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Submission + - Multiformat Listening Test at 64kbps

Anonymous writes: The Hydrogenaudio community is conducting a "Public, Multiformat Listening Test" ( to see which codecs (AAC, WMA Pro and Vorbis) provide the best sound quality when compressing samples at 64kbps.

This test is open until the 5th of August and seems to be much, much harder than what one would expect, even for experienced developers of sound codecs, at bitrates that the public would find "too little", as the comments on the thread at the discussion forums (see: topic=56397).

Do you think that you have good ears? That 64kbps is "too little"? Then try it for yourself and participate. Your participation will help us improve the codecs so that they are even closer to being "transparent" at such "low" bitrates.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Free Media Comedy by Ford Motor Company (

David Bausola writes: "Ford have funded the first Free Media comedy called Where are the Joneses? using the web as a platform. The scripts are written by the audience and 5minutes of video is published daily.

Using various Web services (Wordpress, Wikidot, Youtube, Yahoo!Pipes, Dapper, Twitter, Flickr) it's the first comedy built on RSS feeds. All media produced and submitted is under Creative Commons licence BY-SA 3.0. There are no commercial restrictions on reuse. Video downloads are via the Internet Archive (see link below)

The audience write the script ideas in the project wiki, the production team (BabyCow — owned by Steve 'Alan Partridge' Coogan) work through the ideas and add to the narrative arc.

The on the road team (yes — they really are in Europe filming and uploading video via 3G) are the 2 actors (Emma Fryer and Neil Edmound), the director Sam Lief, 1 Producer and 1 sound man. It's a small agile team pushing out over 40 minutes of comedy a week.

The project launch on June 15 and will run for it's first season for 3 months. At the end of this periods, the project will have 6 hours of broadcast quality comedy for the audience to play with. We're planning on showing the 6 hour epic in cinemas later this year.

The main narrative arc is: Dawn discovers that her real father is a sperm donor and armed with a list of 27 siblings she begins to hunt them down across Europe so that the whole family can be united. The first sibling she finds is Ian, and together they try to find their brothers and sisters.

The project is produced by Imagination for Ford as an experiment in marketing.

As Broadcasters and Publishers fret about piracy, Ford have become the first organisation to embrace Free Media, contributing to culture through audience participation.

— From a gift economy point of view, you contribute a joke and you get back a TV series.
— From a rights point of view, this is Freedom Defined free / Stallman free, although the rights of the actors and any trademarks will affect this as usual.
— This is the Free Culture project equivalent of IBM paying for a Free Software product that runs on their hardware, they lose no money on it because they'd have to pay for it anyway, it helps sales of their hardware, and they may even gain value from outside involvement.
— To relate this to existing models, it's a sitcom with a sponsor remade as Free Culture to take advantage of the realities of the Internet rather than trying to fight them.
— Product placement and sponsorship are standard, this isn't anywhere near as bad as the average Hollywood blockbuster or broadcast TV comedy, and there are no ad breaks.

Some links: —

Main URI:

Project wiki:

Technorati (for responses) .com


Internet Archive for video files: e%20the%20joneses

And the obvious Facebook channel:"

Operating Systems

Submission + - The Internet browser is the new OS

TheShadowzero writes: "CNN predicts that soon applications loaded from the internet through a web browser (as opposed to one saved on your hard drive) will render operating systems obsolete. Allegedly, the trend of using PDA phones to access email and the internet has shown that the access of portable office apps is what we want. Also stated is that PDA phones will soon replace laptops. From the article: "What this means is that you'll be able to write your documents in Writely (who needs Word?), e-mail them via Gmail (who needs Outlook?), and arrange appointments to jointly edit those documents via Google Calendar (again, who needs Outlook?). And while you're at it, a Google Talk chat window running inside these applications could let you collaborate (who needs AIM?).""
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Final Fantasy XII released today.

Zyd writes: To be honest, I'm too lazy to make a write-up of the game. You can find more than you'll ever want to know of the game here.

The last Final Fantasy (X) was released in 2001 (not counting X2 or XI). This is huge news! So far FFXII has got stellar reviews, and many gaming sites are considering it the best Final Fantasy since VII.

Submission + - Gmail Remote Command

An anonymous reader writes: From site: GRC is a software for the gmail users which allow to command their pc in remote way, sending only an email to your Gmail account (from whichever computer or hand phone).
Site: Gmail Remote Command

Submission + - Freedom fellows get proactive

Shane Coughlan writes: "The fellowship of Free Software Foundation Europe is going to have its first annual meeting during SFSCon in Italy on the 11th of November. This is going to be an opportunity for existing and new members of the fellowship to get together, share ideas and generally work out how to promote Free Software more effectively across Europe.

There will be workshops on the fellowship OpenPGP crypto-card, on the eZ Publish CMS system used for the fellowship site, and on the emerging fellowship advocacy project. Most of FSFE team will be around chat and to answer any questions people may have. There is also going to be a very special announcement regarding a new FSFE project.

The fellowship meeting will not be all work and no play. There will be a collective lunch and dinner to allow Free Software enthusiasts from all over Europe to relax over local food, beer and wine.

The meeting will take place in the town of Bolzano. You can learn more about the location here and you can sign up to the meeting here"
Book Reviews

Submission + - Core Python Programming - 2nd Edition

Ravi writes: "Python, the dynamic object oriented programming language created by Guido van Rossum is known to deliver both the power and general applicability of traditional compiled languages without the complexities accompanying them. Coupled with its ease of use, programs written in Python can be run on multiple Operating systems and system architectures which gives it the same portability of any interpreted language. My first brush with Python was when I tried out a beautiful game called PySol — which is more like a collection of over 200 card games and PySol is entirely coded using the Python language. Nowadays a variety of Python web frameworks have also cropped up which promise the same kind of rapid application development that is possible using other programming languages.

I found the book titled "Core Python Programming" authored by Wesley.J.Chun and published by Prentice Hall to be an ideal book to learn the wonderful Python language. This book is quite voluminous, with 23 chapters spanning 1050 pages. The book is divided into two parts the first part titled Core Python which contain 14 chapters which impart a sound understanding of the semantics of the language and the second part titled "Advanced Topics" which contain a collection of 9 chapters which give a good introduction to the specialized uses such as in database programming, network programming, using threads in python, GUI programming and so on.

In the first chapter of the book, the readers get to know the various features of Python and the steps needed to install Python on ones machine. When you install Python on your machine, it also provides its own shell where you can execute pieces of python code. The author has taken advantage of this functionality of Python in narrating the concepts throughout the book. Each concept and syntax is followed by bits of code which the readers can try out in the Python shell in its entity. I found this process much easier in learning this language as one need not go through the write — compile — execute cycle which is more prevalent in the traditional languages.

In depth coverage has been provided for important concepts such as lists, tuples and dictionaries as well as data-types and string sequences and they have been provided separate chapters of their own. The sixth chapter titled "Sequences: Strings, Lists and Tuples" is the second largest in the book and is quite detailed in its coverage of the topic.

Chapter 9 deals with file manipulations where the author introduces all the built in functions available in Python which allow one to open, read from and write to a file. Interestingly, the functions are also illustrated by aid of short easy to understand examples. A couple of modules related to file handling are also introduced in this chapter.

Errors and exceptions form the basis of the 10th chapter where different errors and exceptions supported in Python are explained. This chapter also explains how programmers can create custom exception classes which I found quite informative.

One of the biggest advantages of Python is that all its functionality is split up into modules. A module could be just a single python file which contain a collection of functions or classes which can be re-used in programs written in Python. And all one has to do is import the module into ones programs to start using those pieces of code. The chapter 12 titled Modules give a firm understanding of this concept and also introduces different ways in which you can import external pieces of code into the Python program.

Chapter 13 titled "Object Oriented Programming" is by far the largest chapter in this book and spans over 100 pages. In this chapter, the author endeavors to give a sound base to Object oriented concepts as well as how they relate to programming in Python. The author introduces a large number of Python classes, methods and descriptors in this chapter.

Regular expressions play a very important part in programming verily because manipulating text/data is a necessity. And it is possible to easily modify and mould data to ones choosing by way of regular expressions. Python has strong support for regular expressions. The second part titled "Advanced concepts" of the book starts with a chapter on regular expressions. In this chapter, one gets to know about the regular expression module and many functions associated with the module. The author also provides a couple of examples which give insights into the ways in which regular expressions can be used in Python to reformat data.

The next two chapters give an introduction to the world of sockets and how Python can be used to write client server programs.

Multithreaded programming forms the basis of the 18th chapter. Here the author introduces a couple of modules available in Python which make it quite easy to create threads in ones Python program.

I found the chapter titled "Web Programming" very interesting to read. Especially since Python is used in a large way to create dynamic websites. And the next chapter titled "Database programming" gives a sound introduction to the Python objects which allow one to easily connect to and retrieve data from the databases.

I found this book really informative, especially suited for upcoming Python programmers. At the end of each chapter, there is an exercise section which imparts a nice touch to this book as it allows you to test your knowledge. Even though the advanced topics (second part of the book) are not covered in depth, the author succeeds in providing enough knowledge about the relevant Python modules and functions followed by a couple of examples which whets ones appetite without overwhelming the reader. This is the second edition of the book and it has been significantly revamped to include new features introduced in Python 2.5.

The author Wesley J. Chun has been a former employee at Yahoo and has played a major role in creating Yahoo Mail and Yahoo People Search using Python. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT field with over a decade of experience programming in Python.

Ravi Kumar likes all things related to open source and free software and enjoys sharing his experiences and thoughts through his blog All about Linux."

Submission + - Voting machines banned by dutch minister

5heep writes: Dutch Government Renewal Minister Atzo Nicolai has banned the use of one type of computer voting machines in national elections next month. The turnabout came after a group called We Don't Trust Voting Computers protested the vulnerability of electronic voting to fraud or manipulation. The reason for this ban is the radio signals emitted by the machines which can be used to peek at a voters' choice from several dozen meters away.
User Journal

Submission + - British scientists grow human liver in a laborator

Krishna Dagli writes: British scientists at Newcastle University have grown the world's first artificial 'mini-liver' from stem cells. The 'mini-liver', currently the size of a one pence piece, will be developed to create a full-size functioning liver. This mini-liver can be used for testing new drugs and also reduce the number of animal experiments. But it will take another five years before artificial tissue could be used to repair livers damaged by injury, disease, alcohol abuse and paracetamol overdose. n_article_id=413551&in_page_id=1770
The Internet

Submission + - Smartgroups Silently Closing

Trickster writes: "Apparently, Smartgroups is closing its doors in one month: There's no link to this from their main page, nor has there been a formal announcement, but the word is beginning to spread. It's not clear from the website how many users or groups Smartgroups maintains, but many people will certainly be affected."

Submission + - Nerdcore Halloween HipHop Album

slack-fu writes: "Just in time for Halloween, a nerdcore halloween themed hiphop album released for free from Rhymetorrents. I have been listening to this albumn all day and there are some really good tracks here, including but not limited to: Teenage Vampire from Grandmaster Pink & Diabolik, Boss Fight from Zealous1, and Necronomicon Ex Robotis from Emergency Pizza Party. My only beef is that for a nerdcore release, WinRar is required to extract the album unless you get the "individual tracks torrent". Warning, some tracks contain explicit lyrics (about killing zombies!)."

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The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir