Elledan (582730) writes "Federal investigators in California have requested that BrightSource — owner of thermal solar plants — halt the construction of more, even bigger plants until the impact of these plants on wildlife has been further investigated. The BrightSource solar plant in the Mojave Desert which was investigated reportedly kills between 1,000 and 28,000 birds a year with the concentrated solar energy from its 300,000 mirrors, charring and incinerating feathers of passing birds. This isn't the first report of negative environmental impact by this type of solar plant either." Link to Original Source top
Elledan (582730) writes "After a long delay with the WildFox project due to personal circumstances, I have decided to release an add-on for Firefox which in combination with a video plug-in allows for the playback of any video format right in the browser on Windows, Linux and OS X. This makes it more flexible than the add-on previously released by Microsoft. Please try it and report back with any glitches:)" Link to Original Source top
Elledan (582730) writes "Ever since I started with CSS-based layouts for websites I have been amazed at the lack of proper layout functionality in CSS. Over the years I have found that I'm not alone in this view, leading to the smoldering desire to invent a better style sheet language. This culminated in the draft specification for Layout and Design Style Sheets, or LDSS for short, for which I'm now seeking feedback and hopefully the attention required to get it accepted as a web-wide standard required to have it implemented in browsers. The reason why I deem LDSS necessary is that even the upcoming CSS 3 doesn't fix all the problems with CSS 2.x, let alone that the W3C seems to listen to professional webdesigners, of which I am one. Can we, the community, do better? Let's find out." Link to Original Source top
Elledan (582730) writes "Only two countries in the world have software patents which make it impossible to freely use video codecs such as AVC (h.264). This has led to projects such as Firefox not including AVC support with the HTML 5 video tag in all their releases, resulting in the rest of the world having to indirectly suffer the effects of software patents as well. To rectify this situation at least somewhat, I have created the Wild Fox project which aims to release Firefox builds with the features previously excluded due to software patents, which will be available to those in non-software patent encumbered countries. Any developers who wish to join the project are more than welcome." Link to Original Source top
Elledan (582730) writes "Last year I managed to lose the password to my Yahoo and thus Flickr account. To this day Yahoo support refuses to give me back my account, even though I have proven that I own the primary email listed with it. In today's instance of my blog I describe how this is a sign of a much larger issue, namely that online services are offered without a legally binding contract, and that at any time they can deny access to your account, no matter what is connected to it. I doubt I have to mention people getting locked out of their PayPal accounts and similar horror stories to underline the seriousness of this issue. One thing one definitely can't do without is a backup plan or two in case things do go wrong. Please have a read and let me know what your thoughts on this issue are, as well as your experiences." Link to Original Source top
Elledan writes "An UK survey among 1,300 smokers found that when cigarettes are branded "smooth", "silver" or "gold" they are generally believed to be healthier and easier to give up. From the article: "Participants in the study were shown pairs of cigarette packs and asked to compare what they were like, or what they assumed they would be like, in terms of taste, tar levels, health risk, attractiveness, how easy they would be to give up and how attractive they would be to someone choosing to smoke for the first time." The discussion is now whether cigarettes should be offered in plain packaging to prevent such suggestions, especially with EU rules forbidding any claim that some cigarettes are safer than others." Link to Original Source top
Elledan writes "Over a year ago I was diagnosed as being a hermaphrodite at a German clinic, after a long struggle to get the tests performed in my own country (The Netherlands). However, here the medical specialists don't seem to want to acknowledge the diagnostic, instead choosing to ignore it and my questions. Recently I have looked again at the reports and MRI images I got from all hospitals and clinics so far, and found some interesting irregularities: on the MRI images and on the reports. My current therapist called it 'fraud', and I see little evidence to suggest otherwise. Lacking the financial resources for a lawyer and such after the past 4.5 year, what pointers can this community give me on how to proceed? In order to accomplish my goal of acknowledgement of my condition and treatment, I will have to somehow find the necessary support, which appears to be extremely difficult at this point." top
