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Comment Re:It's a proposed follow-on to the failed Avrocar (Score 2) 300

As a pilot myself, after first looking at the Figure 1 I was alarmed at the thought of the pilot sitting in the center of a large combustion gas turbine. I was relieved to see that the designers put some protective buffers filled with fuel between the pilot and the inner annulus of the compressor. What could possibly go wrong?

Comment Re:Kaleidescape is... (Score 5, Informative) 136

It's not really even a ripping station. It's a system for watching your DVDs and BDs in a really convenient manner.

Disclaimer: I work in the industry that Kaleidescape sells to, I work with a couple of people that used to work there, and I know Michael Malcom. And we've got one of their systems set up in our offices.

Your analysis is correct in that the system copies DVDs, BDs and CDs to a hard disk array that, in our case, is in a rack in the equipment room (it's got fans that are loud along with with the spinning drives) and plays them via a player with an HDMI output in a different part of the building. The units are connected via the same Ethernet network used for data. If you know the background, you know that the founders of the company approached the DVD CCA and did, indeed, get a license. The DVD CCA changed their mind about the license later. They are the ass clowns, in case there was any doubt.

It's not just the playback that's useful, the system allows you to set favorite scenes and jump right to them. We need to demonstrate various audio and video capabilities of the equipment we manufacture. Being able to jump from movie to movie, scene to scene with a push of a button - or to write a simple script to run a full demonstration - without having to wait for each disk to spin up, display the FBI warning, etc. is the reason we have the unit.

We've also bought every single title that's on it. When you are playing a scene from a movie to the people who were involved in making it, it would be really embarrassing to explain that you ripped it from a rental. Not that people that pay the amount that one of these systems cost are the kind of people who flinch at paying for a movie anyway.

Do you want to know who owns systems like this? There's one big group I know of - next time you see a movie, watch the names in big type in the credits. When their home systems stop working, I hope they direct their ire at the DVD CCA, because those are the folks that broke their toys.


Facebook To Make Facebook Credits Mandatory For Games 116

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from TechCrunch: "Facebook has confirmed that it is indeed making Facebook Credits mandatory for Games, with the rule going into effect on July 1 2011. Facebook says that Credits will be the exclusive way for users to get their 'real money' into a game, but developers are still allowed to keep their own in-game currencies (FarmBucks, FishPoints, whatever). For example, Zynga can charge you 90 Facebook Credits for 75 CityCash in CityVille. ... The company acknowledges that some developers may not be pleased with the news, explaining this is why it is announcing the news five months in advance, so it can 'have an open conversation with developers.' The rule only applies to Canvas games (games that use Facebook Connect aren't affected), and while it's games only at this part, Facebook says that it eventually would like to see all apps using Facebook Credits. It's a move that's been a long time coming — there has been speculation that Facebook would do this for a year now, spurring plenty of angst in the developer community."

Comment Re:My grandmother is one of them... (Score 1) 301

My inlaws. They have cable internet but will NOT get rid of AOL. Any time I'm over doing "family tech support" I just use FF, which causes great amounts of agitation over the fears that I might have "done something" to the AOL setup. Oh, how I wish.

Had to send an email from their place to myslf via AOL because I didn't have my laptop with me. Good Lord, that interface sucks.


The Fruit Fly Drosophila Gets a New Name 136

G3ckoG33k writes "The name of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster will change to Sophophora melangaster. The reason is that scientists have by now discovered some 2,000 species of the genus and it is becoming unmanageably large. Unfortunately, the 'type species' (the reference point of the genus), Drosophila funebris, is rather unrelated to the D. melanogaster, and ends up in a distant part of the relationship tree. However, geneticists have, according to Google Scholar, more than 300,000 scientific articles describing innumerable aspects of the species, and will have to learn the new name as well as remember the old. As expected, the name change has created an emotional (and practical) stir all over media. While name changes are frequent in science, as they describe new knowledge about relationships between species, these changes rarely hit economically relevant species, and when they do, people get upset."

Scientists To Breed the Auroch From Extinction 277

ImNotARealPerson writes "Scientists in Italy are hoping to breed back from extinction the mighty auroch, a bovine species which has been extinct since 1627. The auroch weighed 2,200 pounds (1000kg) and its shoulders stood at 6'6". The beasts once roamed most of Asia and northern Africa. The animal was depicted in cave paintings and Julius Caesar described it as being a little less in size than an elephant. A member of the Consortium for Experimental Biotechnology suggests that 99% of the auroch's DNA can be recreated from genetic material found in surviving bone material. Wikipedia mentions that researchers in Poland are working on the same problem."

Comment Re:Contracts anyone? (Score 5, Informative) 285

I just got back from CES last night, and this happened to a vendor I had an appointment with.

We were on the 30th floor of the Venetian. The CEA (Consumer Electronics Association, the entity that puts on CES) arranges to take complete floors for things that make noise - they had the 29th, the 30th and the 32nd along with parts of the 34th and 35th and probably others. We make noise, we're selling high end home/corporate theater sound systems and the demos exceed 100 dB at certain points, so combined with the traffic there's no way any regular guest would be happy there. Each room gets a sign to tell other attendees who is there, the doors are generally left wide open and music (and bodies) permeate the hallways all day.

As a point of reference the room cost, paid to the CEA directly, is about $20K for about a week (including setup before the show and teardown afterward), and there are lots of other costs as well. The cost is a serious barrier to entry for smaller firms.

On Friday we were visited by a vendor offering a product that we use and need. I wanted to learn more, and they told me they were just upstairs on the 31st floor, gave me a card with their suite number, and we arranged to get together Saturday morning after a meeting I already had scheduled. I sent them a text message Saturday morning and didn't hear back until their salesman was back in our suite with an explanation.

It turns out that they had managed to book a room on that floor just above other CES exhibitors, had 16 cases of equipment brought up by the hotel staff, and had been bringing people in since the show opened. As they were in the hotel along with the other exhibitors I thought nothing of it and assumed they were just another exhibitor - but it turns our they had not gone through the CEA. Hotel security - and the local Sheriff according to them - took their stuff and them from the room & put them on the curb at 10:00 PM Friday night.

Now in this case they did confess to me that they pulled out the agreement that they signed when they checked in, and that agreement said they would not be making loud noises or conducting business - and they felt that since their products are still in the development stage they didn't count. They were told they had been discovered because they were doing music demonstrations in the room during show hours and people could hear it through the (closed) doors. Since they were not on a floor the CEA had taken 100% of for sound demos it was disturbing other guests and that's how they were discovered.

They ended up in another hotel, where I met them Sunday. I'll be curious to see if they were offered the chance to pay $10K to stay, which is about what a room the size of the one they had would have cost if they booked it properly although they would not have been in the program or on the signs.


Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."

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