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Digital

Submission + - Time Warner Cable patents method for disabling fast-forward function on DVRs (fiercecable.com) 1

antdude writes: "FierceCable reports "Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) has won a U.S. patent for a method for disabling fast-forward and other trick mode functions on digital video recorders.

The patent, which lists Time Warner Cable principal architect Charles Hasek as the inventor, details how the nation's second largest cable MSO may be able prevent viewers from skipping TV commercials contained in programs stored on physical DVRs it deploys in subscriber homes, network-based DVRs and even recording devices subscribers purchase at retail outlets...""

Hardware

Submission + - New film renders screen reflection almost non-existent (geek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Sony has used the SID 2012 conference to demonstrate a brand new combination of conductive film and low-reflection film that promises to render screen reflection almost non-existent in devices like smartphones and tablets.

Sony achieved such low reflections by combining its new conductive film with a moth-eye low reflection film. The key to the low reflectance is the formation of an uneven surface, which consists of both concave and convex structures (tiny bumps) that cover the entire film. The uneven surface means that light won’t just bounce back off the screen creating a reflection, and therefore making the screen usable in a wider range of lighting conditions.

Submission + - The Physics of the Knuckleball 1

snoop.daub writes: R.A. Dickey, pitcher for the New York Mets, has been in the news this week after two dominant pitching performances in a row, holding opponents to one hit in each of the games for the first time since Dave Stieb did it in 1988. He has taken over as the league's only knuckleball pitcher after Tim Wakefield retired last season. But just what is it about the knuckleball that makes it hard to hit? Conventional wisdom has it that the lack of spin on the knuckleball causes it to move in completely unpredictable ways, even changing directions in mid-flight. In the last few years, there has been a lot of good science done to understand baseball pitch trajectories, and a few months ago Prof. Alan M. Nathan showed that knuckleballs aren't really so different from other pitches. It turns out that the same 9-parameter equation that can be used to describe other pitch trajectories applies just as well to the knuckleball. The difference appears to be that, like in a chaotic system, knuckleballs depend sensitively on the initial conditions, so that small changes can cause randomly different forces at the start of the pitch which determine the resultant trajectory. Much of this and similar work depends on the Pitchf/x tool, which has recorded the complete trajectory, spin angle and spin rate of every MLB pitch since 2007! Baseball really does have the best sports stats geeks.

Submission + - Chatting with a Diablo 3 hacker (avg.com)

CharlieSanchez writes: Interesting piece describing an encounter with a hacker while investigating a Diablo 3 keylogger.

The chat functionality is actually built into the backdoor and the hacker himself appears and talks to an AVG employee attempting to debug the keylogger.

Wikipedia

Submission + - History Professor Teaches How to Falsify Wikipedia

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Yoni Appelbaum reports in the Atlantic that as part of their coursework in a class that studies historical hoaxes, undergraduates at George Mason University successfully fooled Wikipedia's community of editors launching a Wikipedia page detailing the exploits of a fictitious 19th-century serial killer named Joe Scafe. The students, enrolled in T. Mills Kelly's course, Lying About the Past, used newspaper databases to identify four actual women murdered in New York City from 1895 to 1897, victims of broadly similar crimes and created Wikipedia articles for the victims, carefully following the rules of the site. But while a similar page created previously by Kelly's students went undetected for years, when students posted the story to Reddit, it took just twenty-six minutes for a redditor to call foul, noting the Wikipedia entries' recent vintage and others were quick to pile on, deconstructing the entire tale. Why did the hoaxes succeed in 2008 on Wikipedia and not in 2012 on Reddit? According to Appelbaum, the answer lies in the structure of the Internet's various communities. "Wikipedia has a weak community, but centralizes the exchange of information. It has a small number of extremely active editors, but participation is declining, and most users feel little ownership of the content. And although everyone views the same information, edits take place on a separate page, and discussions of reliability on another, insulating ordinary users from any doubts that might be expressed," writes Appelbaum. "Reddit, by contrast, builds its strong community around the centralized exchange of information. Discussion isn't a separate activity but the sine qua non of the site." If there's a simple lesson in all of this, it's that hoaxes tend to thrive in communities which exhibit high levels of trust. But on the Internet, where identities are malleable and uncertain, we all might be well advised to err on the side of skepticism (PDF).""

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