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Phurge (1112105) writes "Excavating a basement using professional machinery is nothing new but doing it with radio controlled (RC) scaled models is something unheard of. Welcome to the little big world of Joe, from Saskatchewan, Canada.
For the past 7 years (!), Joe has been digging out his basement at an average annual rate of 8 to 9 cubic feet using nothing more than RC tractors and trucks!
And we're talking about the whole nine yards here — he starts by transporting the excavator on an RC truck to the basement, unloads it, digs and uses other trucks to transfer the dirt up to the ground through a spiral ramp! He even has a miniature rock crusher!
"I feel quite fortunate to have stumbled onto this basement excavation idea, it's been a great past time to date dreaming up new ideas to tackle different projects along the way," Joe wrote on the Scale4x4rc forums where he also posted pictures and videos of his feat" Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes "Barnes & Noble has done the world a tremendous favor, by pulling aside the curtain and revealing Microsoft's patent campaign tactics against Android in lurid detail.
It reveals the assertion of "trivial" and "invalid" patents against Barnes & Noble and some shocking details about an "oppressive" license agreement that would have controlled hardware and software design features that Microsoft presented, thus limiting to what degree Barnes & Noble could offer upgrades and improved features to its customers if it had signed it, features it says none of Microsoft's patents cover. Microsoft worked so hard to keep it all secret, and I think you'll see why. It's ugly behind that curtain.
The patents, we read, "cover only arbitrary, outmoded and non-essential design features" and yet Microsoft is demanding "prohibitively expensive licensing fees", in effect asserting "veto power" over Android's features. One aspect of the license, Barnes & Noble tells us, was a demand to control design elements, requiring designers to adhere to specific hardware and software specifications in order to obtain a license. That, Barnes & Noble says, is "oppressive and anticompetitive". I think it's accurate to say that the company believes it is illegal.
Barnes & Noble asserts that Microsoft is attempting "to use patents to drive open source software out of the market," saying it, in essence, is acting like a patent troll, threatening companies using Android with a destructive and anticompetitive choice: pay Microsoft exorbitant rates for patents, some trivial and others ridiculously invalid or clearly not infringed, or spend a fortune on litigation." Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes "AOL Inc. is buying TechCrunch for as much as $40 million in a high-profile partnership that weds the struggling Internet giant trying to reclaim its former glory with one of the more influential blogs in the technology industry.
AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong joined TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington onstage Tuesday to make the announcement at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.
Arrington, 40, an outspoken entrepreneur who built a hobby chronicling the rise and fall of young companies into a Silicon Valley powerhouse, said San Francisco-based TechCrunch would operate as a subsidiary and retain its distinctive editorial direction. AOL's Armstrong, who is hiring hundreds of writers to create original news content and snapping up content companies to capture more users and advertisers, said the TechCrunch purchase would give AOL "a much larger tech presence." AOL already operates Engadget, a TechCrunch competitor, which it bought in 2005.
Phurge (1112105) writes "TEN years of suicide data after John Howard's decision to ban and then buy back 600,000 semi-automatic rifles and shotguns has had a stunning effect.
The buyback cut firearm suicides by 74 per cent, saving 200 lives a year, according to research to be published in The American Law and Economics Review.
A former Australian Treasury economist, Christine Neill, now with Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, said she found the research result so surprising she tried to redo her calculations on the off chance the total could have been smaller.
''I fully expected to find no effect at all,'' she told the Herald. ''That we found such a big effect and that it meshed with a range of other data was just shocking, completely unexpected.''" Link to Original Source top
When personal libraries are stored in the cloud, it becomes possible to retrieve this personal data and match it to a user identity. If the match is successful the song plays, but if not, access can be blocked through a network DRM system such as the one Lala patented (which is now owned by Apple)." Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes "Google has agreed to take down links to a website that promotes racist views of indigenous Australians.
Aboriginal man Steve Hodder-Watt recently discovered the US-based site by searching "Aboriginal and Encyclopedia" in the search engine.
His lawyer, George Newhouse, said the site was "one of the most offensive sorts of racial vilification you could possibly find".
"It portrays indigenous Australians in the most unsavoury light possible, and you wouldn't want a child stumbling across it," he told ABC Radio.
Mr Newhouse said Google agreed to take the link down after he filed an official complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Note: it appears the search terms "Aboriginal and Encyclopedia" were edited so that ED would not show up in search results, rather than the whole site being removed from Google's index" top
Phurge writes "When Princeton announced its Kindle e-reader pilot program last May, administrators seemed cautiously optimistic that the e-readers would both be sustainable and serve as a valuable academic tool. But less than two weeks after 50 students received the free Kindle DX e-readers, many of them said they were dissatisfied and uncomfortable with the devices.
âoeI hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse of an academic tool,â said Aaron Horvath, a student in Civil Society and Public Policy. âoeItâ(TM)s clunky, slow and a real pain to operate.â
âoeMuch of my learning comes from a physical interaction with the text: bookmarks, highlights, page-tearing, sticky notes and other marks representing the importance of certain passages â" not to mention margin notes, where most of my paper ideas come from and interaction with the material occurs,â he explained. âoeAll these things have been lost, and if not lost theyâ(TM)re too slow to keep up with my thinking, and the âfeaturesâ(TM) have been rendered useless.â" Link to Original Source top
A Stick Figure Guide to the Advanced Encryption St
Phurge writes "If you've always wondered how AES — the Advanced Encryption Standard, the gold-standard for crypto — works, and if you enjoy explanations in stick-figure cartoon form, you are in luck, for Moserware's "A Stick Figure Guide to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)" is funny, lucid and fascinating." Link to Original Source top
Build solar power stations in the Sahara desert and transport the electricity produced to Europe using high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) cables. It is simple in theory, but hard in practice--and very, very costly. But it is a carbon-dioxide-free way of making a lot of electricity, and a collecting area the size of Austria could supply the world.
