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When You Really, Really Want to Upgrade a Tiny Notebook 104

Benz145 writes "The famous Sony VAIO UX UMPC may have been cancelled a few years back by Sony, but the community at Micro PC Talk won't let it die. Modder Anh has carefully removed the relatively slow 1.33Ghz Core Solo CPU and installed a much faster Intel Core 2 Duo U7700 (a process which involves reballing the entire CPU). On top of this, he managed to install an incredibly small 4-port USB hub into the unit which allowed for the further instillation of a Huawei E172 modem for 3G data/voice/SMS, a GPS receiver, and a Pinnacle HD TV receiver. All of this was done without modifying the device's tiny external case. Great high-res pictures of the motherboard with the modded hardware can be seen through the link."

Comment Re:Communicate first? (Score 1) 662

I don't have the math handy but I've worked it out before -- when various groups send 'messages' into space from earth --- there's no realistic expectation another species will be able to receive it...we have trouble receiving massive, massive, EM sources that are millions of gigawatts at that range. We typically only do these' transmissions at thousands of watts at most.. They just hope that the alien species has some kind of super advanced receiving method....but most likely to receive a transmission from earth at that range would require a collection area like a parabolic dish the size of a planet. So even communication is unlikely.
Hardware Hacking

Grad Student Invents Cheap Laser Cutter 137

An anonymous reader writes "Peter Jansen, a PhD student and member of the RepRap community, has constructed a working prototype of an inexpensive table-top laser cutter built out of old CD/DVD drives as an offshoot of his efforts to design an under $200 open-source Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printer. Where traditional laser cutters use powerful, fixed-focus beams, this new technique dynamically adjusts the focal point of the laser using a reciprocating motion similar to a reciprocating saw, allowing a far less powerful and inexpensive laser diode to be used. The technique is currently limited to cutting black materials to a depth of only a few millimeters, but should still be useful and enabling for Makers and other crafters. The end-goal is to create a hybrid inexpensive 3D printer that can be easily reconfigured for 2D laser cutting, providing powerful making tools to the desktop."

First Halophile Potatoes Harvested 117

Razgorov Prikazka writes "A Dutch-based company from Groningen is trying to create a potato race that is able to survive in a saline environment. The first test-batch was just harvested (English translation of Dutch original) on the island Texel and seem to be in good shape. The company states that rising sea-levels will create a demand for halophile crops. I do wonder if one still has to put salt on ones potatoes when they are grown in salt water."
PC Games (Games)

Activision Wants Consoles To Be Replaced By PCs 344

thsoundman writes with this excerpt from thegamersblog: "We live in a world where we have multiple platforms for gaming: PC, PS3, 360, Wii, etc. Each platform has varying amounts of power when it comes to playing games. Activision, one of the leading cross-platform publishers, wishes to move away from the 'walled gardens' set by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. ... [Activision CEO Bobby] Kotick’s solution is to turn to the PC, where it can set its own model for pricing — not unlike what Blizzard has done with World of Warcraft and Kotick stated that Activision would 'very aggressively' support the likes of HP and Dell in any attempt at making an easy 'plug-and-play' PC that would hook up directly to the TV."

Prince Says Internet Is Over 450

the_arrow writes "According to the artist currently known as Prince, 'The internet's completely over.' At least that what he says in an interview with the British newspaper Mirror. Quoting Prince: 'The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you.'"
Input Devices

Project Natal Pricing and Release Date Revealed 156

tekgoblin writes "According to, their source says that we can expect Microsoft's Project Natal to cost around $149. 'The figure for the standalone unit is significantly higher than a previous sub-£50 estimate, but less than pricing recently suggested by European retailers. It’s also more expensive than Sony’s Natal rival, Move, which will be available later this year with a game for less than $100.'"

Doctors Seeing a Rise In "Google-itis" 368

It's one of the fastest-growing health issues that doctors now face: "Google-itis." Everyone from concerned mothers to businessmen on their lunch break are typing in symptoms and coming up with rare diseases or just plain wrong information. Many doctors are bringing computers into examination rooms now so they can search along with patients to alleviate their fears. "I'm not looking for a relationship where the patient accepts my word as the gospel truth," says Dr. James Valek. "I just feel the Internet brings so much misinformation to the (exam) room that we have to fight through all that before we can get to the problem at hand."

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 663

Yes, your example with three strings is better. Thank you, Thief. Using the StringBuilder class is better again if you need to dynamically build large strings of course.. But this discussion over String.Format proves my point...There's a very large amount of 'best practice' that goes along with any language. The longer you've been using a language, the more of these you're aware of. Teaching mainstream languages would make it a bit smoother to enter employment, no doubt.

Cheap Cancer Drug Finally Tested In Humans 363

John Bayko writes "Mentioned on Slashdot a couple of years ago, the drug dichloroacetate (DCA) has finally finished its first clinical trial against brain tumors in humans. Drug companies weren't willing to test a drug they could not patent, so money was raised in the community through donations, auctions, and finally government support, but the study was still limited to five patients. It showed extremely positive results in four of them. This episode raises the question of what happens to all the money donated to Canadian and other cancer societies, and especially the billions spent buying merchandise with little pink ribbons on it, if not to actual cancer research like this."

Comment Re:So what? (Score 5, Insightful) 663

What's the big deal? One programming language is like the other, at least within the same paradigm. If you can program in Pascal, you can program in C. If you can't you learned a syntax and not "how to program". Basically, when I was a computer science student, we got one language taught for the concepts and the rest was just "swim or sink". That's the way it should be. I really have a problem with programmers who have problems switching from their preferred-language to another because it's unfamiliar. Well, no, it's not... It's the damned same thing with diverging syntax.

Basically, the premise of the Exam Board is quite right: the goal of programming is to have problem solving skills. Whatever language conveys that is completely uninteresting to me.

Oh, and just for the record: programming is just a small part of the computer science curriculum... or at least it should be.

There's a lot more that goes along with a language Sure, if you know how to code OO, use iterators, understand switch statements and other language-related elements you can change languages and write an algorithm or two But Do I know best practice for everything? If I'm a c# programmer. Do I know important differences between Ruby 1.7, 1.8. 1.9? Do I know what the best inversion of control framework is? Or what the best ORM to use is? Am I familiar with how to use it? If I'm a Ruby developer am I aware that in a .NET language if I add two strings together in c# "Hello" + "World" It constructs a new immutable string. But if I do String.Format("{0}{1}","Hello","World" it is much faster and uses less memory? Will I know all the proper coding conventions, casing, tabbing, indenting styles. There are hundreds if not thousands of useful pieces of language, compiler, and environment specific knowledge which is useful and can be pretty obvious if you do not have it. I've been playing with c#, ruby, gcc. For around ten years commercially and I still need to invest significant re-education if I swap from say ruby to gcc or ruby to c# after a year.. There is a reason that people tend to stick with one or two primary languages.


Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."

Comment Re:Contradictory? (Score 1) 360

Are you sure his measurements are good? At the very limit to get 1mm accuracy you'll need wavelength 1mm or less. Some quick calculations suggests 1mm wavelength = 299792458000Hz Or roughly 300Ghz This doesn't sound like something an 'amateur' could build on a weekend. Unless you're claiming some magical way a wave can contain more information than its wavelength would allow

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