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Hardware Hacking

Wipeout Recreated With an RC Car 90

An anonymous reader writes "If you've owned any of Sony's PlayStation consoles then there's a good chance you've also played one of the Wipeout games. It's a high-speed racing game that helped make the PSOne popular, and it's now been recreated using a remote control car. The project is the idea of Malte Jehmlich. He decided to create a track out of cardboard reminiscent of the Wipeout tracks. He then hooked up a wireless camera to a remote control car, and modified the controller to be an arcade cabinet with a wheel and forward/reverse selector."

Submission + - Discrimination of numbers (

BlackShirt writes: In 1938, the physicist Frank Benford made an extraordinary discovery about numbers. He found that in many lists of numbers drawn from real data, the leading digit is far more likely to be a 1 than a 9. In fact, the distribution of first digits follows a logarithmic law. So the first digit is likely to be 1 about 30 per cent of time while the number 9 appears only five per cent of the time.That's an unsettling and counterintuitive discovery. Why aren't numbers evenly distributed in such lists?

The Big Technical Mistakes of History 244

An anonymous reader tips a PC Authority review of some of the biggest technical goofs of all time. "As any computer programmer will tell you, some of the most confusing and complex issues can stem from the simplest of errors. This article looking back at history's big technical mistakes includes some interesting trivia, such as NASA's failure to convert measurements to metric, resulting in the Mars Climate Orbiter being torn apart by the Martian atmosphere. Then there is the infamous Intel Pentium floating point fiasco, which cost the company $450m in direct costs, a battering on the world's stock exchanges, and a huge black mark on its reputation. Also on the list is Iridium, the global satellite phone network that promised to make phones work anywhere on the planet, but required 77 satellites to be launched into space."

3-D Printer Creates Buildings From Dust and Glue 139

An anonymous reader writes "D-Shape, an innovative new 3-D printer, builds solid structures like sculptures, furniture, even buildings from the ground up. The device relies on sand and magnesium glue to actually build structures layer by layer from solid stone. The designer, Enrico Dini, is even talking with various organizations about making the printer compatible with moon dust, paving the way for an instant moonbase!"

Brain Surgery Linked To Sensation of Spirituality 380

the3stars writes "'Removing part of the brain can induce inner peace, according to researchers from Italy. Their study provides the strongest evidence to date that spiritual thinking arises in, or is limited by, specific brain areas. This raises a number of interesting issues about spirituality, among them whether or not people can be born with a strong propensity towards spirituality and also whether it can be acquired through head trauma." One critic's quoted response: "It's important to recognize that the whole study is based on changes in one self-report measure, which is a coarse measure that includes some strange items."

Submission + - Whatever happened to Second Life? (

Barence writes: It's desolate, dirty, and sex is outcast to a separate island. In this feature, PC Pro's Barry Collins returns to Second Life to find out what went wrong, and why it’s raking in more cash than ever before. It's a follow-up to a feature written three years ago, in which Collins spent a week living inside Second Life to see what the huge fuss at the time was all about. The difference three years can make is eye-opening.

A Real Bill Gates Rant 293

lou ibmix XI submitted an email written by Bill Gates a few years ago and turned over to the feds as part of the government's antitrust case. Great quotes like 'Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable?' and 'The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind.' We like to think of him as an abstract, but I think this is interesting stuff. Also, this might seem familiar. Oops.

Open Source Chat Bridge Between Virtual Worlds 43

wjamesau writes "The Parallel Selves Message Bridge, a new addition to the code forge of OpenSimulator, the 'Apache for virtual worlds,' makes it possible for users within one OpenSim world to send IMs to users currently logged into another Second Life-compatible world. In the future, technology like this could make it possible to keep in contact with friends in other virtual worlds and MMOs without having to log out. Imagine orcs and space commandos existing in alternate realities but still in contact!"
Linux Business

Submission + - How can I motivate my employer to share code? (

John Sokol writes: "At work I wrote a Linux device driver that there is a real need for in the community. It took several months of long nights and weekends of coding. Some is derived from other GPL'ed driver code. How can I politely motivate my employer to do what they are legally and morally required to do? As am employee I am legally and contractually bound, so I can't just share the code. Does anyone have some experience with this? Is there some good boiler plate letter with enough legalese. Ideally one that I can just use without having to think too hard? I need to maintain a good relationship for possible later work even though I am being laid off soon."

Submission + - getting paid to abandon an open source project? 2

darkeye writes: "I'm facing a difficult dilemma, in which the Slashdot community might have an opinion that could help me. I've been contributing to an open source project heavily, making considerable changes to code organization and quality, but which are unfinished at the moment. Now a company is approaching me to continue my changes. They want to keep the improvements to themselves, which can be done, as the project is published under the BSD license. While this is still fair, as they have all the rights to the work they pay for in full, but, they want me to sign a non-competition clause, which would bar me from ever working on and publishing results on the original open source project itself, even if done separately in my free time.

Aside from ideological arguments (you should give back to the community you're taking from), how would you approach such a dilemma? On one side, they'd provide resources to work on an interesting project. On the other, it would make me an outcast in the project's community, Moreover, they would take ownership of not just to what they'd pay for, but also of my changes leading up to this moment — as I wouldn't be able to continue on my original codebase in an open source manner if I sign their contract."

Submission + - Tetris creator claims FOSS destroys the market ( 1

alx5000 writes: "In an interview conceded last week to Consumer Eroski (Spanish, sorry), Tetris father, Alexey Pajitnov, claimed that "Free Software should have never existed", since it "destroys the market" by bringing down companies who create wealth and prosperity. When inquired about RH or Oracle's support-oriented model, he called them "a minority", and also criticised Stallman's ideas as "belonging to the past" where there were no software "business posibilities"."
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA "expert witness" exposed (

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Prof. Johan Pouwelse of Delft University — one of the world's foremost experts on the science of P2P file sharing and the very same Prof. Pouwelse who stopped the RIAA's Netherlands counterpart in its tracks back in 2005 — has submitted an expert witness report characterizing the work of the RIAA's expert, Dr. Doug Jacobson, as "borderline incompetence". The report (pdf), filed in UMG v. Lindor, pointed out, among other things, that the steps needed to be taken in a copyright infringement investigation were not taken, that Jacobson's work lacked "in-depth analysis" and "proper scientific scrutiny", that Jacobson's reports were "factually erroneous", and that they were contradicted by his own deposition testimony. This is the first expert witness report of which we are aware since the Free Software Foundation announced that it would be coming to the aid of RIAA defendants."

Submission + - Electron cought on tape (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at Lund university in Sweden has managed to film a moving electron using attosecond laser pulses. So, can someone with the know-how explain exactly what we are looking at here? Are the blue fields in the movie the distribution of the electron during one laser pulse?
Data Storage

Submission + - Extremely long term data storage

Nefarious Wheel writes: Strange ideas day. Was thinking of economical but extremely long-term storage, longer than you can depend on a magnetic domain to remain uncorrupted by stray fields. This line of thought resulted in this odd question:

Given the paper, machining and electronics technology available today, and ignoring magnetic and ink based solutions, how much data could you reliably store on a punched paper card? I'm sure the medium could hold more than the 80 to 96 bytes per unit of the past.

If you think about it, books from 800AD onward (such as the Book of Kells) are still with us, and hold considerable detail. It's unlikely we could expect that sort of data lifespan with today's media. But the sort of paper used for US Form 5081 could be with us for a very long time, given proper care and containment. So, how much data could you punch into a standard 80 column sized card before it became structurally unusable?

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We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra