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Television

"Loud Commercial" Legislation Proposed In US Congress 636

Hackajar writes "Have you ever caught yourself running for the volume control when a TV commercial comes on? Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has, and is submitting legislation that would require TV commercials in the US to stay at volume levels similar to the programming they are associated with. From the article: 'Right now, the government doesn't have much say in the volume of TV ads. It's been getting complaints ever since televisions began proliferating in the 1950s. But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the "apparent loudness" of commercials.'"
Microsoft

Microsoft Leaks Details of 128-bit Windows 8 581

Barence writes "Microsoft is planning to make Windows 8 a 128-bit operating system, according to details leaked from the software giant's Research department. The discovery came to light after Microsoft Research employee Robert Morgan carelessly left details of his work on the social-networking site LinkedIn. His page read: 'Working in high-security department for research and development involving strategic planning for medium and long-term projects. Research & Development projects including 128-bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan. Forming relationships with major partners: Intel, AMD, HP and IBM.' It has since been removed."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Monty Python 40 Years Old Today! 298

cheros was one of several readers to note that today, Oct 5, in 1969 was the very first airing of Monty Python. Although not every sketch has aged particularly well, you'd be hard pressed to find a more influential and funny show. Heck, look at the Icon we use here to indicate humorous stories! Who among us can't claim to have viewed the Holy Grail at least somewhere in the double digits.
Google

Microsoft Holding 'Screw Google' Meetings In DC 331

Runaway1956 writes "Microsoft's chief Washington lobbyist has been convening regular meetings, attended by the company's outside consultants, that have become known by some beltway insiders as 'screw Google' meetings, DailyFinance has learned. The meetings are part of an ongoing campaign by Microsoft, other Google opponents, and hired third parties to discredit the Web search leader, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the matter. 'Microsoft is at the center of a group of companies who see Google as a threat to them in some combination of business and policy,' said a source who requested anonymity to avoid retribution. 'The effort is designed to make Google look like the big high-tech bad guy here.'"
Programming

Dirty Coding Tricks To Make a Deadline 683

Gamasutra is running an article with a collection of anecdotes from game developers who had to employ some quick and dirty fixes to get their products to ship on time. Here's a brief excerpt: "Back at [company X] — I think it was near the end of [the project] — we had an object in one of the levels that needed to be hidden. We didn't want to re-export the level and we did not use checksum names. So right smack in the middle of the engine code we had something like the following. The game shipped with this in: if( level == 10 && object == 56 ) {HideObject();} Maybe a year later, an artist using our engine came to us very frustrated about why an object in their level was not showing up after exporting to what resolved to level 10. I wonder why?" Have you ever needed to insert terrible code to make something work at the last minute?
The Courts

Writing Style Fingerprint Tool Easily Fooled 96

Urchin writes "Some of the techniques used by literary detectives and courts of law to identify the authorship of text are easily fooled, say US researchers. They found that non-professional writers could hide their identity from 'stylometric' techniques by writing in the style of novelist Cormac McCarthy. Stylometric methods have been used in a number of high-profile legal cases in recent decades, including the 'Unabomber' trial. 'We would strongly suggest that courts examine their methods of stylometry against the possibility of adversarial attacks,' say the researchers."
Transportation

Laser Ignition May Replace the Spark Plug 388

dusty writes "Laser Focus World has a story on researchers from Ford, GSI, and The University of Liverpool and their success in using near-infrared lasers instead of spark plugs in automobile engines. The laser pulses are delivered to the combustion chamber one of two ways. One, the laser energy is transmitted through free space and into an optical plug. Two, the other more challenging method uses fiber optics. Attempts so far to put the second method into play have met some challenges. The researchers are confident that the fiber-optic laser cables' technical challenges (such as a 20% parasitic loss, and vibration issues) will soon be overcome. Both delivery schemes drastically reduce harmful emissions and increase performance over the use of spark plugs. So the spark plug could soon join the fax machine in the pantheon of antiquated technologies that will never completely disappear. The news release from The University of Liverpool has pictures of the freakin' internal combustion lasers."
Cellphones

How Apple's App Review Is Sabotaging the iPhone 509

snydeq writes to recommend Peter Wayner's inside look at the frustration iPhone developers face from Apple when attempting to distribute their apps through the iPhone App Store. Wayner's long piece is an extended analogy comparing Apple to the worst of Soviet-era bureaucracy. "Determined simply to dump an HTML version of his book into UIWebView and offer two versions through the App Store, Wayner endures four months of inexplicable silences, mixed messages, and almost whimsical rejections from Apple — the kind of frustration and uncertainty Wayner believes is fast transforming Apple's regulated marketplace into a hotbed of bottom-feeding mediocrity. 'Developers are afraid to risk serious development time on the platform as long as anonymous gatekeepers are able to delay projects by weeks and months with some seemingly random flick of a finger,' Wayner writes of his experience. 'It's one thing to delay a homebrew project like mine, but it's another thing to shut down a team of developers burning real cash. Apple should be worried when real programmers shrug off the rejections by saying, "It's just a hobby."'"
Media

Up To 10% of CD-Rs Fail Within a Few Years 317

Whatever you think about the likelihood that a new kind of DVDs could last for 1,000 years, this note from reader crazyeyes should give you pause about expecting current CD-Rs to be reliably readable for decades. TechARP found a failure rate near 10% for CD-Rs recorded 7 to 9 years ago, after storage in ideal conditions. On some, one or more individual files could not be recovered; others were not reliably readable on two separate drives. "In the past, hard disk drives were small (in capacity) and costly. To make up for the lack of affordable storage, many turned to CD-Rs. As it became common to store backups and personal pictures, videos, etc. on CD-Rs, the lifespan of these discs became a concern. According to manufacturers, CD-Rs should last for decades. Some even quoted an upper limit of 120 years based on accelerated aging tests! That sure is a long time, isn't it? But will CD-Rs really last that long?"
Graphics

What's the Importance of Graphics In Video Games? 506

An anonymous reader writes "I develop games as a hobby. I've experimented with games on almost every platform available. For me, the gameplay is the most influential factor of a game, with history and graphics dividing second place. But, for some reason, it's not the technical beauty of the graphics that appeal to me. I have played Crysis, and I've played Pokémon games. The graphics of the Pokémon games entertain me as much as the graphics of Crysis. I think both are beautiful. So, why is the current generation of games giving so much importance to the realism in graphic games? I think it is sufficient for a game to have objects that are recognizable. For example, while the water in some games may not look as good as in Crysis, I can still tell it's water. What are your opinions on the current direction of game graphics? Do you prefer easy-to-render 3D scenes that leave space for beautiful effects, like with Radiosity, or more complex 3D scenes that try to be realistic?"
Nintendo

New Super Mario Bros. Wii To Include Official "Cheat" 275

phlack writes "Yahoo Games has an article describing a new mode in Nintendo's upcoming New Super Mario Bros. Wii that will allow the player to activate a 'demo' mode to get out of a hard situation. Nintendo plans on incorporating this into future games. Is this a good idea (to help relieve frustrations) or just sanctioned cheating?" They actually patented this system as well.

Comment Re:NTFS burns up drives more quickly! (Score 1) 198

Accesses don't wear flash significantly compared to writes. Heavily read pages of NAND flash do need to be rewritten occasionally, but I can't imagine this alone would ever cause a device to reach its wear limit in normal use. NTFS does write more than FAT32, so you're still correct that FAT is better for reducing wear. FAT's fault tolerance is notoriously bad though.... would you rather lose your data or have to replace a $20 usb stick (which will probably be $2 by the time you wear it out)

Comment Re:Choose NTFS for the life of your drive (Score 3, Informative) 198

Flash drives have a flash translation layer that makes the flash look like a regular disk despite having special properties. This layer handles the wear-leveling, garbage collection, and bad block detection so the standard filesystem (that was designed for magnetic disks, probably) doesn't have to consider them. Regardless of the filesystem used, the wear of the device should be related to the total amount of data written, not the location of the data.

The Internet

Facebook Exposes Advertisers To Hate Speech 806

NewsCloud writes "Does Facebook believe that no publicity is bad publicity? Why else would they leave a group called, "F**k Islam" open since July 21, 2007 despite more than 53,482 members joining an opposing group called petition: if "f**k Islam" is not shut down..we r quitting facebook group? Furthermore, advertisers such as Sprint, Verizon, T Mobile, Target, and Qwest wouldn't be too happy to learn that they are paying for ads on the 'F**k Islam' group pages. Shouldn't a startup like Facebook, reportedly worth more than a billion dollars and with over a hundred employees, be expected to enforce its own Terms of Use in less than six weeks?"

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