks where people modded a hand held cell into a desk phone chassis, but I don't think I'm up to that. I've read stories about companies making a "Fixed Wireless Phone" for Africa / India and other places that have problems with infrastructure. Has anyone ever worked with one of these? Are they available in the US? Can I use one with a standard Cell provider?

Submission + - Google gives Linux its patent protection

Rob writes: Search giant Google has promised not to use its patent portfolio against the Linux operating system and other open source projects by becoming the first end-user licensee of the Open Invention Network. By joining the OIN Google has licensed over 100 patents from the non-profit organization, which was formed in November 2005 by IBM, Novell, Red Hat, Sony and Phillips to stockpile intellectual property for use as a defensive weapon. "Linux plays a vital role at Google, and we're strongly committed to supporting the Linux developer community," noted the company's open source programs manager, Chris DiBona.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - How a Motherboard is Made (

countach44 writes: Gigabyte Technology, one of the largest motherboard manufacturers in Taiwan, hosted a factory tour at its facility, inviting journalists out to give them a brief overview of the company and explain how their factory worked.

Submission + - Flashlight weapon makes target vomit (

synaptic writes: "From the FOXNews article:

Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc., of Torrance, Calif., has been granted a contract by the Department of Homeland Security to develop what it calls the "LED Incapacitator," according to a DHS online newsletter. The handheld device using [sic] light-emitting diodes to emit super-bright pulses of light at rapidly changing wavelengths, causing disorientation, nausea and even vomiting in whomever it's pointed at.

"There's one wavelength that gets everybody," says IOS President Bob Lieberman. "Vlad [IOS top scientist Vladimir Rubtsov] calls it 'the evil color.'"
Vlad calls it the EVIL COLOR, eh? I wonder if shutter glasses could be rigged to detect the light and actively filter it."


Submission + - Chaos Communication Camp 2007 starting august 8th (

VinciB writes: "The 2007 Chaos Communication Camp will take place from August 8th till August 12th at Finowfurt, near Berlin, Germany.
This international hacker community meeting will see many hackers from all over the world coming to exchange ideas, stuff, tricks & tips, and of course challenge eachothers. It's not too late to take a plane to Berlin, geeks & nerds from /. are welcome. A fahrplan (Schedule) of all conferences is available on the event wiki. Hope this camp will be as successfull as the previous one (CC2003).
See you there geeks."


Submission + - AMD Tech Day at Develop Conference 2007 (

ryszards writes: "At the tail end of the Develop Expo and Conference this year, AMD held their Tech Day to talk about D3D10 graphics development, multi-GPU, multi-core CPU programming and more. Designed to educate games developers so they get the most out of AMD GPUs and CPUs, it's one of the only free tech tours the company does in the UK. This year they partnered with Microsoft again, and Beyond3D showed up to cover it.

The day was dominated by discussion on the challenges games developers will face when using D3D10 and multi-core processors to develop the next generation of games on Windows, and the information imparted by the representatives of AMD and Microsoft is invaluable."


Submission + - Linux Powered PS3 to be used in DARPA

An anonymous reader writes: Axion Racing was the first team to autonomously drive up to the top of Colorado's Pike Peak and now leads the way by finding cutting edge uses for the beleaguered Sony PS3. This two time DARPA Grand Challenge qualifier is the first racing team to implement Yellow Dog Linux and a Sony PlayStation game console to manage one of seven autonomous vehicle cameras.
United States

Submission + - Working in a very remote area

leeet writes: My family and I are faced with a big dilemma. I'm from a small town where the only thing IT-related is the local mom and pop computer shop and I'm barely being sarcastic. There is no innovation and most medium to large companies fulfill their IT needs from head office (i.e. if something breaks, they basically sent consultants for 1 or 2 days). Since I work in a semi-specialized field (IT Security), I had to move to a large city in order to make a "nice" living. Turns out that we're not sure if we're living a "nice living" after all: long commute time, away from our family, expensive housing and so on. I think everyone knows what I'm talking about.

So I'm faced with two choices:

1. Work in a large city, pay a high mortgage, commute forever and have no life whatsoever with my family. Not the best for my family.

2. Move to a nice remote area, work in some factory and struggle to make a decent living while never knowing when the factory will close (I'm also being barely sarcastic here). Not really better for my family.

So the best is of course a mixture of both options. I have some ideas in mind but they are very limited (like starting my own physical/Internet business, telecommuting for an IT company or simply re-orienting my career although this would be hard — like opening a restaurant, owning a bed & breakfast inn or something entirely different of what I do)

As far as telecommuting, I'm curious to know about real-life examples. What do you telecommuter people do? Sure some people telecommute, but is this "real"? Do some people really telecommute 365 days a year? Every single company that I worked for had a telecommute policy and we couldn't do it year round. We had perhaps 1 or 2 days per week at the maximum. My current company actually completely forbids telecommuting. So are there fields that are more open to telecommuters (perhaps fields where decentralization is well accepted — like insurance)?

Anyone willing to tell their own success story? How are you making enough money to support your family in a remote area? And perhaps more important, what are you doing exactly? I'm not looking for obvious ideas (i.e. do freelance programming — I already know about this) but rather for "think out of the box" ideas. Is anyone working from Hoot Owl, Oklahoma and is happy about it?

Submission + - Baby Talk

An anonymous reader writes: PhysOrg has an interesting article about language development in babies that seems to have implications for the equivalent AI scenario.

If the snowball effect of vocabulary development is an unavoidable outcome that does not require hardwiring, then the AI process to achieve the same goal should be nearer than many have envisioned.

Furthermore the article begs the question "Why haven't we seen it yet?"

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