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Comments

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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

Fnord666 Bennett Haselton (513 comments)

I would ask for a Bennett Haselton section but Timothy wouldn't repost this guy's blog posts in there anyway, so never mind.

yesterday
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Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code

Fnord666 Code Academies (143 comments)

This is the sort of thing that you can expect when you put developers through a whirlwind coding course. They learn to use library after library without understanding the ramifications of their use. Need an ad network? Slap in a library. Need geolocation? Slap in a library. What you end up with are flashlight applications that want permission to read the low level system log. Then again, that's coding in the instant gratification world that we live and develop in today.

2 days ago
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How Stanford Engineers Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO

Fnord666 Re:Recompress the coefficients (89 comments)

Of course it's possible. JPEG encoding has three steps: cosine transform of each block (DCT), then quantization (where the loss happens), then coding. In JPEG, the coding involves a zig-zag order and a Huffman/RLE structure, and this isn't necessarily optimal. A lossless compressor specially tuned for JPEG files could decode the quantized coefficients and losslessly encode them in a more efficient manner, producing a file that saves a few percent compared to the equivalent JPEG bitstream. Then on decompression, it would decode these coefficients and reencode them back into a JPEG file.

I believe what they meant was that you would not be able to apply a lossless algorithm to the original data stream and achieve greater compression than applying a lossy algorithm. Your composite algorithm is just a more efficient lossy algorithm.

If we look at the original statement from an information theoretic point of view, the GP's statement should be easily understood. With a lossless algorithm, you have to encode all of the original information and restore it. Assuming an optimal encoding, it will still take a minimum number of bits to fully realize all of the original data on decompression. With a lossy encoding scheme, I can reduce the number of bits in the original stream before using the same optimal encoding. With fewer bits to represent it should be obvious that the encoded bitstream will always be smaller.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Get (or Share) News About Open Source Projects?

Fnord666 Timothy Strikes Again (85 comments)

Hey Timothy, have you ever noticed that submenu over on the left of the front page? You know, the one that lists the various sections that you can posts stories to? Ever notice that there is one called "Ask Slashdot", which just happens to match up exactly with the premise of this story, not to mention the title. Why don't you do all of us who filter by section a favor and try posting "Ask Slashdot" stories to the "Ask Slashdot" section every once in a while?
Thanks

3 days ago
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Private Data On iOS Devices Not So Private After All

Fnord666 Re:Horribly Inaccurate (100 comments)

So basically, this security "expert" found a way for a thief to enter my home through the backdoor, as long as the thief has the keys for my front door.

This security "expert" has a very solid background and street cred in the field of iOS forensics so I would not dismiss him so lightly.

3 days ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

Fnord666 Re:Transparency (139 comments)

I voted for Kodos.

I voted for Cthulhu. Why settle for a lesser evil?

4 days ago
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Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

Fnord666 Re:If dimples have this big an effect (136 comments)

Why aren't aircraft covered in them? 10% is a big difference in the aviation industry.

Because the wings generate lift by keeping the laminar airflow attached to the upper surface for as long as possible. Disrupting this would effectively reduce the functional surface area of the wing and produce a significant loss in efficiency.

4 days ago
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A Warm-Feeling Wooden Keyboard (Video)

Fnord666 Re:S'not Wooden (80 comments)

There are definitely many awful MicroUSB ports out there, but there are also high-quality MicroUSB ports out there. The price difference between a cheap MicroUSB port and a high-end one is several orders of magnitude. As _specced_ they're supposed to be rated for more insertion cycles than MiniUSB.

I guess the trick is finding a reliable source for high quality ports at a not unreasonable price. I am looking forward to seeing your crowdfunding campaign. How was the trip to Shenzen? I would think it would have been eye opening.

5 days ago
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A Warm-Feeling Wooden Keyboard (Video)

Fnord666 Re:S'not Wooden (80 comments)

When the production keyboards ship, they'll ship with a cord. (The same MicroUSB port charges the battery for the bluetooth controller, programs the keyboard and lets the keyboard be a regular USB keyboard)

Take a look at the first generation Kindle Fire Tablets for an example of how badly a microUSB port can be for something. Now if the microUSB port on the keyboard were user swappable that would be very handy. Then again, there is a nice cottage industry out there replacing Kindle Fire microUSB ports.

