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Inventor Creates Flotation Device Bazooka 144

Australian inventor Sam Adeloju has won the £20,000 ($32,000) James Dyson Award for inventing the coolest piece of life-saving equipment ever. The Longreach is a modified bazooka which can fire an expanding flotation device up to 150m to a person in distress. From the article: "Mr Adeloju told that the Longreach was inspired by a grenade-launch training session with the Army Reserves. Weighing just 3.5kg, it shoots the rescue device 150m in a manner similar to the way the army uses a grenade launcher to deliver flares and aerial observation devices. Hitting the water activates an expanding foam unit in the Longreach rescue unit, which also incorporates LED illumination and a vortex air whistle."

ISO 9001-Compliant Document Control? 152

SmoothBreaker writes "Coming into a new company, I have been tasked with sourcing Document Control software to meet ISO 9001 standards. From everything I can find, ISO places no requirements on the software itself, aside from maintaining control of documentation and process. This was discussed eleven years ago. I'd like software that allows intuitive use for our less savvy users, and in a perfect world, graphical access to previous revisions of a document. I've used Microsoft's SharePoint, which the higher-ups like simply because it's Microsoft, but thankfully they trust their Tech Department to find the cream of the crop. What experience do you have with this kind of software, what would you recommend using, and what should I avoid?"

Is Apple's Multi-Touch Patent Valid? 112

An anonymous reader writes "There is evidence that Apple's multi-touch patent application may have failed to list some prior art that showed gestures in multi-touch interfaces as early as the mid 1980s. Some of these examples even appear in the bibliography of Wayne Westerman's doctoral dissertation, and he's one of the inventors on the application's list. If true, that could leave them wide open for legal attack, should they try suing someone like Palm for patent infringement. Also, Apple may be infringing some key multi-touch patents owned by the University of Delaware — and co-developed by Westerman while getting his doctorate."

Ubiquitous Hydrogen Power Not Getting Any Closer 267

NewScientist has a story about the "hydrogen economy" that has been resting on the horizon for a decade or more. Despite a great deal of enthusiasm for and research into hydrogen-based power systems, the technology seems just as far away from everyday use as it's always been. A British startup, ITM Power, has recently claimed a breakthrough in lowering production costs by using a nickel catalyst (rather than platinum) with a membrane small enough for home use. But, even if their method is proven and adopted, it still wouldn't address huge energy efficiency problems in the process. "The point was made forcefully by Gary Kendall of the conservation group WWF in a recent report called Plugged In (PDF, pgs. 135-149). Kendall, a chemist who previously spent almost a decade working for ExxonMobil, highlights how the energy losses in the fuel chain - from electrolysis to compression of the hydrogen for use to inefficiencies in the fuel cell itself — mean that only 24 per cent of the energy used to make the fuel does any useful work on the road."

Comment Re:Be a teacher (Score 1) 564

I completely agree. I am in a similar position. I am a third year Math undergrad student and plan on attending grad school for Mathematics in the near future. My arithmetic skills are already suffering greatly at the hands of Modern Algebra and Real Analysis. Oh well, I enjoy both of those subjects more than arithmetic.

Submission + - Nintendo Wii outsells Sony PS3 in 2007 in Japan (

ThinkPad760 writes: Don't think this will come as a surprise to anyone, but the Nintendo Wii has trounced Sony's PS3 in domestic Japan sales in 2007. What might be surprising is by how much. The Wii sold an estimates 3.63 million units in 2007 while Sony PS3 sold 1.21 million units.
According to a local Japan magazine 'Enterbrain', Wii also out sold the PS3 by 3 to 1 during the year end period from Nov 25 thru Dec 31 with 774,123 for the Wii and 232,421 for the PS3. Mean while the Xbox sold a grand total of 257,841 units for the whole of 2007.
Japan's total computer game market was worth a record 687.7 billion yen (USD5,980,000 @Y115/USD1) in 2007, up 9.9% from the previous year.

Has the Wii concured we and is the Xbox hexed? Will Sony Post Strong 3rd year sales?

