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Submission + - Microsoft may lower hardware requirements for W8 (

jbrodkin writes: "With Microsoft previewing Windows 8 even as it begs users to upgrade from XP to Windows 7, the company today said it will keep hardware requirements the same or even lower them when Windows 8 rolls around. That means the PCs customers buy today to run Windows 7 can be upgraded to 8 next year, or whenever the next OS is released. Windows 8 is for "the hundreds of millions of modern PCs that exist today and for the devices of tomorrow," Microsoft said. Still, Windows 8 will be for tablets and PCs, but given the paltry state of Windows 7 tablets we can assume this advice should only be applied to desktops and laptops."

Submission + - Banks Find Way To Sell Consumers' Shopping Data (

nonprofiteer writes: Banks plan to compete with Groupon and LivingSocial by targeting coupons and deals at credit card holders based on their shopping habits. They found a way to do it without violating financial privacy laws...

"They’re “selling” shopping habits the same way Facebook “sells” personal data about its users: in-network. It’s a clever privacy work-around. Just as Facebook allows advertisers to specifically target certain kinds of users based on their profile information (without actually providing that profile information to the advertisers), banks plan to allow advertisers to send deals and coupons to their customers based on what they’ve bought before. That way, no user data actually leaves the network — instead, deals just enter the network. Each time a customer cashes in on one of those deals, the bank gets a commission."


Kinect Hacked To Play Max Payne, Left 4 Dead 2 30

TechieAlizay points out a post at about a man who hacked Microsoft's Kinect to play Max Payne. "This hack was possible due to FAAST (a toolkit for Kinect), OpenNi/Nite and GlovePIE. Here's how the hacker describes the different control gestures: 'As you can see, the leaning left and right stuff is all there – and moving your body forward and back moves you back and forward. The reload and interact gestures are becoming pretty standard for me now, and pain killers are popped with an upward motion of the left hand. What makes this special though is the leg movements that activate bullet time. The result is bullet time diving for real! When this game hit just after the Matrix film came out, it caused a big stir – with Kinect augmentation it gets even better. The one thing that needs fixing is weapon select; this will be handled by the +/- buttons on the mote in future, I think.'" Another video shows Kinect controlling Left 4 Dead 2. In addition to future PC support, Microsoft is reportedly working on an official SDK. Yet another recent hack of note allows a human to control a humanoid robot with an impressive level of accuracy. Just be careful if you play the Kinect boxing game; somebody might call the police.

Comment Re:This is Useful How? (Score 1) 51

I do not see where I have made a fool of myself. I assumed that the block co-polymer was being used as essentially an alternative to photoresist in which the microwave would be used to assemble into an insoluble form which can then be etched away. If this sounds so unreasonable to you perhaps you should look into work on the field and realize that this is/has been done (not sure about the use of microwaves for heating) - and it's an area of research that imo is fairly useless. As I have been corrected below that it is likely that the polymer here is actually active in device usage and not as the resist as I thought a whole other discussion went on.

Anyways if you could kindly point out where I said anything inconsistent with the area of self-assembly or work in the field let me know (I do work in it) - the use of block co-polymers as active devices was an area I was unaware of and infact isn't even mentioned in TFA.

Comment Re:This is Useful How? (Score 1) 51

Since this is an area of interest for you I have previously done some work in industry for using what we considered something approaching an organic covalently bonded crystal (excuse the specific wording here - how sure we were of what was happening was a big worry for us)

Anyways we were looking into some work on reticular chemistry (google the phrase - a lab from UCLA should pop up) - and using the same concept to create photoconductive organic thin films without the need for much structural support. It's an area of chemistry I find extremely promising (I am not a chemist) but from what I see most of the work seems to be in creating super-porous materials but I see no reason why you can't create these highly structured films using organic molecules that have electrical properties that we want.

I'm not sure if that area is of any use for you but take a look at the structures they've made, and the proof they have that they exist (they were able to get some very convincing XRD patterns for a wide array of configurations which matched up to theoretical calculations)

Miind you in our attempts to replicate it using some custom made photoconductors we were only able to get vague peaks which required you to not wear glasses to see...

