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Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

itamblyn Re:fMRI (552 comments)

fMRI will not be a home-based solution. It requires a _really_ big magnetic field. The hardware is big, costs millions of dollars, and is only available at hospitals / research centres.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

itamblyn Eye tracking + swipe? (552 comments)

On my android phone, I can type words by swiping between letters, rather than simply poking at them with my fingers. I'm amazed how well this tech works and how fast I can write with it.

I know that eye trackers exist (and that one can select letters by hovering over them) but does eye tracking + swipe exist? If it doesn't, it would be straightforward to prototype it easily (originally you had to buy it, but now it seems to be part of the main OS.

...actually, after a bit of googling it looks like others have thought of this:

Other human computer interaction options would be the various brain wave headsets which are now appearing (e.g. from google I see etc). They tend to be less accurate, but are probably useful for things like controlling the environment (lights on and off) etc. It wouldn't be difficult to interface them with some basic home automation hardware.

I would think that finding a mix off input devices would be ideal in terms of preventing fatigue.

Once a bit of time has passed, you might consider spending some time looking through the faculty pages at your local University's CS Department. Get in contact with them. There is a lot of work (and funds) going on into HCI right now. This seems like the type of project that would get a lot of support from graduate students and faculty.

Please come back to us with a follow-up post. Don't forget to include a fundraising link for equipment costs. I would certainly contribute.

about 4 months ago

Google Announces "Classroom"

itamblyn Not until there is a guarantee of LTS (143 comments)

I will not try this nor recommend it until Google states clearly that this service will be maintained for X years. I understand that nothing is forever, but too many projects have been created by Google only to be abandoned within 2-3 years.

about 4 months ago

Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

itamblyn If only there was a country to the North... (870 comments)

If only there was a country to the North with which to compare. Minimum wage in Canada is north (heh :) of $10 everywhere except in Alberta where it is $9.95. I can assure you we do not have robot janitors and our coffee and fast food is served by humans. The economies and purchasing power of the two countries are similar enough it's a valid comparison. While there clearly must be a point at which labour costs outweigh purchase + operating costs of automated solutions, for the types of jobs being discussed here, the break point is not $10/hour.

about 6 months ago

Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

itamblyn S != T != E != M (491 comments)

A large part of the problem stems (heh :) from the fact that the disciplines are not interchangeable. Policy makers typically do not have backgrounds in _any_ of the fields, so they see little distinction between a computer science student, software engineer, math, physics, etc. While we can all agree that those disciplines are technical in nature, the fact is you do not learn the same set of skills. When employers say then need more STEM grads, they aren't looking for a generic chemistry or biology student. They want a C++ coder, or they want someone that can build an antenna, or someone that can operate a mass spec. The learning outcomes from different STEM degrees are vastly different. Notwithstanding issues related to wages, H1-B etc, the acronym itself is a big part of the problem.

about 7 months ago

More Details About Mars Mystery Rock

itamblyn It was a janitor (180 comments)

The whole thing is being shot in a Hollywood studio. A night janitor was goofing around with the set and didn't put things back properly. Happens all the time.

about 8 months ago

Chrome's Insane Password Security Strategy

itamblyn I should be able to log in and out of Chrome (482 comments)

Currently I am able to log in and out of gmail on a friend's laptop without any (reasonable) fear that my email will keep living on that machine (and is unencrypted). Obviously keyloggers etc could grab my password, but let's assume I'm not _that_ paranoid.

I do not have this option with the Chrome browser itself. At best, I can log into Chrome (and am encouraged to do so at first startup) and at the end of the session, I can delete the profile (rm -rf .config/google-chrome). This certainly deals with the problem, but is pretty clunky. The should be a login / logout feature to the browser, not just my email.

Compare this to Chrome OS. Here the functionality is built in; you don't have to delete your user account at the end of every session. Encrypted files are stored on the local drive which you can then access the next time you log in. It's quick and painless. This needs to be built into the standard Chrome browser.

about a year ago

Smithsonian Releases 128-Year-Old Recording of Alexander Graham Bell

itamblyn It wasn't just the Smithsonian (122 comments)

From the article: "The audio was recovered by a team of scholars consisting of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicist Carl Haber, National Museum of American History curator Carlene Stephens and Library of Congress digital conversion specialist Peter Alyea, among others." See also here:

about a year ago

Why Girls Do Better At School

itamblyn ...and yet (690 comments)

they get paid 81 cents on the dollar.

about a year and a half ago

$50 Sound Cards Impress Versus Integrated Audio

itamblyn Distance from the power supply (245 comments)

Most of the improvement is likely due to increased distance between the amplification circuits and the noisy AC/DC power supply.

more than 2 years ago

Google Unveils New Search Features, Including iOS Voice Search

itamblyn Re:Anti-competitve practices (96 comments)

I'm sorry, but no. That argument doesn't make any sense. Microsoft was forced into providing that nag screen simply because courts move slower than technology. Fighting against Internet Explorer was the tech world's bizarre attempt to show Redmond they couldn't push everyone (read Netscape) around. Somewhere along the way, someone got mad that they couldn't uninstall a piece of software which _they_ personally deemed to be unrelated to the underlying OS. Flash forward, and now companies have their entire business based solely around the browser. MS built Internet Explorer into the core of the operating system because they knew it was a big deal. Did you really have that much trouble downloading and installing another browser next to IE? Really?

