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Comment Qt-based development (Score 1) 121

What options does this leave for Qt-based development on embedded platforms?

Maemo on the N900 felt like the right direction with Nokia backing Qt, especially with projects like PySide created soley to offer a LGPL-licensed Python wrapper available to commercial developers (as opposed to PyQt). This permitted a single codebase to target desktop and mobile/tablet environments using a pleasant and completely open toolchain. MeeGo was set to carry on with Qt/X11.

But according to MeeGo's updated website, "We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5."

Submission + - Emotiv EEG DRM Cracked (

Cycon writes: "Earlier this week, one of the original iPhone jailbreakers Cody Brocious (aka "Daeken") announced the Emokit Project, an Open Source library written in Python which cracks the DRM encryption on the raw EEG signals transmitted by the Emotiv EPOC EEG headset. Raw EEG access is necessary to build and use software without passing through Emotiv's App store. At issue is Emotiv's business model which sells consumer-only versions of its headset for $300, and charges $750 for developer access to the raw EEG signals. Emotiv has responded that they "strongly oppose this kind of action" because they are a start-up and it places their business model at risk. Notably their competitors at NeuroSky do not distinguish between consumers and developers and provide development toolkits and full raw EEG access by default. What does the Slashdot community think about cracking DRM, potentially killing a product or company, as opposed to large corporations such as Apple or the MPAA?"

Comment This study contradicts Rosenfeld's own research (Score 4, Informative) 206

This is really interesting as Rosenfeld himself has previously railed against other neuroscientists for commercializing P300 based lie detectors with claims of 100% accuracy:
Simple, effective countermeasures to P300-based tests of detection of concealed information - J. PETER ROSENFELD,a MATTHEW SOSKINS,a GREGORY BOSH,a and ANDREW RYAN

"It seemed timely to investigate countermeasures to ERP-based tests also because although there have been many laboratory studies claiming 85-95% accuracy, only one field study has been published, but it reported approximately chance accuracy (Miyake, Mizutani, & Yamahura, 1993). Nevertheless, one user of these methods claims 100% accuracy and is presently attempting to commercialize them (see Finally, the ERP approach has now surfaced in popular novels, for example, Coonts (2003), as a foolproof method."


"It is noted that the subjects used by Farwell and Donchin were paid volunteers, including associates of the experimenters. Our presently reported study uses introductory psychology students as subjects, more like the subjects one might find in the field in the sense of relative lack of motivation to cooperate with operators, and perhaps lower intelligence."

The above is the original peer-reviewed paper, this review (also by Rosenfeld) below is more recent and concise:

Comment Re:Just hilarious (Score 1) 339

The biggest example was probably how they handle multiple size screens on an extended desktop: click through the dialog once, and it remembers. The next time you connect that particular screen, you get your nice big desktop back. The Linux equivalent is a full workday worth of xorg research, and God help you if you want two different profiles (like laptop+big screen and laptop+projector).

Actually my netbook does this under Fedora 12 without issue or any special configuration.

The video chipset is Intel based (lspci says "945GME"), so it uses the fully Open Source driver, and perhaps that helps.

When I plug in a screen to my netbook at the office, it recognizes the monitor ID, sets it to maximum resolution, and correctly places it relative to where the netbook sits on my desk. If I close the netbook lid and the screens go to sleep, I can unlock the system without opening it (running Synergy) and the desktop area automatically resizes to just use the monitor. If I then open the lid it resizes again to use both the netbook screen and monitor again, with the same resolutions and relative positioning as before.

The same thing happens when I take the netbook home - although there it recognizes a different monitor is being used, with a different resolution and relative position - all of my settings are remembered without my having to do anything manually. And I should probably say all of the original resolution and layout settings were done with the default, graphical tools, not by having to drop to the command line or hack any special scripts. Hell, there's not even a "xorg.conf" text file on the system, everything is auto-detected and launched automatically through the boot process.

Except for the Synergy part this is all out-of-the-box and "just works." Only caveat is I can't run Compiz at the same time because it doesn't handle the layout/resolution changes properly.

Comment Re:Five Largest Hurdles to Science R&D at Home (Score 1) 398

if those are barriers, then add a 6th: INABILITY TO PERSIST IN PROBLEM SOLVING. There are simple solutions to all of them, and some have several.

Sure, that's why I suggested "hurdles" to expect (as opposed to "barriers" to success), and included some suggestions - such as purchasing access to research papers, being certain to collect an unbiased sample group, and when lacking credentials finding a party which has them to review your work.

Oh my sweet variance. d00d ... I've cracke3d all of them despite being able to walk thru (ie. getting published with no affiliation and without saying I have a PhD).

Incidentally, peer review helps with spelling and grammar too. (c:

Comment Five Largest Hurdles to Science R&D at Home (Score 2, Insightful) 398

After spending the last several months learning about and experimenting with EEG in an informal environment, I would say the largest hurdles you will encounter which are likely to apply to any field of science are:
  • Lack of access to high quality, peer-reviewed research - Unlike Open Source where one can simply download large and complex software (such as the Linux kernel) to examine in depth how it all works, or search large online repositories to discover discussions and explanations around key areas, scientific research papers typically have restricted access. You can find most papers online, but expect to pay upwards of $35-$50 USD per paper with only a brief paragraph-long abstract to help you determine if the information within is relevant or useful.
  • The "easy" discoveries have already been made - EEG research specifically goes back to at least 1875, though many of the major discoveries still referenced today occurred in the 1960's and 1970's as the equipment got better and more sensitive. All of the classical realms of science have been around much longer of course.
  • Lack of access to research-grade equipment - One way to push the boundaries of the known is with improved equipment which can take more accurate readings, thus providing information which may not have been previously explored. Again referring to EEG specifically, although various consumer-grade hardware has been released recently, the quantity and location of sensors does not match locations used by current research and the signal-to-noise ratios of the sensors themselves are quite low by comparison.
  • Lack of access to large, unbiased test groups - If you lack the equipment to explore new depths, you might be able to explore new applications of known phenomena instead. However this requires access to statistically significant test groups, or in other words you can't simply do all of your experimenting on yourself or family and friends (and pets!). You need unbiased subjects and for all tests to be carried out in a carefully controlled environment if you want your results taken seriously. Which brings up the final point:
  • Difficultly in presenting your results - If you don't have a PhD in your field of research, chances are you will have difficulty being taken seriously, especially if your work leapfrogs or even contradicts established work in the field. You will likely need to find another party with credentials who is willing to review your work and possibly attach their name to any publications which result. Setting the barrier to entry somewhat high does help to keep out the "kooks" after all.

All that said, don't be discouraged and best of luck with your chosen field of research. If you do decide to turn to EEG feel free to contact me directly for more information or perhaps even to collaborate.


Comment Re:hardly EEG (Score 1) 33

Almost all of the degrees of freedom come from head motion and muscle artifact. EEG is very sensitive to facial muscle artifacts, and when you actually record EEG the patients have to keep very still.

The larger problem with the Emotiv EPOC headset is that the EEG sensor locations it provides do not match up to where "real" Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) research is focused. So even if you wanted to do control by "pure thought" alone the best-known areas of the brain where these signals are located are not measurable by the Emotiv EPOC.

Electrode placement is based on an international standard called the "10-20" system:

Most BCI applications focus on "imagined" movements around the right arm or hand, left arm or hand, and feet. The parts of the brain which produces electrical signals when neurons related to these extremities fire are located in the C3 and C4 sections of the top of the scalp in the diagram at that URL. Another important location is the "Cz" sensor at the exact top of the crown.

Unfortunately however, the key Cz, C3, and C4 electrode locations (going by the 10-20 scale) right/left/feet motor control are not available on the Emotiv hardware. Instead their hardware provides electrodes in the following 10-20 locations:

AF3, F7, F3, FC5, T7, P7, O1, O2, P8, T8, FC6, F4, F8, AF4

My understanding, based on discussions with Emotiv, is that they designed their headset with as many unique channels of information as possible, at the best price/feature ratio, which would fit the most number of potential users in a one-size-fits-all form factor. This last restraint prevented them from Cz, C3, and C4 because the exact locations from user to user were not consistent enough to be relied upon in a consumer setting (their target market). Locations for an adult would not be the same as an adolescent user, and getting the locations lined up precisely is "too hard" for the casual or non-technical public.