Elledan writes "I'm planning to release a number of novels and short stories the coming time via my website, yet I can't seem to find a clear answer on what format is preferred for ebooks, specifically for the wide range of portable devices out there, like PDAs, netbooks, eReaders like the Kindle and so on. PDF and plain text are apparently popular formats, yet the first suffers from scaling as far as I can tell (hard to read on small screen), while text of course lacks any kind of formatting. I'm not looking to encrypt or use any form of DRM. What are my best choices here?" top
Elledan writes "For a new system I am designing, I have been considering using a riser card to allow PCIe x16 videocards to be installed. However, from browsing around it seems that some people have issues with using riser cards for this purpose. As riser cards are commonly used in server systems seemingly without issues, are it just videocards which may have problems, or were the reports of issues I read on forums, Newegg and such sites simply due to cheap or poorly constructed riser cards? I would very much like to have a definitive answer before I spend the money on parts which may not even work properly. Thanks in advance." top
Elledan writes "As a relatively new start-up company (2 years of planning and developing software in preparation) which aims to produce everything from games to custom software, we have now reached the stage where we've started full-scale work on our first games and are finding that a few extra hands might be really useful, especially with time-intensive tasks like 3D modelling and sounds. The issue, however, is that we do not have money to hire anyone with at this point. The people I work with are all students and thus have a source of income at this point. We all spend time on our projects out of dedication and the hopefully imminent increase in revenue. To increase our workforce we'd have to find more people like us. Problem is where? As the Slashdot community mostly consists out of people who love to tinker in their spare time, I thought that you might know:)" Link to Original Source top
Expanding from software into hardware development?
Elledan writes "As the owner of a currently software development-only company which is looking into expanding around next year into the hardware side of things, particularly robotics (personal, industrial etc.) and related areas, a lot of questions have to be answered. Especially regarding investments (developing hardware is expensive) and secrecy (joint ventures, even with NDAs are risky). There is also the issue with attracting people with the desired skills. We'd be developing a lot of new technologies based on our own ideas, so the key is to keep the risks low while maximizing innovation and efficiency.
Does anyone here have experience with similar expansions or just useful tips which might help us avoid gotchas? Thanks in advance." top
Elledan writes "The reason why I'm writing this is because I think that you, as well as other Slashdot readers may be able to assist me in what I consider to be a rather grave issue.
First of all some facts: since 2005 I have suspected my birth defect and as of December 2007 it has been confirmed via MRI. My birth defect is called intersexuality, specifically semi-hermaphroditism. This means that I've got both (partial) female and male reproductive organs, while being infertile. The male side isn't fully developed, but more so than the female side, which even has the labia merged, which made detection so hard in the first place.
My problems are that the medical specialists here in the Netherlands haven't taken me seriously for the past 3.5 years, I have to pay for all tests and medicines, still am officially registered as being male, and generally that I feel handicapped and abandoned by everyone and everything.
At this point I've been in around seven hospitals in the Netherlands and have seen nearly as many specialists. In two weeks I've got another appointment with an endocrinologist who at this point knows nothing about my case. It takes them months to analyze the German MRI images I had to pay for myself, and I have been accused of being a liar as well as insane. It still seems ages away before I can get what I want: acknowledgement, treatment (surgery, to become 'normal' female) and a corrected birth certificate.
Meanwhile my situation keeps degrading, especially emotionally. While I won't claim to be right on the verge of committing suicide, my thoughts do stray in that direction far too often for my liking. Obviously I can't concentrate on my work very well which, since I've got my own company, has brought me to the edge of bankruptcy. Putting myself over the medical issues doesn't work anymore for over a year now and psychologists have made my issues only worse. The national media seems to have no interest for my issue either.
Essentially I just want this issue to be resolved. I want the things I desire, I want to get my life back, I don't want to feel like an unwanted freak anymore. To this point I've only known disappointments and pain, whereby the MRI scan which I had performed in Germany was the only point of light. I really wouldn't mind going to Germany or any other sane country for my treatment. As long as I get some certainty before I turn 25 later this year.
Any help would be more than welcome. More information can be found on my personal site at MayaPosch.com (not linked to prevent server-meltdown), which also links to my blog at http://mayaposch.blogspot.com/. Thank you for your time reading this no doubt confusing post."