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Comment Directional Antenna Problem (Score 2, Insightful) 373

Besides a) attenuation due to hand holding and b) change of the antenna characteristics due to bridging there's a third problem which really exacerbates the first two: the antenna of the iPhone 4G is highly directional. In other words, it matters a LOT which way you point the phone. Sometimes even small changes around it can make a big difference in terms of whether you get data or not.

You can test this out (assuming you've got access to an iPhone 4G) by running a speed test application (there are plenty in the App Store) while holding / pointing the phone in different ways. I can trigger signal loss even without holding the phone. No bumper whatsoever is going to fix that problem and this is plain and simple bad antenna design. I lose a lot more data when streaming radio on the 4G than what the 3G did even though the bandwidth is (potentially) much higher.

Moon

LRO Photographs Soviet Lunar Landers From the '70s 24

braindrainbahrain writes "Photographs of the Sea of Crises on the Moon taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show the Soviet lunar landers Luna 20, Luna 23 and Luna 24, which landed on the Moon in the 1970s. In addition to the landers, it is possible to see the tracks made by the Lunokhod lunar rover! The Soviet Lunokhod lunar rover predates the first successful Mars Rover by some 30 years. (Note: Very cool old-style artists' drawings of the Soviet craft at the Wikipedia links above.)"
Image

College To Save Money By Switching Email Font 306

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has come up with an unusual way of saving money: changing their email font. The school expects to use 30% less ink by switching from Arial to Century Gothic. From the article: "Diane Blohowiak is the school's director of computing. She says the new font uses about 30 percent less ink than the previous one. That could add up to real savings, since the cost of printer ink works out to about $10,000 per gallon. Blohowiak says the decision is part of the school's five-year plan to go green. She tells Wisconsin Public Radio it's great that a change that's eco-friendly also saves money."

Comment Vaporware (Score 1) 186

What the guys at NeuroSky are describing is complete vaporware. I work with brain signal data myself and know quite a few people who do. Basically, at present there are two methods that kind of work:

You implant a bunch of electrodes into a person's brain. See Michael Black's work (Brown University) on analyzing this data. You get roughly 30 bit per minute out of this. With some training a bit more. This is done for people who are seriously disabled, i.e. quadruplegics where you implant the electrodes in the motor cortex (useless for people who cannot move their limbs).

An alternative is to use EEGs. They usually come with about 100 electrodes, take an hour to put on and require lots of conductive gel. For instance Klaus Muller's group (Fraunhofer Institute Berlin) does such work. They get up to 20 bit per minute data rates. And yes, you can play simple games (they've got a cool demo of a person playing pong using the electrodes).

The big caveat is that there's just absolutely no way you can put a few electrodes onto your brain and get the information out that the NeuroSky people are claiming. The entire stuff looks really fishy, when you check their homepage http://www.neurosky.com/. Pretty much no information on who does the work, what their technology is, etc.

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