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Submission + - McDonalds hires Project Ara design team to reinvent the drinking straw (

An anonymous reader writes: McDonalds hired the creators of Google's Project Ara to reinvent the drinking straw. Their new invention, the "Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Widthdrawral" (STRAW for short) is a J-shaped device that allows the user to drink both layers of the company's dual-layer Chocolate Shamrock shake simultaneously, receiving an optimal mixture of chocolate and, um, shamrock. McDonalds announced the new product at a Facebook live event yesterday, including a keynote by McDonalds Senior Director of Menu Innovation Darci Forrest, and a silicon-valley style panel moderated by Austin Evans, including interviews with engineers from NK Labs and JACE. Computational fluid dynamics simulations, 3D printing, and extensive real-world testing (drinking shakes) were required to get the design ready for its eventual unveiling. McDonalds is producing a limited first run of 2000 of the straws, for distribution at restaurants across the US. Video Link,">Fast Company Hands-On Review,
Engadget Review

Submission + - Samsung Battery Manufacturer's Warehouse Catches Fire (

retroworks writes: Reuters News reports that Samsung's SDI facility in Wuqing, Tianjin, China — the takeback facility responsible for recycling, among other things, the recalled Samsung Note 7 smartphones — has itself burst into flames. Nineteen fire trucks and 110 firefighters reportedly showed up to put out the blaze. The fire burst out in the area dedicated to managing scrap batteries and phones.

The same SDI subcontractor is set to start supplying lithium batteries for Samsung's upcoming flagship smartphone Galaxy S8 in the first quarter of this year. The S8 replaces the Galaxy Note 7 mode, which suffered a global recall last year due to battery defects. Electronics recycling factories are generally suffering increasing incidents of fire, as lithium batteries become exposed to oxygen during the recycling process.

Comment Re:"half a billion people around the world"?! (Score 2) 130

Webkit can probably count all the mobile users who use the default browser as part of its user count. Similarly, maybe Firefox is the browser being used on ATM screens on mall info terminals, that would add a lot of 'users' who are actually clueless as to which browser is underlying their UX.

Comment Re:Scratch patterns too will show the path (Score 1) 147

The biggest issue that is the terminal and inputs are both visible to the public. Maybe future ATMs can just have a VR headset that will only display the screen to the user, and have a virtual keyboard or other randomized unlock mechanism. One problem is making a non-contact headset as it has to be used by multiple people, and dealing with lice issues etc.

Comment How many crashes due to insulation? (Score 2) 161

So, the article claims that 'number of crashes due to muted sirens (because of sound insulation) is on the rise'. That's a claim with no numbers behind it, what is this increase in accidents per year - 10? or 10,000? In the latter case, I can see a justification for this research with the (unfortunately not too safe) assumption that people do use their radios often. However it just as likely to be the first case of trivial increase, which might as well be due to higher traffic!, but is used to justify an expensive study for some PhDs.

Comment Can lead to economic crisis (Score 1) 173

If these realistic robots come in the market, they are going to be expensive and thus end up reducing reproduction for the segment of population that can actually afford children ... leaving the poorer have-nots to expand to a greater percentage of the population and need more social support. Since most countries are democracies (i.e., majority wins) - this will end up with people voting for state support to have the 'right' to own/rent such robots for cheap :)

Comment Didn't correlate with education? (Score 3, Interesting) 249

> the researchers carried out robustness tests with various variables including the strength of IP enforcement, political factors, and economic development.

So they did take into account some factors like economic development, which makes this more interesting. However, why not analyze w.r.t. to the education levels of the area as well, since that would also affect the region's 'collective IQ' and probably indicate how many people are too poor to afford education, not to mention buying software. I searched the paper and 'education' as a search term only appeared twice, both times in references (so, its never mentioned in the actual text).

The researchers probably didn't consider the prevailing views of property rights or agreement with international treaties either. In some countries, its just more culturally acceptable to share software which makes it easier to average people to do so without feeling guilty. Other countries might have low income groups that are forced to buy licenses because their leadership got some incentives for IP treaties and are eager to show their enforcement to attract more FDI. Also, often countries with limited software exposure don't even know about good alternatives so its basically, either pirate or buy what everyone else uses.

Comment Can Govt ids be used by 3rd parties now? (Score 1) 367

The idea of having a mandatory requirement of using online ids and removing anonymity from the Internet isn't too bright, and also opens up a gigantic single point of failure with the government login / authentication systems.

However, I'm more interested in whether any government at all allows third parties to use their ids for third party authentication, maybe something like having an OpenId server support like how Google, Facebook etc. logins can be used as the primary login on some other sites. This would potentially allow for someone who cares about 'fake reviews' so much, to allow people to authenticate using their presumably properly vetted govt id. Then, it would be up to that individual site to choose whether it should also allow other account types, whether using free email or their own site based solution etc. This makes it feasible to mark reviews that are from 'trusted sources' (trust as in, person has a verifiable identity and he can't just discard it for a new one easily) while allowing other reviews or even disabling that if desired.

I could see this as being actually very useful for certain scenarios, specifically thinking of the constant and currently-insoluble problem of trolls in online games. Say that Blizzard as a new MMO with Server A only allowing logins using trusted credentials. A user with govt id makes an account, chooses a nickname and starts playing as usual. But if he is banned for cheating or trolling, he can't just make a new account, as governments don't exactly let you have a different DL # or passport # without a really good reason. Those who don't want to or are unable to use a trusted id, would instead get to play on Server B which would not be used for official tournaments etc.

