Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest

Material Made From Crustaceans Could Combat Battlefield Blood Loss

Posted by SoulskillView
MTorrice writes: A foam composed of a polymer derived from crustacean shells may prevent more soldiers from falling victim to the most prolific killer on the battlefield: blood loss. Pressure is one of the best tools that medics have to fight bleeding, but they can't use it on severe wounds near organs. Here, compression could do more harm than good. First responders have no way to effectively dam blood flows from these non-compressible injuries, which account for the majority of hemorrhagic deaths. The new foam could help stop bleeding in these types of injuries. It relies on chitosan, a biopolymer that comes from processed crustacean shells. By modifying the chitosan, the developers gave the material the ability to anchor blood cells into gel-like networks, essentially forming blood clots. The researchers dispersed the modified chitosan in water to create a fluid they could spray directly onto noncompressible wounds.

Australian Government Outlines Website-Blocking Scheme

Posted by SoulskillView
angry tapir writes: The Australian government has revealed its (previously mooted) proposed legislation that will allow copyright holders to apply for court orders that will force ISPs to block access to pirate websites. It forms part of a broader Australian crackdown on online copyright infringement, which also includes a warning notice scheme for alleged infringers. They're not the only ones getting on board with website blocking — a judge in Spain ruled that local ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay.

Graphene Light Bulbs Coming To Stores Soon

Posted by SoulskillView
An anonymous reader writes: A light bulb made from graphene — said by its UK developers to be the first commercially viable consumer product using the super-strong carbon — is to go on sale later this year. The dimmable LED bulb with a graphene-coated filament was designed at Manchester University, where the material was discovered in 2004. It is said to cut energy use by 10% and last longer owing to its conductivity. It is expected to be priced lower than current LED bulbs, which cost about £15 (~$22) each.

What they are probably meaning:

By queazocotal • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

http://optics.org/news/6/2/6
http://www.nature.com/nmat/jou...

The writer of the original article should be shot, hung, shot, and then boiled.

It is riddled with so many inaccuracies that it's meaningless.
'10%' - yes - 10% is mentioned ' Our first devices already exhibit an extrinsic quantum efficiency of nearly 10% and the emission can be tuned over a wide range of frequencies by appropriately choosing and combining 2D semiconductors'
But going from that to LED efficiency is ridiculous.

It is comedically ridiculous to claim that it's going to result in products this year.

It's worth noting that the best existing 'warm white' LEDs bulbs can already produce about twice as much light per watt as compact florescent.
(if they are made with around double the normal number of LEDs and a more efficient power supply).

Cut energy use by WHAT?

By wisnoskij • Score: 3 • Thread
Is that 10% better than LED? And longer lasting than LED?

The Better, Longer Lasting, Cheaper Bulb

By wisnoskij • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Ya, they are totally going to release a cheaper product that outperforms the competition in all areas and has added features. That is totally how Capitalism works.
This is the first ever light bulb of this type. It will probably suck ass and cost $80 per bulb.

Measuring How Much "Standby Mode" Electricity For Game Consoles Will Cost You

Posted by SoulskillView
An anonymous reader writes: Modern game consoles have a "standby" mode, which you can use if you want the console to instantly turn on while not drawing full power the whole time it's idle. But manufacturers are vague about how much power it takes to keep the consoles in this standby state. After a recent press release claiming $250 million worth of electricity was used to power Xbox Ones in standby mode in the past year, Ars Technica decided to run some tests to figure out exactly how much power is being drawn. Their conclusions: the PS4 draws about 10 Watts, $10-11 in extra electricity charges annually. The Xbox One draws 12.9W, costing users $13-$14 in extra electricity charges annually. The Wii U draws 13.3W, costing users $14-$15 in extra electricity charges annually. These aren't trivial amounts, but they're a lot less than simply leaving the console running and shutting off the TV when you aren't using it: "Leaving your PS4 sitting on the menu like this all year would waste over $142 in electricity costs."

Re:Just disable it...

By toejam13 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

One problem with modern electronics is when the manufacturer figures that you're always going to put your device to sleep instead of fully powering it down, so they don't put much effort into optimizing the boot time from a cold power up.

Take for example desktop PCs. There are some motherboards where the firmware initialization is around two seconds. But I've seen it as high as fifteen seconds for a desktop motherboard and over a minute for a server motherboard, even when you have all of the options set to allow the fastest boot possible. That is a very wide difference from one motherboard to another.

When I read motherboard reviews, very rarely is boot time ever mentioned. So is this a chicken-vs-egg scenario where users don't care about cold boot times because they're happy with standby and hibernate modes? Or do users care, but it is so rarely reported that we always end up with motherboards that drive us to standby and hibernation modes?