5 days ago
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A Warm-Feeling Wooden Keyboard (Video)

Fnord666 Re:good wood? (80 comments)

I probably wouldn't call it 'silly', though I have no problem with you doing so. I agree 100% that this is a niche product. I made one because I wanted one. We wouldn't be having a go of making a full production run if people didn't keep trying to buy our personal test units.

A couple of questions if you don't mind please. First, when will they become available for purchase? Second, will they be available at all in a kit form?
Thanks.

5 days ago
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Dungeons & Dragons' Influence and Legacy

Fnord666 Re:And all because a copyright expired! (127 comments)

Correlation does not equal causation. And you've left out how Gygax and Arneson were avid wargamers, and how the first ruleset of what would become D&D was an expansion (by Gygax) of a medieval rule set by Jeff Perren... and how Arneson (an avid player of Napoleonic figures based wargames) further expanded on the concept.

Ah yes. I fondly remember playing Chainmail. In fact, I still have my rule book as well as the three book set for the original Dungeons and Dragons.

Actually I originally got started playing such games at an individual level (as opposed to a unit level) thanks to Howard Thompson at Metagaming Concepts. A group of us were playing a lot of the microgames from Metagaming such as Ogre, GEV, WarpWar and Chitin:I when we found the microgames Melee, Wizard, and Death Test by Metagaming. Inexpensive and pocket sized, they were great to carry with you and play whenever the opportunity presented itself. They were the CheapAss Games of the 1970s. In the Labyrinth, Advanced Melee and Advanced Wizard formed The Fantasy Trip and added the necessary RPG aspects to the series for many adventures. After the dustup between Thompson and Steve Jackson, our group ended up switching to Advanced D&D for several years after that. It was too bad since I really liked TFT.

about two weeks ago
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FTC To Trap Robocallers With Open Source Software

Fnord666 Re:Ah, how adorable... (125 comments)

To this day I still do not understand what makes this such a difficult and complex issue to tackle.

I don't see why it can't be as simple as: Spam call comes in, I dial a report number, telecom system flags the call and the origin. After 10 reports, 100 reports, that number is blocked. Further outgoing calls from the number are directed to a message to contact a fraud line to get the number reinstated. The longer a number has belonged to a legitimate company, the more immunity it is granted by the system to prevent abuses from angry consumers. The shorter the number has been in service, the more scrunity it is under.

Are the robocallers really able to shield their call origins from the telecoms? That just seems like such a ridiculous concept.

Let me help you out a bit with this. The thing is, those same telecoms that should be able to put a stop to this? They make money on every call. They have absolutely no incentive to do a damn thing about it except sell you caller id (for an extra fee) and the telemarketers the ability to fake their caller id (for an extra fee).
When in doubt, follow the money. Ask yourself who profits if something is done about a situation and who loses.

about two weeks ago
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Point-of-Sale System Bought On eBay Yields Treasure Trove of Private Data

Fnord666 Re:SSN on POS? (68 comments)

Full-featured POS systems can handle things like payroll, invoicing, inventory/food ordering, bill payment, appointment reminders for customers, etc.

Yep. They're called Integrated Payment Platforms or Integrated Payment Systems and they're all the rage right now.

about two weeks ago
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Source Code Leaked For Tinba Banking Trojan

Fnord666 For those who are interested (75 comments)

For those who are interested, here is a link to the post on opensc that contains the source code download. You will need to register for an account before downloading.

about two weeks ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

Fnord666 Re:Not a rule (199 comments)

I wonder where crop dusting comes into play under these rules?

about two weeks ago
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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

Fnord666 The Natural Stopping Point (353 comments)

I suppose the natural stopping point might be the balance between an individual's willingness to be monitored and the desire to reduce insurance premiums.

Possibly, although the cynic in me says that the natural stopping point will be when the insurance companies require that you be monitored or they will not provide you with insurance.

about three weeks ago
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Algorithm-Generated Articles Won't Kill the Journalism Star

Fnord666 Is the algorithm called... (29 comments)

Is the algorithm called Hasselton v0.1 by any chance?

about three weeks ago
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Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

Fnord666 Re:Profit before subsidy? (247 comments)

I just did the calculation for myself, and compared to my $15k 40mpg Hyundai, and given the amount of gas I go through on a weekly basis, if I pay sticker price for the model E it will be just about at the break even point. Any subsidy is just gravy. My current car is only 2 years old, so I won't be in the market for a while, but I'll definitely take a long hard look at a Tesla when I am.

