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Comment Acoustic focus (Score 1) 552

I'm stunned no one has yet mentioned it's use as an acoustic concentrator.

You could use it like one of those bionic ears, but the db gain would be absurdly high. Replace the LNA with a high-quality microphone.

THEN, you could point it at something REALLY interesting.. like... uh... a pigeon, or... uh... a squirrel...

And hear what they REALLY have to say... ...heh... I knew there was something conspiratorial about those squirrels... Don't get me started about the chipmonks.

Role Playing (Games)

D&D Co-Creator Gary Gygax Has Passed Away 512

Mearlus writes "In the recent past co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons Gary Gygax has worked with Troll Lord Games, a small tabletop RPG publisher. Their forums have up a post noting that Mr. Gygax has apparently passed away. Gygax was known, along with Dave Arneson, as the Father of Roleplaying." Saddened reactions from well-known designers have already begun to appear online. Consider this is an in-memoriam Ask Slashdot question: How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life? Update: 03/04 23:16 GMT by Z : With more time, official announcements have had time to appear. Many sites are featuring posts on Gygax's impact on gaming, including touching entries on Salon and CNet.

Submission + - Graphene-based transistors on the way?

Roland Piquepaille writes: "The idea of replacing silicon with carbon to make computer chips is not new. However, using graphene — a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice — wasn't feasible because it is not possible today to make wafers as big as ones made from silicon. But two researchers from Princeton University have found a very elegant solution to this problem. They've decided to put small crystals of graphene only in the active areas of the computer chip. Their graphene-based transistors are already '10 times faster than silicon transistors in moving electronic holes — a key measure of speed.' This technique could be applied to wireless communication devices within a few years. Read more for additional details and an illustration showing how this new technique allows to make high-performance working graphene transistors."

Submission + - Vista SP1 RNG may contain NSA backdoor (

William Ruckman writes: "With its Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista, Microsoft is also adding the Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator. The US standard, released by the National Institute for Standards und Technology (NIST) in "Special Publication 800-90" (PDF) is suspected of containing a back door for the NSA. Programmers can access the new random number generator via an API. But security expert Bruce Schneier emphatically recommends against using it and repeats his suspicion that the algorithm could contain a back door. Cryptologists Nils Ferguson and Dan Shumow described a weakness of the algorithm at the Crypto 2007 conference. It is based on elliptical curves, described by a set of constants. The trouble is, no explanation has been given of how the constants are derived. The cryptologists demonstrated that the constants must be related to an unknown second set of numbers. This second number set could serve as a kind of master key."

Submission + - Is Windows defender spying on Spybot S&D? 2

An anonymous reader writes: Recently I was working on a system that had been infected by spyware. The system was up to date with high priority patches (automatic updates were turned on and active), it was running an "Enterprise" anti-virus solution from a major vendor, yet had allowed an infestation to enter it simply by visitng a website (according to the user). One of the first things I did was to install Windows Defender, updated it and ran a scan. WD identified some malicious programs and claimed to have removed them. However, these programs were still present. Once the active malicious programs had been removed by booting from a live CD, I installed Spybot Search and Destroy and scanned once more. Spybot S&D found a few more files and, at the point that I asked Spybot S&D to delete them, Windows Defender popped up a window asking to send information about one of these files to Microsoft. This is either a massive coincidence, or Windows Defender is watching Spybot.

Submission + - Virtualbox OSS outperforms VMWare.

miknix writes: "Virtualbox which came to the opensource scene some time ago is now outperforming VMWare workstation/player in speed. But don't think this is a minimal difference, because VBox looks supersonic near VMWare, maybe because it is now supporting AMD-V and Intel VT-x extensions.

I was testing the SVM extension of my new Turion 64 X2 on my Gentoo-amd64 linux when got amazed by virtualbox speed. I googled about this and looks like I'm not the only one."
Classic Games (Games)

Submission + - Why Are Games So Easy Nowadays? (

mbstrlbstr writes: The fact that I'm in my 20's and a Wii owner means, of course, that I grew up with the NES being one of my best friends. So,.. it stands to reason that I enjoy playing classic games such as those available on the virtual console. In fact, the virtual console represents MOST of my Wii game library. Now,.. I'm not saying I'm a master at video games, but I manage to finish just about any game I play nowadays. Back when I was younger this wasn't always the case, and until now I attributed it to my being too young to fully understand the games. I see now that this clearly is not the case.

Submission + - Federal Agent's Raid Homes for Modchips (

Lunatrik writes: Invoking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, Federal Custom's Agents have raided over 30 homes and businesses looking to confiscate so-called 'mod chips', or other devices that allow the playback of pirated video games. This raises an important question: Are legitimate backup copies of a piece of software you own illegal under the DMCA?

Submission + - Elton John Wants to Shut Down the Internet

An anonymous reader writes: Sir Elton John believes that the internet is ruining the quality of music and has proposed a solution to the problem. From the article:

He claims it is destroying good music, saying: "The internet has stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff. Instead they sit at home and make their own records, which is sometimes OK but it doesn't bode well for long-term artistic vision."

Interestingly, he streamed his 60th birthday concert over the internet and is now offering his entire back catalogue for digital download.
Star Wars Prequels

Submission + - $500 Lightsabers: As Close as You Can Get to Real

ntmokey writes: The guys over at Popular Mechanics managed to get their hands on a pair of custom-made light sabers that go for $500 apiece. They're powered by Class II lasers and built tough enough to stand up to some real abuse. Before you point out how outrageous $500 is (or whip out the credit card, if you're a Star Wars fan), check out the video of associate editor Erik Sofge dueling it up with a fan in the basement of their office building. Pretty epic stuff — brace yourself for the tragic ending.

Submission + - University Security Bans Vmware for Sensitive Data

EnimyMyne writes: The University of Minnesota security group has declared that vmware and other server virtualization tools not be used to host sensitive data: "As a general rule, using Virtual Machines (VMWare, Virtual PC, etc) for servers that hold protected or private data is not acceptable. Protected and private data include grades, credit card numbers, social security numbers, Private Health Information (PHI), HIPAA and FERPA data, etc." The following rationale was given: "The main concern is the risk of a low-security VM being compromised, and the hackers breaking out of the VM into the host OS. If the same physical hardware also is running high security VMs holding protected data, it could be compromised. And given the consequences of breaches these days (massive fines, losing grants, legal action, etc.) we need to be particularly careful about this. There are an infinite number of scenerios here, with VMs of the same security level on the same hardware, or different security levels." How valid is this claim given the great advantages of virtualization and the fact that large enterprises are increasing their use of products such as vmware? I haven't seen any articles on slashdot discussing particular vulnerabilities of vmware over standard server hardware.

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