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Comment Faux progress (Score 1) 127

The voice recognition systems employed on the typical automated phone service are horrendous. This quickly leads to frustration.

"Q: Would you like to: pay your bill, check your balance...
A: Pay my bill.
Q: Sorry I did not get that. Would you like to: pay your bill, ...
A: Pay my bill!
A:Sorry, I still did not get that. Let's try something else. Please enter your 27 digit personal code followed by your social security and take a few minutes commenting on modern issues in Middle East politics.
A: #$%^&*( &^ %$% ^&* &^% $# $%^&

Having a 'system' that detects if your voice is getting louder, i.e. more pissed off, is not the answer. The answer is to improve the actual voice recognition algorithms, if possible.

Comment Really guys? Come on!? (Score 1) 798

As a proponent, advocate, and consumer of free open source software, I cannot help but wonder what is wrong with the community... I had read some many vitriolic comments about Unity before I ever tried it that I was profoundly skeptical of it and expected a massive failure. The reality has been completely different. If anything the extent of differences is fairly underwhelming, and I generally find it mildly more polished than the previous interface. It's almost the same in many respects, and I could not care less if I run Gnome 2 or 3 or Unity. As long as I can quickly bring up a terminal and they don't crash, they're all interchangeable.

Comment I wonder... (Score 1) 357

...does a phone really require an OS of that complexity? Don't get me wrong, I have a current generation Android smartphone I bought 2-3 months ago, 4G enabled, it even has an HDMI out, and I completely comprehend that a modern smartphone is essentially a fully fledged computer.

That being said, it's still a phone. And in fact, it's horrible at it. To redial the last number I have to press 3 buttons (1 physical, 2 virtual) and suffer through 3s+ of erratic lag or more. On my 4 year old boring but functional Blackberry, it took under 1s and all I had to do is press the same button twice. Hanging up, redialing, going back to the home screen is slow as molasses. Yes, I can browse the web, access my Google Docs, open PDFs, read books, play chess, watch Youtube HD, etc. etc.

The smart- part of the phone is great and a step forward, however the -phone part of the phone is actually a big step back in my opinion.

Comment I know what I will do (Score 2) 203

I will proactively go out and buy the game. The first Crisis remains the best looking FPS to date, although it was released almost 4 years ago. Computational power has continued to increase. As someone said here a few days ago, with a $150 GPU you can run any game on the market at maximum settings. Think about that! A few years ago that would have been unheard of. Game developers kept pushing the envelope, forcing gamers to constantly stay on top of the hardware arms race. Expensive? You bet. But a recipe for innovation.

There will be a cost. Companies like NVIDIA and ATI may slow their development pace since they can't monetize as well any future advancements. Who is willing to shell out $300 to run MW2 at 90fps vs. 50fps...? Are we done generating real time photo-realistic images? Does this look like a screenshot from an action movie yet? I for one don't think so.

We need the next Crisis. That game that will bring to a halt all but the top 1% of existing PCs on maximum settings. The industry needs it. I need it. You need it too - you just don't know it.

Comment Re:You have it backwards (Score 1) 783

Your comment betrays ignorance I am afraid. More precisely, it is a great example why "research by Wikipedia" does not work when it is not backed by an actual intimate understanding of the subject matter.

Specifically your ill informed comparison with "Romania", that backward, not "actually civilized" banana republic that you use as a boogie man only reveals your ignorance. Yes, Romania is a relatively poor country, the GDP per capita is about $12k/year (compare to $46k/year in the US) as per wikipedia.

However, the level of health services available is not immediately obviously worse than in the US, once adjusted for the purchasing power of the median citizen, and especially the less affluent. People there can have high quality cancer treatments and heart surgery that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in the USand possibly bankrupt them and their families - all paid for by the public health plans. Expensive drugs are often covered. Extended hospital stays - of the orders of weeks or even months - are also very often covered. I have had friends from Europe who had surgery in the US and were shocked to be kicked out of the hospital hours after the doctor sowed the last stitch. That would be unheard of even in a backward place like Romania.

You are guilty of oversimplification. I wish not to make the same error, only with a different sign. I will be the first to remark that, not price adjusted, the quality of Romanian health care is often not great especially for non life threatening diseases. The bureaucracy is often suffocating. Petty bribes are common. I wish not advocate for a "single payer" health care system.

However, people who live in glass houses most definitely should wield their stones carefully.


Submission + - LinkedIn To Go Public In 2011 (

geek4 writes: Professional social networking site LinkedIn is planning to go public later this year, according to reports

LinkedIn — the social networking site for business professionals — is reportedly considering a stock offering within the first quarter of 2011.