Don't forget to factor in maintenance where the all electric vehicle will be cheaper. The estimated cost for 4 years of maintenance on a Tesla S is $1900. Compare that to $3316 for the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and $3417 for the regular Hyundai Sonata. Maintenance costs for the Hyundais are from cars.com's "Cost of Ownership" page for each model. Maintenance costs for the Tesla are from Tesla motors. For more equitable "levels" of cars, the Hyundai Equus has a 4 year maintenance cost exceeding $6000.

about three weeks ago
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Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

Fnord666 Re:What about range on this smaller car? (247 comments)

(Honestly I think he just likes driving a big ass truck, and the boat is an excuse.)

I think somebody is compensating for something.

about three weeks ago
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Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

Fnord666 Re:What about range on this smaller car? (247 comments)

There's a limit to how many amps you can dump in a battery without severely shortening its capacity to hold a charge (not withstanding the heat and other problems related to running hundreds of amps on a connector)

That and the fact that you have people who forget to remove the nozzle before leaving the gas station. How many of these people will a supercharging station fry?

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Google acquires Israeli security startup SlickLogin

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 5 months ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "SlickLogin, an Israeli startup and developer of smart identification technology through user smartphones has been acquired by Google for several million (the official transaction amount remains undisclosed). SlickLogin was founded under a year ago by Or Zelig, Eran Galili and Ori Kabeli. The company first unveiled its technology at TechCrunch Disrupt held last September. the company has yet to launch their product nor have they any customers to date."
Link to Original Source
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Incredible 3D GIFs Created with a Simple Visual Effect

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 5 months ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "Animated gifs seem to be everywhere these days, but some gif creators are taking the visual experience of viewing quick clips of silent motion to another level. By carefully adding a couple of solid-colored (typically white), vertical lines to the moving images, an incredible three-dimensional effect is created. As characters and objects move into the foreground, they seemingly extend beyond the barrier of the image."
Link to Original Source
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Nation's most notorious "troll" sues federal government

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 6 months ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "MPHJ Technology Investments quickly became one of the best-known "patent trolls" of all time by sending out thousands of letters to small businesses—16,465 of them, we now know—saying that if the business did not pay a licensing fee of $1,000 or more per worker, it would be sued for patent infringement. MPHJ claimed to have patents that cover any networked "scan-to-email" function.

As the debate over so-called "patent trolls" has flared up in Congress, MPHJ became the go-to example for politicians and attorneys general trying to show that patent abuse has spun out of control. "We're talking about bottom feeders," said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in one Senate hearing focused on patent demand letters.

We now know that MPHJ has also become the first patent troll targeted by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC's interest in MPHJ was revealed in an audacious "preemptive strike" lawsuit that MPHJ actually filed against the FTC on Monday. The suit, which names the four sitting FTC commissioners personally, says that the agency has overstepped its bounds and trampled on MPHJ's constitutional rights."

Link to Original Source
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Court Strikes Down FCC Open Internet Order

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 6 months ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order. In its decision, the court said that the FCC lacked the authority to implement and enforce its rules under the legal framework the agency put forth.

The FCC’s 2010 order was intended to prevent broadband Internet access providers from blocking or interfering with traffic on the Web. Instead of reversing a Bush-era FCC decision that weakened the FCC’s authority over broadband, and establishing solid legal footing for its rules, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski pushed for rules under the complicated legal framework the court rejected today."

Link to Original Source
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Hackers Steal Card Data from Neiman Marcus

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 7 months ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "Another day another data breach. Apparently high end retailer Neiman Marcus has also suffered a breach of credit card data. Krebs on Security has the news:.
"Responding to inquiries about a possible data breach involving customer credit and debit card information, upscale retailer Neiman Marcus acknowledged today that it is working with the U.S. Secret Service to investigate a hacker break-in that has exposed an unknown number of customer cards.""

Link to Original Source
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AllThingsD co-founders launch new tech site, Re/code.

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 7 months ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "The founders of popular technology website AllThingsD have launched a new digital news and review website after parting ways with Dow Jones back in September.

The site, Re/code, was announced on Thursday by co-founders Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. The site and conference, which will be called Code, are to be managed by Revere Digital LLC, which received investments from the NBCUniversal News Group as well as Windsor Media, founded by former Yahoo chairman and CEO Terry Semel. The first conference under the new company will be held in late May outside Los Angeles."

