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Dad Delivers Baby Using Wiki 249

sonamchauhan writes "A Londoner helped his wife deliver their baby by Googling 'how to deliver a baby' on his mobile phone. From the article: 'Today proud Mr Smith said: "The midwife had checked Emma earlier in the day but contractions started up again at about 8pm so we called the midwife to come back. But then everything happened so quickly I realized Emma was going to give birth. I wasn't sure what I was going to do so I just looked up the instructions on the internet using my BlackBerry."'"
Emulation (Games)

Nintendo Upset Over Nokia Game Emulation Video 189

An anonymous reader writes "Nintendo is investigating potential copyright infringement by Nokia during some video demos of their N900 phone, which can be seen emulating Nintendo games. Nintendo spokesman Robert Saunders says: 'We take rigorous steps to protect our IP and our legal team will examine this to determine if any infringement has taken place.' In the video, Nokia says, 'Most publishers allow individual title usage, provided that the user is in possession of the original title.'"

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Comment Re:Depressing, but not uncommon (Score 1) 1251

Interestingly, this plays into the previous argument that sucking up the otherwise unemployed into menial, subsidized jobs is moderately preferable to just having them on welfare or committing crimes.

In reality, it's all very complex these days because implementing a balanced economic-social-contract requires inordinately enlightened voters.

Comment Re:And Now, The Vocational Gudance Counselor Sketc (Score 1) 1251

Have you considered that "having a well-rounded liberal arts education" is critical to employability? It is. If you can cogently discuss the Byzantine Empire, perhaps do Calculus, deliberate the nature of political systems, and can craft a decent metaphor, it says something about your adaptability. That's what employers want, and it's why they considered a real education to be a marker for career-material. While the "customer" sees university as a gateway to employment, they apparently fail to realize why it ever was a gateway.

This fact is lost on people like Ms. Thompson. It is apparently lost on you as well. I'm sorry that you feel that employers are demanding that you have evidenced an ability to adapt functionally to a wide array of subjects. I'm sorry that you don't like that they are more concerned with their studying their subjects than justifying why you want to pay to take a class. Bottom line, you want to pay because your employer wants you to learn something there. If you don't like that, don't get a job. If you want to understand why, ask the employers.

This reminds me of the demotivational poster for Consultants. It states "If you're not part of the solution, there's good money to be made prolonging the problem." The watering down of education is precisely a matter of extracting value from the reputation of the institution. It's literally about capitalizing on the fact that you don't understand why universities are valuable, and it similarly capitalizes on the fact that you don't want to. Yeah consumer! Go ahead, shoot yourself in the foot. It's what Ms. Thompson did.

When universities become trade schools, it's no wonder that you have less chance of getting a job with that degree. Laud the productizing of education as being "what the customer wants". This article clearly shows that this particular segment is only good for taking their money and hopefully redirecting it into something useful. Something that actually generates some educated citizens. Something reinforces the benefits that they provide to our economy. Something that preserves and advances the knowledge of mankind. You know, a *university*.

I just hope that the people in charge of universities don't forget that's what they're doing.

Comment Re: (Score 1) 280

Note that certs can and are used for things other than SSL on DNS names. In fact, the field used for the domain name is "Common Name". The CN field is used for a dozen things depending on what the cert is used for.

We should probably blame Netscape and everyone else who pushed using X.509 unchanged instead of trivially adding a field that required a valid DNS name.

This is a mismatch between the X.509 standard and how browsers use it. Most interesting is that the browsers have the information to correctly parse it, whereas the CAs don't have the information to do so, unless they are only issuing certs for SSL. As someone who would like to see widely usable PKI outside of the web-browser, I'd really rather fix the browsers than break the certs.

Comment Have you stopped beating your wife? (Score 2, Insightful) 461

Microsoft is a marketing company more than a software company. This is a deft stroke of shaping opinion. Why?

Because the tacit assumption is that Open Sourcers focus on price, not value. They want to provoke the predictable "Microsoft software is too expensive" response. It lets them cast Open Sourcers as not being able to bridge the gap between technology and product.

Technology does something specific. A product solves a problem. All that this line of commentary does is to underscore Microsoft's message that Open Source isn't ready for business. Railing about expense without attacking the core problem of value only plays into Microsoft's hand.

What's more tragic is that they may be right. There are precious few Open Source technologies that are developed and focused to the point of being a product.

Comment Industrial Development (Score 1) 1127

I did a control system for a covered skid that contained three natural gas compressors. They had to pump it up to 3600 psi (245 atmospheres). It was for fueling vehicles. The pressure had to be that high so that the tank would equalize to a reasonable pressure / gas content in under 10 minutes.

It was 40 degrees F in the winter and 95 degrees F in the summer. Took about 6 months so I got to feel both. It also reeked of natural gas, was greasy, oily, etc. There were metal shavings and fumes from all of the machining and welding.

I also worked a similar gig off and on for about two years involving a circuit-board drilling operation. Imagine walking through a factory floor with acid baths and various machinery to work on scoring machines and massive computer-controlled drills. The drills were pretty serious (60krpm) and they each had a 1.5 ton block of granite just to dampen vibration. To this day, it's the only computerized machine I've worked on that required a pneumatic hook-up.

Here's a photo of the drills from the internet:

Comment Re:Kill the GIL! (Score 1) 234

Look at the multiprocessing module.

Not only does it implement processes in a way that is quite similar to the existing threading implementation, but it provides a ton of synchronization / locking primitives that work seamlessly across processes. This includes the ability to utilize shared memory. It's crazy that this module doesn't get more press, because there's nothing quite as easy in most other languages.

Comment Re:Cartesian products are GONE!!! YAYYYYY...... (Score 1) 267

Actually, cartesian products and joins aren't gone. It turns out that they just end up being done client side.

It's the tragedy of "join-less" databases. Joins do something that you need. The lack of joins forces people to correctly normalize, which ironically they should have been doing anyway. It doesn't take away any genuine need to join though. :(

Comment Re:Laziness Rules (Score 3, Interesting) 267

In the end, the problem is that people just want a "default tool". They don't want to think about their requirements for data consistency. The really scary bit is that while RDBMses are the "default tool" of yesterday and slacker DBs are the "default tool" of tomorrow, neither of them are really the "problem".

The "default tool" attitude IS the problem. Unless you carefully weigh your data consistency requirements, you shouldn't be making that call at all.

I welcome the slackers and all of their new options along the spectrum of speed versus consistency. It's just that most of the people developing applications scare the shit out of me. They're so cavalier (or should I say, "agile", or maybe "pragmatic") about requirements that it's truly disturbing.

That said, if you're really interested in all of the options, I also recommend checking out memcachedb, memcacheq, and redis.

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