A meeting on July 13th might get the ball rolling. Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurance company, has invited 20 large companies (including Siemens, Germany's engineering giant; power suppliers RWE and E.ON; and Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest) to join it in forming a consortium called Desertec. If all goes well, this will eventually build a legion of solar power stations in Africa and Arabia, and connect them to Europe.
Phurge (1112105) writes ""The good stuff on Slashdot is still very good, but perhaps the site is past its best. Although it has expanded beyond the nerd ghetto into politics and YRO (Your Rights Online), the site has been superseded by newcomers such as Digg and Reddit, Techmeme and Tailrank and other sources of news links"
"It's still the primary place for nerds to discuss news. However, as the internet grows, the proportion of nerds declines, and so does Slashdot's relative importance."" Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes "Are chip makers building electronic trapdoors in key military hardware? The Pentagon is making its biggest effort yet to find out.
"Recognizing this enormous vulnerability, the DOD recently launched its most ambitious program yet to verify the integrity of the electronics that will underpin future additions to its arsenal. In January, the Trust program started its prequalifying rounds by sending to three contractors four identical versions of a chip that contained unspecified malicious circuitry. The teams have until the end of this month to ferret out as many of the devious insertions as they can." Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes ""Where are the flying cars?! They promised me flying cars!" That was the infamous lament of actor Avery Brooks in a popular IBM commercial a few years back and he has a point. Where are the flying cars? Well, we've seen many announcements that they're coming with the most famous is the Moller Sky Car. Now it seems that with losing over 40 million in development costs, even Moller executives are leery about the prospects for the future of their flying car." Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes "IBM says it has dreamed up a new method for profiting from its vast storehouse of patents. And by the way, the company wants to patent the idea.
Beyond the circularity of the concept, IBM's application is notable because the company — the world's top patent holder — has been campaigning to improve the quality of patent filings and reduce so-called "business method" patents.
The new patent application was initially filed in April 2006, updated last April and published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last Thursday. It covers what IBM calls "a system and methods for extracting value from a portfolio of assets, for example a patent portfolio."
Specifically, IBM — which collects more than $US1 billion in patent royalties every year — describes a new process for licensing patents. Instead of smaller companies licensing technologies from patent holders like IBM in a plodding, one-by-one manner, IBM envisions a more dynamic system with "floating privileges," in which patents could be licensed quickly, as needed.
The application says this floating privilege, once purchased, could be activated by a patent-infringement lawsuit. In other words, companies would buy the right to use a patent portfolio like IBM's as a legal shield for themselves — "just like purchasing a fire insurance policy," IBM's application contends." Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes "Savvy Internet fans in the people's republic have known for a long time, however, that there have been simple ways to get forbidden information. One of those ways was the magical gift of Real Simple Syndication, or RSS. The Great Firewall can block specific web sites all it wants, but as long as there's an RSS feed, many Chinese surfers can use feeds to access otherwise forbidden information.
Unfortunately, China appears to have finally gotten wise to RSS as of late — reports have been popping up from our readers and around the web of not being able to access FeedBurner RSS feeds as early as August of this year. More recent reports tell us that the PSB appears to have extended this block to all incoming URLs that begin with "feeds," "rss," and "blog," thus rendering the RSS feeds from many sites — including ones that aren't blocked in China, such as Ars Technica — useless." Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes "It is no wonder those touting m-commerce as the next big web thing tell us Japan is the future blueprint. "Japan is the world's high-tech testbed for a wide range of consumer electronic devices and systems — many of which never see the light of day in overseas markets," says Daniel Scuka, keitai guru and consultant for publishers Wireless Watch Japan. "So keeping up with developments here is vital to knowing what's going to hit Europe and the US 24 months in the future; doubly so with respect to mobile and wireless."
By offering the Japanese a multiplicity of services — and, very importantly, some very cool handsets to use them on — the operators have created what every western mobile service provider is dreaming of: a mobile lifestyle culture that keeps millions reaching for the mobile rather than the fixed internet." Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes ""A study of more than 1,000 mainly British and North American artists, spanning the era from Elvis Presley to rapper Eminem, found they were two to three times more likely to suffer a premature death than the general population."
"More than a quarter of all the deaths were related to drugs or alcohol abuse, the study in the Journal of Epidemial Community Health said.
"The paper clearly describes a population of rock and pop stars who are at a disproportionate risk of alcohol and drug-related deaths," said Mark Bellis, lead author of the study.
He said the study raised questions about the suitability of using rock stars for public health messages, such as anti-drug campaigns, when their own lifestyle was so dangerous.
"In the music industry, factors such as stress, changes from popularity to obscurity and exposure to environments where alcohol and drugs are easily available can all contribute to substance use, as well as other self-destructive behaviours," the report said"" Link to Original Source top
Phurge (1112105) writes "http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/veto-for-parents-on -web/2007/08/09/1186530535350.html
"Internet service providers will be forced to filter web content at the request of parents, under a $189 million Federal Government crackdown on online bad language, pornography and child sex predators"
"Today Mr Howard will hail the ISP filtering measure as a world first by any Government, and is expected to offer funding to help cover the cost. Parents will be able to request the ISP filter option when they sign up with an ISP. It will be compulsory to provide it.""