This kind of approach would see governments leverage their existing identity verification as a supporting mechanism to enable opt-in usage by commercial entities. Which also means that it will only be used when it makes sense and not just a new mechanism to track everyone's actions online. Sure, if decides that fake reviews are a grave issue and only verified users can post them, that's fine - people can still leave anonymous comments elsewhere, and others will use whichever has more useful information. Certainly, besides the 'fake' comments there may be honest commenters who simply don't want to get sued for strong language or w/e.

So, back to my question - are there OpenId or similar authentication endpoints that EU or any of its member states make available currently?

Comment Re:stop them ! (Score 3) 244

Copyright is completely insane anyway, and this has desensitized many people from breaking it at will when they can. We no longer have sane terms like 14 years after first publication (which iirc was the original term in US before all the extensions to make it a multi-generational cash cow). If that was still the case, then piracy would perhaps have not taken off in such a big way in the first place, because the public would be more supportive of creators getting reimbursed for their content.

However, with the current BS terms, it is 'illegal' to watch ancient movies or cartoons (hello Disney!) or listen to decades-old songs (Sonny Bono act) without paying for the privilege. Even most individual countries cannot set terms as they wish thanks to the Berne convention which imposes a *minimum* of 50 years. So, the public starts to pirate due to this perceived unfairness; which is their only response since the politicians are bought & paid for by the entertainment industry.

As for 'ripping off GoT episodes', those are fairly recent and shouldn't be as justified - but the problem is that when everyone is accustomed to piracy due to eternal copyrights; then people no longer distinguish carefully about newer or older works.

Comment Apples vs Oranges (Score 2) 56

How is it fair to compare advertising to selling physical goods, considering that it is so much easier to plug in an ad api for any developer who thinks he could make a few bucks off his hobbyist app?

I'm not at all surprised that a far lower percentage of the ad-supported devs make good money, a vast majority are probably those who saw some niche need and created a small app, maybe for themselves - then added in some advertising to get an easily acquired income stream. By contrast, those who actually have warehouses or tie-ups with stores to sell physical products have put in far more effort in creating their product, and probably would not do so without the expectation of a good RoI.

The article also talks of how IoT isn't very lucrative, not too surprising since its not even standardized across vendors (afaik) and needs more public awareness.

Comment Re:Only half an hour (Score 1) 236

The current assclown isn't going to change jack and/or squat.

He's going to die, just like everyone else before him has. Even if you don't pay taxes, death will get you.

Just looked up the glorious leader's birthday, Google says its Jan 8, 1983.

Instead of a mundane half hour offset to set NK tz to UTC+8:30, he could always be creative and set it to say UTC+8:31.8 (83/1/8) and have a reminder of his august (but in Jan) birthday for everyone that has to deal with NK time zones :-) If not Jong-Un himself, his auspicious birthday digits could lead forever!

Comment Re:Microsoft (Score 2) 200

Elop announced a shuttering of all existing platforms used (Meego, Maemo, Symbian) and talked about switching to an unused & untried platform instead (Windows Phone) - I'm surprised that people can actually think he's incompetent; to me just reading about that speech was very convincing evidence that he was a brilliant Microsoft operative.

There was iirc some talk in the articles at the time, of how Nokia & Microsoft had some common shareholders who wanted to use Nokia to prop up the MS share prices after Windows Phone had a bad initial reception. I can completely believe this theory, maybe they didn't plan to pump & dump but genuinely thought that riding on trusted Nokia's reputation would rescue WinPhone from irrelevance. Whatever the reason, they picked Elop as CEO and either lost their shirts over the next couple of years, or more likely just cashed out before the trainwreck became too obvious to investors.

Comment Killed by stupid policies not just Symbian (Score 1) 200

Nokia was steadily losing market share due to not having any Android phones, nor a good competitor for iPhone. Their latest Maemo devices had good reviews, but were limited to high-end phones only and also were never offered for subsidized contract prices in the US (afaik).

There were many better options for them to take, like having a good upgrade path for Symbian devs to create Maemo apps and not treating smartphones as a premium-only product that should not be sold in cheaper variants. They should also have been able to strike deals with US carriers for cheap smartphones that were free after 2 year contract - the Nokia at the time was still a well respected phone giant with great industry connections.

Instead, their shareholders allowed people on the board with little interest in the company's future and more focus on getting short term gains for their portfolios. They got Elop as CEO, and the infamous 'burning bridges' speech killed off Symbian & Meego/Maemo in a single day ... with no replacement coming for around a year! I'm amazed that a majority of shareholders were clueless enough to keep him around after that speech, it was clearly obvious that he'd just declared *all* of their then-current product lines as obsolete.

Right before Elop came onboard, Nokia had bought Navteq which gave them a chance to leapfrog Google Maps by offering a similarly comprehensive navigation app which also worked offline (at the time, GMaps didn't). Low cost smartphones running Maemo with Nokia Maps (now called Here) would have been an easy sell to people fond of Nokia hardware & reliability who wanted to dispose of their quickly-outdated standalone GPS devices.

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