Link to Original Source
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Secret New UAS Shows Stealth, Efficiency Advances

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 8 months ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "A large, classified unmanned aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman is now flying—and it demonstrates a major advance in combining stealth and aerodynamic efficiency. Defense and intelligence officials say the secret unmanned aerial system (UAS), designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, is scheduled to enter production for the U.S. Air Force and could be operational by 2015.

Funded through the Air Force’s classified budget, the program to build this new UAS, dubbed the RQ-180, was awarded to Northrop Grumman after a competition that included Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The aircraft will conduct the penetrating ISR mission that has been left unaddressed, and under wide debate, since retirement of the Lockheed SR-71 in 1998."

Link to Original Source
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Twitter Implements Forward Secrecy for Connections

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 8 months ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "Twitter has enabled Perfect Forward Secrecy across its mobile site, website and API feeds in order to protect against future cracking of the service’s encryption. The PFS method ensures that, if the encryption key Twitter uses is cracked in the future, all of the past data transported through the network does not become an open book right away.

“If an adversary is currently recording all Twitter users’ encrypted traffic, and they later crack or steal Twitter’s private keys, they should not be able to use those keys to decrypt the recorded traffic,” says Twitter’s Jacob Hoffman-Andrews. “As the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out, this type of protection is increasingly important on today’s Internet.”"

Link to Original Source
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Apple, betrayed by its own law firm

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about a year ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "When a company called FlatWorld Interactives LLC filed suit against Apple just over a year ago, it looked like a typical "patent troll" lawsuit against a tech company, brought by someone who no longer had much of a business beyond lawsuits.
Court documents unsealed this week reveal who's behind FlatWorld, and it's anything but typical. FlatWorld is partly owned by the named inventor on the patents, a Philadelphia design professor named Slavko Milekic. But 35 percent of the company has been quietly controlled by an attorney at one of Apple's own go-to law firms, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. E-mail logs show that the attorney, John McAleese, worked together with his wife and began planning a wide-ranging patent attack against Apple's touch-screen products in January 2007—just days after the iPhone was revealed to the world."

Link to Original Source
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FBI Pursuing Real-Time Gmail Spying Powers as "Top Priority" for 2013

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about a year ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "Despite the pervasiveness of law enforcement surveillance of digital communication, the FBI still has a difficult time monitoring Gmail, Google Voice, and Dropbox in real time. But that may change soon, because the bureau says it has made gaining more powers to wiretap all forms of Internet conversation and cloud storage a “top priority” this year."
Link to Original Source
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Researchers Demonstrate 3D Spy Trojan for Mobile Phones

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 2 years ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "Researchers at the University of Indiana at Bloomington and the Crane Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) created a program to use a phone's camera to take surreptitious pictures of its surroundings, weed out poor photos, and send the remaining stills back to be used to construct a 3D model of the environment. Called PlaceRaider, the project shows that virtual thieves and spies could identify and steal information from a remote location, the researchers said in a paper posted online on Sept. 26."
Link to Original Source
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Research Shows Half of All Androids Contain Known Vulnerabilities

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 2 years ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "According to an article on threatpost, the Kaspersky Lab Security News Service, "About half of all Android phones contain at least one vulnerability that could be used to take control of the device, according to new research. Duo Security, which launched a free vulnerability scanning app for Android this summer, said their preliminary data from users shows a huge number of the devices are vulnerable to at least one of the known Android flaws.""
Link to Original Source
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Novel text analysis uses PageRank to identify influential Victorian authors

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 2 years ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "A literature professor has developed software using Google's PageRank algorithm that has identified Jane Austen and Walter Scott as the most influential authors of the 1800s.

Matthew Jockers of the University of Nebraska analysed 3,592 digitized novels published in the UK, Ireland and the US between 1780 and 1900 using a combination of Google's algorithm, machine learning and a series of techniques used in computational text analysis including stylometry, corpus linguistics and network analysis."

Link to Original Source
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US-CERT discloses security flaw in Intel chips

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has disclosed a flaw in Intel chips that could allow hackers to gain control of Windows and other operating systems, security experts say.

The flaw was disclosed the vulnerability in a security advisory released this week. Hackers could exploit the flaw to execute malicious code with kernel privileges, said a report in the Bitdefender blog.

"Some 64-bit operating systems and virtualization software running on Intel CPU hardware are vulnerable to a local privilege escalation attack," the US-CERT advisory says. "The vulnerability may be exploited for local privilege escalation or a guest-to-host virtual machine escape.""

