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Input Devices

World's First 3D Webcam Tested 124

CNETNate writes "The world's first 3D webcam not only takes anaglyphic images, but will let you have a stereoscopic 3D video chat over the Internet. It's the work of a unique camera called 'Minoru,' which has been tested and documented in a feature today. Be warned though: anaglyphic photography was clearly not invented to create comfortably-viewable videos."

Choosing Better-Quality JPEG Images With Software? 291

kpoole55 writes "I've been googling for an answer to a question and I'm not making much progress. The problem is image collections, and finding the better of near-duplicate images. There are many programs, free and costly, CLI or GUI oriented, for finding visually similar images — but I'm looking for a next step in the process. It's known that saving the same source image in JPEG format at different quality levels produces different images, the one at the lower quality having more JPEG artifacts. I've been trying to find a method to compare two visually similar JPEG images and select the one with the fewest JPEG artifacts (or the one with the most JPEG artifacts, either will serve.) I also suspect that this is going to be one of those 'Well, of course, how else would you do it? It's so simple.' moments."

FCC To Hold Hearings On Early Termination Fees 184

Isaac-Lew sends word of an article in the Washington Post reporting that on June 12 the FCC will hold a hearing regarding cellphone early termination fees. The Commission may look at early termination fees for TV and Internet service as well. The wireless carriers are taking a Bre'r Rabbit approach toward possible FCC regulation of early termination fees — the FCC's intervention would pre-empt a number of class-action lawsuits going forward against Verizon, Sprint, and others. These suits, stemming from state regulations, could cost the carriers billions. "...the carriers have renewed a lobbying effort in recent weeks to persuade the FCC on a legal definition that would stave off the state lawsuits on cancellation fees. On May 6, 2008, Verizon Wireless chief executive Lowell McAdam and the company's chief lobbyist, Tom Tauke, met with [FCC Chairman] Martin, urging him to adopt a federal policy, according to FCC records."

NJ Supreme Court Rules For Internet Privacy 84

dprovine writes "The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that ISPs can't release customer information without a warrant. The unanimous decision reads in part 'We now hold that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy protected by Article I ... of the New Jersey Constitution, in the subscriber information they provide to Internet service providers — just as New Jersey citizens have a privacy interest in their bank records stored by banks and telephone billing records kept by phone companies.'"

Apple Mulls Flat-Rate "Unlimited Music" Option 355

Mike writes "Apple is in discussions with the big music companies about an 'all you can eat' model for buying music that would give customers free access to its entire iTunes music library in exchange for paying a premium for its iPod and iPhone devices. Finally, it looks like the industry (or at least Apple) is 'getting it'. The real question is not whether the big music companies will go for it, but rather, who will be the first one to get smart and agree to offer it?"

US Plans "Disposable" Nuclear Batteries 297

holy_calamity writes "A US government program is in the works to design small nuclear reactors for use by developing countries. The work continues despite fears about security and nuclear proliferation. Plans include having reactors supplied with fuel by the US and other trusted nations, or to build reactors with their whole lifetime of fuel packaged securely inside — like a giant non-user replaceable radioactive battery.' '"

Counterfeit Chips Raise New Terror, Hacking Fears 173

mattnyc99 writes "We've seen overtures by computer manufacturers to build in chip security before, but now Popular Mechanics takes a long look at growing worries over counterfeit chips, from the military and FAA to the Department of Energy and top universities. While there's still never been a fake-chip sabotage or info hack on America by foreign countries or rogue groups, this article suggests just how easy it would be for chips embedded with time-release cripple coding to steal data or bring down a critical network - and how that's got Homeland shaking in its boots (but not Bruce Schneier). While PopMech has an accompanying story on the possible end of cheap gadget manufacturing in China as inflation rates soar there, it's the global hardware business in general that has DoD officials freaking out over chips."
United States

FCC Looks To Offer Consumers More Wireless Choice 65

An anonymous reader writes "The FCC is butting heads with wireless phone companies over 'wiggle room' the government organization wishes to allow consumers. Along with the move to the auction system, the government is removing restrictions on pieces of the wireless spectrum, which will allow a freedom of choice not usually seen with wireless communication devices. 'In the past, when the F.C.C. auctioned spectrum for cellular service, it allowed the winners to determine the equipment and applications that would run on their networks. That created the current status quo, in which a vast majority of American consumers buy a handset from a wireless service provider. The open-access rules, which will apply to about one-third of the spectrum being sold at the auction, represent a significant departure from past practice. They require the winners to let consumers use any tested, safe and compatible device or application on its network. Entrepreneurs could sell handsets with capabilities that are unavailable -- or unavailable at affordable prices -- from current carriers.'"

Swedish Company Trials Peer-to-Peer Cellphones 128

Dr_Barnowl writes "A company named TerraNet is going through a trial period for a p2p based mobile telephony system. Phones are used to route calls onto other phones, constructing mesh networks of 'up to 20km'. The BBC reports on the natural tendency of the big telecoms providers to want to squash this. I can see other problems though. The advantages in an environment with sparse cell coverage are obvious, but network effects mean that the number of connections in a heavily populated mesh grow exponentially. What happens to your battery life when your phone becomes a node? And while the company is optimistic that they have a viable technology model from IP licensing, the demand for devices supporting this is going to be proportional to the number of devices that it can connect you to."
The Internet

Yahoo Sued for Giving User Information to China 114

taoman1 wrote with news of a CNN article about a suit brought against Yahoo! for alleged aiding in human rights violations. The World Organization for Human Rights USA has filed suit against the search company for (so the suit claims) assisting in torture by revealing information that led to the arrest of dissidents. "The lawsuit cites federal laws that govern torture and other violations of international law. Plaintiffs included jailed dissident Wang Xiaoning and his wife, Yu Ling, who was visiting San Francisco this week as part of the group's campaign. Sklar said he knew of three other cases, but the dissidents were reluctant to join the complaint for fear of harm to their families living in China. Among those three dissidents is journalist Shi Tao, who was sentenced in 2005 to 10 years in jail."

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