So in other words, if you want as fine-grained control by thought alone as the current state of technology allows, you'll have to wait for a updated EEG headset model from Emotiv or another manufacturer - or of course learn how to build your own from the .

Comment Re:Here we go again (Score 1) 532

This has nothing to do with the iPad. Once again, Apple is getting the credit for something that was already happening in the industry.

Apple, in this and related instances (such as the iPhone), can be compared to crystalline nucleation:

Examples of nucleation:
Pure water freezes at 42C rather than at its freezing temperature of 0C if no crystal nuclei, such as dust particles, are present to form an ice nucleus.


"The process of nucleation and growth generally occurs in two different stages. In the first nucleation stage, a small nucleus containing the newly forming crystal is created. Nucleation occurs relatively slowly as the initial crystal components must impinge on each other in the correct orientation and placement for them to adhere and form the crystal. After crystal nucleation, the second stage of growth rapidly ensues."

...or in other words, all of the properties necessay for tablets to take off may have existed and been available for some time, but if nothing else Apple has mastered the ability to seed the market with the right mixture of elegant design and hype to cause the general public to take notice, just as they did to the smartphone market with the introduction of the iPhone.

Comment Re:Not everyone is an Apple whore (Score 1) 532

Open source people will do a port of open office for maemo/andriod eventually in a couple of years as only two people will do it. Yet Apple is shipping it today.

Just FYI, I've been running Open Office on my Maemo 5 n900 for months, there's a native ARM port with for Debian which runs directly, has its own menu icon, etc. Its all handled by the native package manager, so no stress there.

Now granted, it launches slowly and the only thing I tend to use it for is converting email-attached .doc files to PDF for more convenient display under the lightweight native PDF viewer, but its been available for some time.

If I needed to type out a significant amount of text for a professional document, I'd do it on my netbook or desktop PC, either of which is better suited to the task - as opposed to say a device with no physical keyboard (or tiny keys).

Comment Re:Better Than First Edition? (Score 1) 163

I sincerely hope that this version is better than the first edition, although anything short of a random re-arrangement of pages would serve as an improvement. The first edition actually delayed my initial use of Python by about a year and a half. I had heard wonderful things about the language so I figured, "Ah, an O'Reilly book!" Big mistake.

Wow, I'm quite surprised actually, I had exactly the opposite experience with the first edition of "Learning Python."

I distinctly remember picking up the book in '99, reading the first three chapters to get introduced to the language basics, then writing my first web-scraper to pull weather forecasts off and forward them as emails, arriving on my handset as an SMS message (AT&T was running a free email-to-SMS gateway at the time, and didn't charge to receive the messages). I think I skipped ahead to chapter 11 or so to find the code for reading html as text from a URL, as opposed to a local file.

I had never written a tool which perform network lookups and was really impressed with the simplicity of the language and the book. The progression was from the very general to the very specific. The first three chapters were a history and basic introduction to the relatively unique concepts such as whitespace handling and how to deal with strings, as well as how Python handles common stuff like while and for loops. If I recall correctly it stepped into classes and objects after that, then proceed into specific libraries.

I've been doing professional coding in Python ever since, and always recommend "Learning Python" as an introduction to newbies.

My only disappointment in fact was that the size of the book has grown so much in the course of the last few editions.

Comment Hardware Specs (Score 4, Informative) 44

The hardware specifications alone are pretty impressive:

Computation The PR2 robot has two eight-core i7 Xeon system servers on-board, each with 24 GB of RAM, a 500 GB internal hard drive, and a 1.5 TB external removable log drive. The computers and most of the sensors communicate over a 16-port gigabit Ethernet hub with a 32-gigabit backplane. The robot also has an on-board, dual-radio router that can be bridged into a WLAN, as well as a secondary, stand-alone access point for laptop or smart phone access.


The PR2 ships with sensors in the head, arms, and base. The head contains two stereo camera pairs coupled with an LED pattern projector, a 5MP camera, a tilting laser range finder, and an IMU. The forearms each contain an ethernet-based, wide-angle camera, while the grippers have three-axis accelerometers and pressure sensor arrays on the fingertips. The base has a fixed laser range finder.

That's a fair bit of grunt to throw at the OpenCV libraries, which is listed under their Supported Projects in the Software section. No surprise either, Willow Garage has taken over hosting the project from Intel.

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