Now, related to your arbitrary and questionable definition of a monopoly, are you actually telling us that in the old days there was no alternative to Windows (*cough* *cough* Macintosh)? There was "no choice"?? And you would also like us to believe that Apple doesn't own the tablet market today? Apple prides itself on having a completely closed ecosystem. If we follow their model of "don't allow applications which duplicate functionality", then IE should still be the only browser allowed on Windows machines...

The only reason they haven't been hit for anti-competitive practices is because their marketing department, including Jobs, have always made the company seem like the scrappy outsider. Google looked that way at one point as well. Apple's time will come. It's inevitable.

more than 2 years ago

Images Show Apollo Moon Flags Still Standing

itamblyn Too bad (206 comments)

If it had fallen over, that would have been a good excuse to go back and fix it.

more than 2 years ago

New Study Suggests Wind Farms Can Cause Climate Change

itamblyn Parking lot (384 comments)

What are the numbers for a parking lot outside of Walmart? A small local change is not an unreasonable tradeoff for clean power.

more than 2 years ago

Instant Messaging With Neutrinos

itamblyn High frequency trading (262 comments)

The first person who figures out how to do this reliably will make a huge profit. There are already undersea cables which exist for the sole purpose of reducing latency between NY and UK stock exchanges. Neutrinos going _through_ the earth (arriving at the Nikkei for instance) would have a significantly shorter time of flight and would give traders a massive advantage.

more than 2 years ago

US Army Completes First Test Flight of Mach 6 Weapon

itamblyn They wanted it because it's NOT nuclear (230 comments)

I remember reading several months ago that this was being developed in response to the Al-Qaeda leadership hunting that was going on in Afghanistan. Apparently there were cases where the U.S. had intel (via satellite) about targets, and the only option that would have been fast enough to be useful was nuclear (and therefore was not an option). This weapon allows the U.S. to deploy the equivalent of a conventional aerial strike without the time required for a plane / drone to fly there.

about 2 years ago



Is MS cheating on its own HTML 5 test?

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 3 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes "I just upgraded to the IE 9 RC and decided to see how it did on HTML 5 speed tests compared to the most recent dev channel build of Chrome (11.0.672.2). The result was more than x3 faster performance by IE (using a test created by MS in fairness). Interestingly though, the images and text were somewhat blurry, as if it wasn't being rendered at the full resolution of the window. Is this "legal"? Is Chrome losing because it's not cutting corners, or is this trick fair game and Chrome should be doing it as well. If you have a windows machine, you can do the comparison yourself here:"

Small island hints at big problem

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

itamblyn writes "BBC is reporting that a small island South of Bangladesh has "disappeared" — underwater. Rising sea levels have solved a longstanding territorial dispute between India and Bangladesh, but hint at a larger issue that would seem to extend beyond just these two countries' interests. Hopefully everyone brought rubber boots to work today."
Link to Original Source

On-Off Switch for Nanoscale devices proposed

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 5 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes "Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Columbia University are studying how electrons flow through a molecular junction-a nanometer scale circuit element that contacts gold atoms with a single molecule. Their findings reveal the electrical resistance through this junction can be turned 'on' and 'off' simply by pushing and pulling the junction-a feature that could be used as a switch in nanoscale electronic devices."
Link to Original Source

Net neturality bill tabled in Canadian Parliment

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 6 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes " is reporting the a private members bill will be introduced in the Canadian Parliament today focusing on net neutrality. From the article: "The New Democratic Party's Charlie Angus told the cheering crowd that the private member's bill would protect Canadian consumers from having their internet speeds 'throttled' by service providers. 'You are citizens of a digital realm and you have rights,' he said.""
Link to Original Source

'$100 laptop' platform moves on

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 6 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes "An independent effort to develop the software originally designed for the $100 (XO) laptop has been launched. Sugar Labs will take the laptop's innovative interface, known as Sugar, to the "next level of usability and utility", according to its founders. It is intended that the free software will be made available on other PCs, such as the popular Asus Eee. "We will continue to work with OLPC but we will also work with other manufacturers," explained Sugar Labs founder Walter Bender. "Hopefully it will mean that these ideas will get out there faster and to a broader community.""
Link to Original Source

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 7 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes "A new sci-fi show is set to premier this spring...on the internets. Sanctuary will star Amanda Tapping (Sam Carter — SG1), and will feature guest appearances from other Vancouver based actors ;) Gateworld has an interview with executive producer Damian Kindler, also of SG1 and Atlantis. The series will be shot entirely with green screen, and there is talk of an interactive gaming experience."


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