Re:Waste is heat!

By toejam13 • Score: 4 • Thread

That's fine when you live in an Arctic wasteland, but a good portion of the world population lives in an area where the climate requires active cooling during the summer months. So that waste heat must either be removed using fans or air conditioning, which costs money.

When I lived in a cool city, my Core i7 930 and my wife's Phenom X4 955 were fine. But when I moved to a city where summer temps can exceed 40C, I replaced them with low power (S series) Haswell systems. My July electric bill went down 10% from the previous year. After selling the old equipment, the upgrades will pay for themselves in under 2 years.

Re:Waste is heat!

By JanneM • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's very inefficient to turn electricity into heat directly. If you wanted heating you'd be better off using a heat pump or other indirect means.

Re: What Would be a Trivial Amount?

By bzipitidoo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

10 watts is bad. It's also typical. Last time I checked, some 6 years ago, AT&T's U-verse DVR box used about 10 watts while on standby. While 10 watts at a cost of a dollar per month doesn't sound like much, it adds up. If you have 3 game consoles, 3 DVRs, and a bunch of wall warts for recharging cell phones and whatever other battery powered devices you have, you could be spending $10 per month. And why burn it if a better design can work just as well and not use so much energy?

I have done a lot to cut my power use. And it's made a big difference. Went from about 10,000 KwH per year to 5,000 KwH. You don't get there by ignoring 10 watts. I did it by living with higher temps in the summer and lower in the winter (83F and 68F respectively). That was the biggest. Even after that, heating and cooling is still by far my biggest energy user, accounting for about 50% of my total usage. Have always had heavy drapes. But it's always frustrated me just how bad the cookie cutter house I have is for keeping temperatures comfortable without wasting megawatts of energy. The moronic builders put the outdoor part of the A/C on the west side of the house. Those guys who want to sell the expensive double pane windows could never justify the price. 30 year payback? Not doing that. I changed all the incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent, and now am moving to LED, and would like to employ skylights. Have had too many times when the electricity went out while I was in the shower, leaving me in total darkness though it was daylight, as the bathroom is an interior room. A skylight would fix that, and save energy. I got low energy computers, basically laptop designs that were packaged as a desktop. My best one uses 30W max, and that only when running an intense 3D game. If playing video on Youtube, it takes 20W, and if just reading and writing email, it takes 10W. Even so, I have them set to go to sleep after 10 minutes and use almost no power. The best old style desktops with the classic +12/+5/-5 volt power supplies take around 80W. The 80plus program helped with those kinds of power supplies, but it's better to run off a single voltage as laptops do. Another big help was the move from CRTs to flat screens. A CRT uses from 50W to 120W, depending greatly on how bright an image it's displaying and the resolution. Early flat screens use 30W no matter what's being displayed, and now with LED backlighting, that's down to 20W. In 1996, refrigerators took a big leap forward in efficiency. Unfortunately, we had a 1995 model. Finally ditched it, and got one that's twice as efficient. Another appliance that used an unexpected high amount of power while off was the Maytag gas drier of all things. 5W while "off" and doing nothing! Felt warm to the touch on top.

Re: What Would be a Trivial Amount?

By Firethorn • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Not if they're 'energy star rated' Then the limit is less than 1 watt.

Russia Wants To Work With NASA On a New Space Station

Posted by SoulskillView
HughPickens.com writes with news that Russian officials are talking about working with NASA to build a new space station as a replacement for the ISS after its operations end in 2024. Igor Komarov, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, was unambiguous in his support for such a partnership. He added, "It will be an open project. It will feature not only the current members of the ISS." NASA, while careful not to discourage future cooperation, was not so enthusiastic. They said, "We are pleased Roscomos wants to continue full use of the International Space Station through 2024 -- a priority of ours -- and expressed interest in continuing international cooperation for human space exploration beyond that. The United States is planning to lead a human mission to Mars in the 2030s, and we have advanced that effort farther than at any point in NASA's history. We welcome international support for this ambitious undertaking." They reiterated that there are no formal agreements in place as of yet. These comments come as three crew members arrive at the ISS, two of whom will be up there for an entire year.

Re:Why do thei retire the ISS?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The materials are not radiation rated for much longer than 2024, and we simply don't know how long some of the seals will last.

The official Russian position:

By duckintheface • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"I propose that the United States delivers its astronauts to the ISS with the help of a trampoline." Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin
http://bit.ly/1BSlzlo
That's why the US can't trust the Russians to be part of a future joint space project. As soon as they have some leverage, they will use it.

Why does it need to be replaced?

By BlueCoder • Score: 3 • Thread

Please explain to me why it needs to be replaced? It's took a lot of money to get all that weight up there in the first place. As an engineer I want to reuse and expand and not throw anything away.