Link to Original Source
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New Twist On Ancient Math Problem Could Improve Medicine, Microelectronics

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "A hidden facet of a math problem that goes back to Sanskrit scrolls has just been exposed by nanotechnology researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Connecticut.

Called the "filling problem," it seeks the best way to cover the inside of an object with a particular shape, such as filling a triangle with discs of varying sizes. Unlike the traditional packing problem, the discs can overlap. It also differs from the "covering problem" because the discs can't extend beyond the triangle's boundaries."

Link to Original Source
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A new approach to motion capture

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "Traditional motion capture techniques use cameras to meticulously record the movements of actors inside studios, enabling those movements to be translated into digital models. But by turning the cameras around — mounting almost two dozen, outward-facing cameras on the actors themselves — scientists at Disney Research, Pittsburgh (DRP), and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have shown that motion capture can occur almost anywhere — in natural environments, over large areas and outdoors."
Link to Original Source
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VAT to be implemented in the US?

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes ""Have you heard about the value-added tax (VAT), a horrible new tariff Americans will soon have to shoulder? The alarm is sounding on the conservative Web site Townhall.com, in the editorials of The Wall Street Journal, and on the opinion pages of The Washington Post (as well as in the pages of NEWSWEEK): consumers can expect to soon see the feared VAT sneaked into price tags nationwide.""
Link to Original Source
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Toktumi releases Line2 VoIP app

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes ""For a little $1 iPhone app, Line2 sure has the potential to shake up an entire industry. It can save you money. It can make calls where AT&T’s signal is weak, like indoors. It can turn an iPod Touch into a full-blown cellphone. And it can ruin the sleep of cellphone executives everywhere.

Line2 gives your iPhone a second phone number — a second phone line, complete with its own contacts list, voice mail, and so on.""

Link to Original Source
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Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Fnord666 (889225) writes "According to an article in tgdaily, Best Buy Burbank has given the boot to the ten people waiting for the Sony PlayStation 3 launch. According to our sources in the line, Best Buy kicked the group off property on Friday afternoon November 10th. ...The group was in high spirits Wednesday night when we interviewed them for our "PS3 fans quit jobs and postpone engagement to wait in line " article. At that time they seemed to have the full support of Best Buy and several employees walked by to chat with the group. ...It's unknown if the call to move the campers was a Best Buy corporate decision or if instructions came down from the Empire Center, the mall where Best Buy Burbank is located, property management. Calls to the Best Buy corporate offices and Best Buy Burbank went unanswered."
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Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Fnord666 writes "On Monday, interface developer Synaptics, together with Pilotfish, an industrial design company, announced a keyless prototype of a mobile phone that is all screen — all touch pad screen, to be exact. ..."Device manufacturers want to have larger and larger LCDs, so suddenly you need to have a touch input system on top of the LCD — and that's what we're suggesting here," said Mandi Mena, senior corporate marketing manager for Synaptics. ...This creates new possibilities such as assigning functions to two-finger taps, closing tasks by swiping an "X" over them, performing drag and drop applications, and answering the phone by simply pressing it next to your face. ...The two companies worked together to develop the phone, which uses Synaptics' ClearPad touch screen technology and interaction design with Pilotfish's user interface and industrial design. ..."We see the enabled ClearPad technology as something that can be applicable to remote controls or any sort of handheld device that is experiencing the same content overload that mobile phones are experiencing today," Mena said."

Journals

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D&D Cofounder Dave Arneson has died

Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  more than 5 years ago "APOLIS -- Dave Arneson, one of the co-creators of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game and a pioneer of role-playing entertainment, died after a two-year battle with cancer, his family said Thursday. He was 61. Arneson and Gary Gygax developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys. It eventually was turned into video games, books and movies. Gygax died in March 2008." - The Huffington Post

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Fnord666 Fnord666 writes  |  about 6 years ago This article on macworld is just a waste of server space. I especially like the second editor,

who's as gung-ho about the iPhone 3G as ever.

Apparently he has not one, but two 1st gen iPhones, yet he can't even get signal most of the time! He doesn't use text messaging, so why does he even have the thing? He could just as easily use an ipod touch and wifi to do everything else. Instead he is planning on getting an iphone 3G, which uses a faster network that he will get "the day before never". If this is the technical insight I can expect from macworld, I'm glad I don't subscribe.

In true Slashdot fashion, I'll just end with a question:

Why would anyone listen to this person?

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