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 767

I would agree with you. This is getting absolutely ridiculous. Though, on the flipside, if Fair Use doesn't have any affect on anything anymore, I can't really write any more research papers because I would have to call all of my sources to get the explicit permission required just to use a quote. Profs can't really expect that.

Honestly though, we know that the right to fair use is protected in the Constitution. I don't see how they can make this claim with any legal backing whatsoever.


Submission + - Google Wins Nude Thumbnail Legal Battle

eldavojohn writes: "Google is currently fighting many fronts in its ability to show small images returned in a search from websites. Most recently, Google won the case against them in which they were displaying nude thumbnails of a photographer's work from his site. Prior to this, Google was barred from displaying copyrighted content, even when linking it to the site (owner) from its search results. The verdict: "Saying the District Court erred, the San Francisco-based appeals court ruled that Google could legally display those images under the fair use doctrine of copyright law." Huge precedence in a search engine's ability to blindly serve content safely under fair use."

Mozilla and Google — Exchange Killers At Last? 336

phase_9 writes "The latest version of Mozilla Thunderbird may still only be in beta but already the user community have started creating an extensive set of viable Exchange killers. One such example is the latest mashup between Thunderbird and Google Calendars, providing bi-directional syncing of calendar information from both the client and internet. How long will it be before open-source software can provide a complete, accessible office suite for a fraction of the cost that Microsoft current imposes?"
XBox (Games)

Submission + - Microsoft "admits" problems with Xbox-360

owlstead writes: The Dutch consumer show "Kassa" has devoted a broadcast to problems with the Xbox-360. Besides the information as displayed below, they also mentioned the probable techninal cause of the scratches. The experts in the broadcasts think that Microsoft deliberately downplays the problems. They mentioned the huge (PR) problem it would cause if it was shown that millions of machines may be broken.

The following text is a small part of this page translated to English.

Microsoft admits scratching by Xbox-360

Kassa devoted attention to the Xbox-360 at the end of January. The game console of Microsoft can cause scratches on games. Thousands of people came to us to complain, and according to all messages on the Internet there are worldwide many more people that suffer scratched Cd's.

The Kassa Scratching Test:
Despite the thousand complaints, and the many messages on this issue on the Internet, Microsoft kept by their statement: "an Xbox cannot scratch the disks if they have been placed on a stable platform". So Kassa went to work: during tree days we tested — in a lab situation with the help of three gamers and in a living room setting at a later stage — the scratch resistance of the Xbox. The test results show that even if an Xbox on a stable platform can cause scratches on different games.

From the information known to Kassa, it can be concluded that the problems occur specifically to Xboxes that have been produced at the end of 2006, using the infamous TSST-drive.

The response of Microsoft Nederland:
Xbox owners who think that their disks have been scratched in a similar manner as displayed by Kassa, should contact us. We shall examine the console and, if necessary, repair it to full working order. Besides that, we shall inform Xbox owners on how to obtain replacement disks, should they need them.

Seems to me that they are still reluctant to say that something is wrong with certain models of the Xbox.

Internet Blackout Threat for Music Thieves in AU 244

An anonymous reader writes " is reporting that the ARIA [Australia's Version of the RIAA] is making plans to have ISPs cancel or terminate the accounts of those who download music illegally. If the user is on dialup, that's not a problem: their telephone line will be disconnected. 'Fed up with falling sales, the industry — which claims Australians download more than one billion songs illegally each year — has been discussing tough new guidelines with internet service providers (ISPs) since late last year. The music industry is lobbying for a three strikes and you're out policy to enforce their copyright. Under this system, people who illegally download songs would be given three written warnings by their Internet service provider. If they continued to illegally download songs, their internet account would be suspended or terminated.'"

Submission + - Valve customer credit card details hacked

appregator writes: It seems Valve's security is under fire once again, this time a hacker by the name of MaddoXX has gained root access to their servers. After exposing customer information, including several full credit card numbers, and Valve bank account details, the hacker threatened to release more in an apparent attempt to extort Valve. The screenshots posted by the hacker show their total assets to be at around 9.2 million USD. When users began reporting the leak on the steampowered forums their threads were quickly deleted. Why on earth was such personal information being stored on a web server? Screenshot of hackers website at (masking CC numbers), taken by the steampowered forum user.

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