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Submission + - Open Source 1080p Decoding added to XBMC (xbmc.org) 1

motd2k writes: XBMC today added code to enable 1080p on Windows, Linux, and OSX systems leveraging on a low-cost Broadcom CrystalHD card. The first true cross-platform open source 1080p decoding solution, the CrystalHD is currently available as a mini-PCIE card with a 1xPCIE card to follow.
Earth

Submission + - How your cell phone is fueling war in Africa (infoworld.com)

GMGruman writes: It's not often that the technology industry, human rights activists, and both parties in the U.S. Congress are on the same page. But in 2009, the long-running horror story in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo — where the mining of coltan, tungsten, and other minerals crucial to the manufacture of cell phones has fueled a series of bloody civil wars — has moved significant players to action. Bill Snyder explains how the metals we don't even know are used in our phones and PCs are fueling bloody conflicts, and what is being considered to stop the tech-fueled warfare.
The Media

Submission + - The Rise of Machine Written Journalism 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "Peter Kirwan has an interesting article in Wired UK on the emergence of software that automates the collection, evaluation, and even reporting of news events. Thomson Reuters, the world’s largest news agency, has started moving down this path, courtesy of an intriguing product with the nondescript name NewsScope, a machine-readable news service designed for financial institutions that make their money from automated, event-driven, trading. The latest iteration of NewsScope “scans and automatically extracts critical pieces of information” from US corporate press releases, eliminating the “manual processes” that have traditionally kept so many financial journalists in gainful employment. At Northwestern University, a group of computer science and journalism students have developed a program called Stats Monkey that uses statistical data to generate news reports on baseball games. Stats Monkey identifies the players who change the course of games, alongside specific turning points in the action. The rest of the process involves on-the-fly assembly of templated “narrative arcs” to describe the action in a format recognisable as a news story. "No doubt Kurt Cagle, editor of XMLToday.org, was engaging in a bit of provocation when he recently suggested that an intelligent agent might win a Pulitzer Prize by 2030," writes Kirwin. "Of course, it won’t be the software that takes home the prize: it’ll be the programmers who wrote the code in the first place, something that Joseph Pultizer could never have anticipated.""

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