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Input Devices

Is the Line-in Jack On the Verge of Extinction? 411

SlashD0tter writes "Many older sound cards were shipped with line-out, microphone-in, and a line-in jacks. For years I've used such a line-in jack on an old Windows 2000 dinosaur desktop that I bought in 2000 (600 Mhz PIII) to capture the stereo audio signal from an old Technics receiver. I've used this arrangement to recover the audio from a slew of old vinyl LPs and even a few cassettes using some simple audio manipulating software from a small shop in Australia. I've noticed only recently, unfortunately, that all of the four laptops I've bought since then have omitted a line-in jack, forcing me to continue keeping this old desktop on life support. I've looked around for USB sound cards that include a line-in jack, but I haven't been too impressed by the selection. Is the line-in jack doomed to extinction, possibly due to lobbying from vested interests, or are there better thinking-outside-the-box alternatives available?"

Comment Re:Successful???? (Score 2, Informative) 479

Exactly. I don't think there's a single wind-power installation anywhere in the world that is anywhere close to truly self-supporting. They are a great idea but just don't cut it commercially.

Even the Danes - major investors in (and sellers of) the technology haven't been able to make it pay - except by exporting the technology to other countries. That's why they've tried hushing the economic reports about their w-farms; they don't want to scare away customers with the facts.

That's a pity: I always liked the idea of windfarms.

Idle

Directed Energy Weapon Downs Mosquitos 428

wisebabo writes "Nathan Myhrvol demonstrated at TED a laser, built from parts scrounged from eBay, capable of shooting down not one but 50 to 100 mosquitos a second. The system is 'so precise that it can specify the species, and even the gender, of the mosquito being targeted.' Currently, for the sake of efficiency, it leaves the males alone because only females are bloodsuckers. Best of all the system could cost as little as $50. Maybe that's too expensive for use in preventing malaria in Africa but I'd buy one in a second!" We ran a story about this last year. It looks like the company has added a bit more polish, and burning mosquito footage to their marketing.
Handhelds

IdeaPad U1, What We Wanted the iPad To Be 401

Xanator writes "With the announcement of the iPad, the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid appears to have gone unnoticed, but maybe we ought to pay it more attention. It's a netbook with a removable screen that turns it into a tablet (switching OS from Windows 7 to a tablet OS within 3 seconds), and it appears to offer what many of us wanted from the iPad. Quoting Engadget: 'When docked, the U1 looks and feels like any other laptop, with an Intel CULV processor and a 128GB SSD running Windows 7 Home Premium. You actually wouldn't know there's a slate hiding in there — until you pull it out and watch it switch to Lenovo's Skylight UI, a process that was smooth and quick for us. Lenovo says the goal is for the full switch to occur in under 3 seconds.'"
Communications

Submission + - GapMinder (Human Development statistics for All)

Alex Unger writes: "Gapminder emerges as a way for everyday internet users to view statistics about the health and progress of our planet. Now the data published in the UN report on Human Development can be viewed graphically and easily by everyone in the world not just those willing to spend endless hour analyzing data.
Visit http://tools.google.com/gapminder and http://gapminder.org/ to see all of Gapminder's work.

From Article at techweb.com: http://www.techweb.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID =196602724
'The 2006 report (hdr.undp.org) focuses on the (un)availability of clean water and basic sanitation services worldwide. The New York Times coverage states, "A third of people have no decent place to use the bathroom, and the human cost is great." The annual development reports offer a careful problem presentation in narrative form. UNDP uses charts and graphics effectively and accessibly to complement and enhance the text. But it's a series of accompanying Flash presentations created by Swedish nonprofit Gapminder that really catch your eye.
Visit gapminder.org and view some of the 2005 Human Development Trends presentations. Animations graphically depict change over time using helpful explanatory text. They cleverly use color and symbol shape in addition to two spatial axes to present a total of five data dimensions in the chart. As a user, you control presentation pace and can raise annotations that describe data points. But you're never left to your own devices. The presentation brings you forward and doesn't let you drown in a sea of complicated data.'"
Java