The company is working on the documentation with three financial advisers, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley, according to Reuters.

The value of LinkedIn's shares in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) remains confidential. However, its shares in secondary markets like SharesPost are reportedly worth around $2.2 billion (£1.4 billion).

The report follows news of Facebook's recent fundraising that has attracted $450 million (£290m) from Goldman Sachsand $50 million (£32m) from Russia's Digital Sky Technologies. Speculations also surround the company's implied gesture to go public in 2012.


Submission + - 10 Most Influential Tech Advances Of The Decade 2

adeelarshad82 writes: We've come a long way in just 10 years. Over the past decade we've experienced the birth of social networking, the slow death of wires, and the growth of both entertainment and business technology to the point that the gadgets, computers, and instruments we use today in both work and play look far, far different than those we used back in 2000. Our televisions are thinner, but their screens display several times more detail. Our storage devices are smaller, but they hold massive amounts of data. Based on the biggest and most influential changes seen in consumer electronics over the past ten years, PCMag counts down top ten technological advancements of the last decade.

Submission + - Facebook SSO? Maybe so says MIT (

lordDallan writes: Simson Garfinkel at MIT Technology Review muses on the idea of your Facebook account becoming an "Internet Driver's License", ruminating on the idea of an individual's Facebook login becoming their single sign on for the web. I say NO THANKS!!

Comment The future is yesterday (?) (Score 1) 121

"It won't be long before video from the Internet is always within reach."

I am so confused. Why is a huge leap in comprehension required to go from a typical computer monitor with a diagonal increases of 17-24'' to a standard TV with a diagonal of 35-50'' or more? It is the same LCD based technology. It is not a different type of tool. It does not require a separate cultural upbringing or years of additional technical training to understand the other once you understand one.

Your college age movie watching experience on a tiny laptop in a cramped dorm room neatly maps onto a more leisurely experience staring at your obscenely large TV from the comfort of your living room couch. You don't like staring at a big black box underneath your precious media center? Fine, then get an HTPC form factor computer, and hide it behind the TV itself. You don't want a keyboard? Then get a bluetooth remote control. All this should be straight forward. You don't need a box with a prominent 'CPO stamp of approval' (Cable Provider Oligopoly) and ridiculous price and limitations. Essentially all you need is a $10 HDMI cable to connect your computer to your TV. How atrophied is the American consumer's capacity to reason and think independently...?


Submission + - Navy Aims for Record-Setting Railgun Test ( 1

Velcroman1 writes: A theoretical dream for decades, the railgun is unlike any other weapon used in warfare. And it's quite real too, as the U.S. Navy will prove — yet again — in a record-setting test today in Dahlgren, VA. Rather than relying on a explosion to fire a projectile, the technology uses an electomagnetic current to accelerate a non-explosive bullet at several times the speed of sound. The conductive projectile zips along a set of electrically charged parallel rails and out of the barrel at speeds up to Mach 7. The result: a weapon that can hit a target 100 miles or more away within minutes. "It's an over-used term, but it really changes several games," Rear Admiral Nevin P. Carr, Jr., the chief of Naval Research, said prior to the test. You have to see the video of this thing firing. It's sick.

Submission + - Vulnerability found in linux kernel (

noobermin writes: From the source: "On the Full Disclosure security mailing list, Dan Rosenberg presents a small demo program which craftily combines several security holes to obtain root privileges on Linux systems[...]For instance, when tested by The H's associates at heise Security, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" readily loaded the Econet driver and presented a root shell after executing the demo exploit.
$ ./full-nelson
[*] Resolving kernel addresses...
[+] Resolved econet_ioctl to 0xffffffffa0b76510
[+] Resolved econet_ops to 0xffffffffa0b76600
[+] Resolved commit_creds to 0xffffffff8108aee0
[+] Resolved prepare_kernel_cred to 0xffffffff8108b2c0
[*] Calculating target...
[*] Triggering payload...
[*] Got root!
# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root)


Submission + - Climategate fallout - climate data integrity bill

radioweather writes: Senator David Vitter's office has just released the draft of Senate Bill 4015, the Public Access to Historical Records Act. This comes due to some years long Freedom of Information reticence on the part of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies The bill if passed, will ensure that climate data from NOAA and NASA get rigorous quality control and would force NASA and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center to release the raw temperature data, sans adjustments to the US historical temperature record, and then compile a new historic official U.S. temperature record that would be compiled under NASA supervision but under a council of appointed meteorologists and statisticians. The goal is for the U.S. to have the best, most transparent historic temperature record in the world.

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