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Comment 0.189Hz is (surprisingly) not an typo (Score 3, Interesting) 173

I actually thought the claimed frequency was a typo in the article. But in the interview, Mr. Storm says he can sing 8 octaves below the lowest note on a piano. If you work backwords and double 0.189Hz eight times (for each octave), you get 48Hz, making his lowest [claimed] note 8 octaves below the lowest G on a piano.

As for whether this qualifies as singing, I would argue that to be considered real singing he should be using the same vocal cords and musculature required to produce human-audible sounds. I.e. he should be able to produce a continuous sound that starts at a normal note and drops down to the claimed note, without any fundamental change in the way in which he's producing the sound. My $.02.

Comment Re:a.k.a. "Cops No Longer Looking At License Plate (Score 1) 400

These systems are going to be optimized for detecting license-platey text, and only if such text is found, doing anything further to look for violations of any sort. Asking them to know when they're looking at something that's supposed to have a license plate on it but doesn't is completely different problem. It's a completely different class of problem, one that hasn't been solved yet.

So, no, these systems won't flag when they're looking at something that doesn't have a recognizable license plate on it, like a trash can, a person, a dog... or a car with a plate that's been removed or covered in some way so it doesn't look like a plate any more.

Comment a.k.a. "Cops No Longer Looking At License Plates" (Score 5, Informative) 400

The Law of Unintended Consequences will probably come into play here. As camera systems - especially ones mounted on cop cars - get better at reading license plates, law enforcement officers will probably come to rely on them more. I.e. they'll pay less attention to your plates. So one conclusion that might be draw from this is that if you hide/obfuscate your plates, you're more likely to get away with it.

/me grabs a handful of mud and slings it at his plates to hide the expired registration tags.


Seller of Counterfeit Video Games Gets 30 Months 165

wiredmikey writes "The FBI reported this week that Qiang 'Michael' Bi, of Powell, Ohio was sentenced to 30 months in prison for selling more than 35,000 illegally copied computer games over the Internet between 2005 and 2009. According to a statement of facts read during Bi's plea hearing, agents executed a search warrant at Bi's house and found multiple CD duplicators and more than 1,000 printed counterfeit CDs. Some of the CDs were still in the duplicator. During their investigation, agents learned that Bi would buy a single copy of a game, illegally duplicate it and sell the copies on and He also set up a website for customers to download the games they bought. Bi accepted payment through eBay and PayPal accounts in his name and in others' names."

Comment A better patent process? (Score 1) 278

I'm just stunned that the PTO's goal is to get a "first action" notice time down to within 10 months? WTF? Why isn't that goal "24 hours"?

There is clearly something fundamentally broken with the process. And that "something" is all the work required to gain patent status. What is needed is a process that doesn't require all this back-and-forth to get a patent but, rather, defers that work until there is a clear and obvious need for it to be done.

Instead of patenting ideas, why not just "register" them by filing a form that says, "So-and-so claims to have invented this-and-that on such-and-such date." This would reserve the right to pursue legal action against an infringer at some later date, but no further action is required or taken by the PTO. For example ...

- It's up to you to educate yourself on which patent ideas are defensable in a court room.
- PTO charges $100 to register your "idea". The fee is just to avoid massive spamming. You're notified immediately that it's been accepted.
- Once registered, your idea is protected for 14-20 years from the date of filing, just like today.
- If and when you ever choose to enforce your patent through legal means, you pay a "substantial" fee ($1,000? $10K? $100K?) to have the PTO provide a patent "determination". The determination pays for the PTO to evaluate the validity of your idea and provide a summary recommendation to the court as to how to proceed. In effect, the PTO acts as a "professional witness" in legal patent battles, and nothing more.
- Judgement of actual patent validity is made in the courtroom (where it's already made, in practice).

This process ...
- makes the patent system more approachable to your average lay-person.
- eliminates 99% of the workload that's currently burying the PTO
- lets the PTO focus on what they do best - analyzing patent quality - where and when those efforts are genuinly needed
- cuts the PTO action time from years down to essentially zero
- eliminates much of the abuse of patents (patent "registrations" are basically meaningless until you get into a court room).

I'm sure there are plenty of reasons for why we don't operate this way though, right? So what are they?

My $.02 worth.

Comment Is BoingBoing's use "Commercial"? (Score 3, Interesting) 437

From section 4b of the Non-Commercial CC license:

You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation. The exchange of the Work for other copyrighted works by means of digital file-sharing or otherwise shall not be considered to be intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation, provided there is no payment of any monetary compensation in connection with the exchange of copyrighted works.

It's up for debate as to whether or not BoingBoing is receiving "monetary compensation" for "exchanging" your work. Yes, it's next to ads, which they're being paid to display. But they're not being paid to display your image. At least, not directly.

PC Games (Games)

Valve Releases Updated Alien Swarm For Free With Code Base 164

baronvoncarson tips news that today Valve released an updated version of Alien Swarm, a popular Unreal Tournament 2004 total conversion mod. The creators of the mod were hired by Valve, and they've helped turn it into a stand-alone game running on the Source engine. Valve is also releasing the code base for Alien Swarm and an SDK. The game is available for free on Steam.
Classic Games (Games)

New Oddworld Games In Development 36

Game developer Just Add Water announced today that the Oddworld series, dormant since 2005, will be getting multiple new titles in the near future. Quoting: "... for the past 12 months we have been working extremely closely with the fantastic people at Oddworld Inhabitants, from what started off as brief discussions in June 2009, to now working on multiple projects, across multiple platforms. Whilst we cannot go into specifics right now, we can tell you that over the coming weeks and months we will be announcing these exciting projects starring all of your favorite Oddworld characters."
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 And The Band Played On (Score -1, Offtopic) 151

Microsoft said in an emailed statement that Google's acquisition of DocVerse acknowledges that customers want to use and collaborate with Office documents. "Furthermore, it reinforces that customers are embracing Microsoft's long-stated strategy of software plus services, which combines rich client software with cloud services."

Anyone else hearing the Titanic's dance band playing in the background?

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