Submission + - A Pop-up Window That Doesn't Suck

Dolores Parker writes: "Want to add a couple of cool features to your Web site without delving into the world of Web programing? In this case, you might want to give GreyBox a try. It's a tiny (only 22KB) JavaScript-based tool, released under the LGPL, that allows you to add page-in-a-page and gallery features using just a few easy-to-understand lines of code (check GreyBox' Web site for some examples). Read more at Newsforge.com"
United States

Submission + - 26 Internet policy tips for the new Congress

Rigabov writes: "In the coming months, the 110th Congress will be faced with decisions on issues ranging from surveillance, to online censorship, to consumer privacy that will have a lasting impact on the Internet. The Center for democracy and technology has 26 suggestion to help the Congress face those tough policy challenges. Here are the recommendations are at a glance, and here you may read the full report.

Examples include:
  • Congress Should Not Prevent Minors from Using Blogs and Social Networking Sites
  • Congress Should Enact Strong Data Breach Legislation
  • Congress Should Establish Strong Privacy Protections for Information Sharing for Counter-terrorism Purposes
  • Congress Should Monitor Developments in the Broadband Market
  • Congress Should Adopt Electronic Filing of Campaign Finance Reports
"
Sony

Submission + - Blue Ray beaten by...Print Screen

An anonymous reader writes: German mag C't has discovered you can record protected high-def flicks in full resolution via automating the print screen function of the provided Intervideo WinDVD software. Both Sony's Vaio and Toshiba's Qosmio laptops with Blu-ray and HD DVD drives respectively come bundled with the software, and are vulnerable to the hack. Quite simply, it can be used to capture the movies frame-by-frame, and then reassembled to create the entire movie. Not the most elegant solution, but they claim it works. http://www.engadgethd.com/2006/07/07/blu-ray-and-h d-dvd-copy-protection-defeated-by-print-screen/
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Bizarre Fixes for Bizzare Problems

tezbobobo writes: I recently have been trying to access a damaged 2.5" harddrive when I came across a suggestion to freeze it and use a cavity. It worked like a charm. More bizarrely I came across this fix for a broken ibook recently and was wondering what else is out there. You know, strange solutions to strange problems.
Biotech

Submission + - Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise

waterford0069 writes: "Researchers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada have developed a post exposure vaccine against Ebola which is at least 50% effective in animal models. While there are other treatments for Ebola such as coagulation inhibitors (33% effective) and antisense drugs (75% effective), it is hoped that this post exposure vaccine can help to treat Ebola in the same manner as rabies and smallpox are treated in humans."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Barnes and Noble Refuses to Refund Lost Package

Flavio Ribeiro writes: "On September 2006 I ordered $300 worth of books from Barnes & Noble. I've been ordering books online regularly for about 10 years, but this was my first order from B&N. I'm a grad student on a budget, so I payed for the cheapest shipping. Since I'm overseas and I've had packages take almost 3 months to arrive, I waited diligently. When nothing arrived, I e-mailed B&N. This is the response I got:
The package has not been returned to our warehouse as undeliverable to the shipping address you provided. (...) When no delivery confirmation is available, we will refund a lost package up to sixty (60) days after the expected delivery date. As it is now beyond sixty days, kindly contact your credit card issuer to dispute the charge.
My second attempt to contact B&N was answered with the same pre-written message, which I find quite insulting. My credit card issuer (Credicard Citi) refuses to dispute the charge, as is their policy with all charges. The fact I payed with Paypal also complicates matters. Additionally, Paypal automatically deferred and closed the claim I filed with them. The way I see this, B&N failed to deliver the purchased items, and refuses to take any action. They set an arbitrary short deadline that exempts them from further responsibility, which lets them bully international customers. This practice would never work out if B&N were a local company, since I'd be able to file claims at the local equivalent of the BBB.

I need your advice. What can I do to get a refund?"

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