Anyways the beauty of these was processing them was easy...once you had the starter molecules ofcourse. Conditions to form the structures were low temperature bakes for less than an hour in general. If a surface is activated properly I think it would be very feasible to say just spin coat the solution, and start your bake and hopefully you end up with a film which is stuck to your surface right where you want it...but now I'm being an engineer pretending he has a clue about chemistry...

Anyways back on topic - I totally agree with your last paragraph. It's nice to see significantly fewer sensational articles than I remember seeing in the field. Even in the past five years alot of the research getting out has been less grey goo look how skynet's going to take over to much more reasonable reports. What I especially love is the amount of interdisciplinary work I'm starting to see where these highly specialized chemistry groups are actually working with engineers and the like to get some feasible processes down. It's not nearly as common as I'd like but it's starting to get there....

Comment Re:This is Useful How? (Score 1) 51

I'm in the nanotech sector as well so I'm fairly familiar with all this - just had the wrong impression of what the block co-polymers were being used for - I was assuming they were some kind of replacement for traditional photoresist

Are these co-polymers being use as an organic electronic material say in OLEDS or are they designed so that they have a specific configuration to essentially after assembling they are in the pattern you want them to be? (this is a good chance to plug yourself and a link to a journal article or something - the future of semicon fab is of huge interest to me)

Comment Re:This is Useful How? (Score 1) 51

It's not that it's an issue it's that I do not see the use of this application

This is not a technology that will bring us to next generation semiconductor - I'd even be willing to state it's almost useless for semiconductors as your feature size will be barely hitting the micrometer range

Now there's no link to a more detailed discussion on their method (and I don't really feel like googling the author right now) - but if it is doing what I think it is this does not sound viable at all for semiconductors. Perhaps as a cheap alternative method for large feature lithography but for semiconductor chip fab I don't see it

Comment This is Useful How? (Score 4, Informative) 51

This is not all that different from 'conventional lithographic techniques' from the way I understand this article (albeit which does nto include very much detail at all)

Traditionally the photoresist which is being patterned is either having bonds broken to let exposed areas be dissolved away, or bonds made to keep the exposed areas in following steps. At the end of the day you're shining radiation on a substrate to make a pattern.

Here is seems to me is they're using block co-polymers to assemble between different configurations - a soluble and insoluble one I imagine? At the end of the day they're still using the idea as traditional lithography. Why investigate this method when there's wavelength limitations that are currently hit I have no idea.

Microwaves are sitting at a higher wavelength than UV/extreme UV which is in use today so I don't see this being useful for patterning for semiconductors. Perhaps if it's cheaper and more compatible I could see this put into lab-on-a-chip style fab methods or something else...

Comment Re:Great Game (Score 1) 399

This is something I am actually very happy about. The way religion was implemented into Civilization is that it simply acted as a uniting or fighting force between you and the other civilizations. For obvious reasons they can't make the religion aspect directly effect your civilization. The main difference I see between uniting civilizations based on religion vs. the current social policy system is that there's no longer a 'founder' nation that will reap the benefits of founding a religion. If you really want to implement such a system I'd imagine having the game bring back civil disorder and the creation of guerrilla forces when cities are attacked. In fact, try making it such that your citizens have a certain want towards different social policies that depends on either your nation, or perhaps research paths - and then have the possibility of civil unrest and creation of guerrilla forces that attack your cities OR have cities then have certain probability of creating barbarians which attack other nations depending on your policy (or religion) would be an interesting implementation.
The Media

$200B Lost To Counterfeiting? Back It Up 283

An anonymous reader writes "Over the weekend, the NY Times ran a story about how the recession has impacted product counterfeiters. In it, the reporter regurgitates the oft-repeated claim that counterfeiting 'costs American businesses an estimated $200 billion a year.' Techdirt's Mike Masnick asks the Times reporter to back up that assertion, noting two recent reports (by the GAO and the OECD) that suggest the actual number is much lower, and quoting two reporters who have actually looked at the numbers and found (a) the real number is probably less than $5 billion, and (b) the $200 billion number can be traced back to a totally unsourced (read: made-up) magazine claim from two decades ago."

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