NASA can't build tin cans that can survive in space for a hundred years? There are planes from WW2 that are still flying and those rattle. And yes I can understand that they can turn into swiss cheese but that's what patching and welding is for.

Hopefully at some point Elon Musk will be able to back away from the day to day operation of SpaceX and start recycling and manufacturing facilities in space. Things get at least a hundred times cheaper when they don't have to survive the stresses of liftoff. I can see a day when everything is covered with shielding panels and as they get corrupted are replaced, melted down and recast.

Re:Why does it need to be replaced?

By ColdWetDog • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

A seagoing vessel is probably a better analogy (boats fall apart just floating around) - while there are ancient boats still floating, pretty much everything in them has been replaced at one point or another. In a dock - which is a pretty benign environment. It may be impossible to disassemble the ISS and replace the bad parts in orbit. Look at how much effort goes into just putting a new refrigerator on the outside of the thing. We just don't have the technology to uncouple a module, re weld a section and bolt / weld it back together again.

We likely should be working on that ability but this sort of construction and repair isn't sexy enough, I guess. Space is hard. Very hard. Budget constraints have made it so the US and Russia are really just jogging in place on the ISS - very little real research (such as in orbit assembly) is even being contemplated.

ISS-2 will be put together on the ground and boosted into segments and snapped together in orbit, but it won't be 'built' in orbit. There won't be any machining, welding, wiring, insulating or any of those types of functions done in space. We are no where near being able to do that past the sound stage.

Re:Why do thei retire the ISS?

By buchner.johannes • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Sometimes you just need to build from the ground up.

That's gonna be difficult for a space station.

Citizen Scientists Develop Eye Drops That Provide Night Vision

Posted by SoulskillView
rtoz writes: A group of scientists in California have successfully created eye drops that temporarily enable night vision. They use mixture of insulin and a chemical known as Chlorin e6 (Ce6) to enable the user to view objects clearly in darkness up to 50 meters away. Ce6 is found in some deep-sea fish and often used to treat night blindness. The solution starts to work within an hour of being applied to the user's eyes, and lasts for several hours afterward. The test subject's eyesight returned to normal the next day. The organization Science for the Masses has released a paper detailing the experiment on their website.

The important bits

By Okian Warrior • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Some nutter uses a syringe (!) to inject your eyeballs with fish guts in his garage.

Firstly, it's a glorified eye-dropper not a syringe.

Secondly, it's an important biomedical advancement made by citizen scientists. (The important part of that sentence is "by citizen scientists".)

Thirdly, there's an organization which is a nexus for citizen science.

The important bit of this announcement, and the one that makes it interesting to me, is that people are making biomedical experiments on their own, bypassing regulatory agencies and big industry alike.

This is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to see in a stagnant market dominated by large monolithic entities. It's usually a small upstart company that's more agile than the big conglomerate, but it works the same in research as it does everywhere else.

For a games-theory argument, consider that the regulatory agencies are free to require any safety requirements at no cost to themselves, but if something goes wrong they are held responsible. As a result we have a system where it costs 2.5 billion dollars to bring a drug to market, so that it's economically infeasable to implement existing cures for rare diseases. It's also impossible for individuals to manage their own risk with informed consent.

For a games-theory argument, consider that health insurance companies see care and maintenance as a cost to be minimized and rates as profit to be maximized. As a result, insurance companies are unwilling to pay for newly minted procedures and therapies because "it's experimental".

(As a concrete example, it tool a loooong time for the insurance companies to consider MRI scans non-experimental.)

So it's not really *surprising* that people are taking things into their own hands and doing their own research, but it's an important development.

Oh, and cue up the kneejerk response from established players about risk, gold-standard regulatory bureaucratic fandom, and how no one without a PhD can possibly do real research.

Where the hell can I get eyes like that?

By Guerilla Antix • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

Gotta kill a few people. Then you got to get sent to a slam, where they tell you you'll never see daylight again. You dig up a doctor, and you pay him 20 menthol Kools to do a surgical shine job on your eyeballs.

Or here, use these eye drops.

Re:The important bits

By wonkey_monkey • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Secondly, it's an important biomedical advancement made by citizen scientists.

Is it important, and is it even an advancement?

They didn't come up with the idea and the effect was already known.

Their idea was inspired by a patent filed in 2012, claiming that if you mix insulin, Ce6 and saline to someone’s eye, their retina absorbs much more light and they can see much better in the dark. The patent also mentioned that instead of insulin, you can use a substance called dimethlysulfoxide (DMSO). The Science for Masses guys thought “Why not use both?”.

So their sole contribution appears to be the idea of using both insulin and DMSO (for no readily apparent reason and probably to no actual benefit).

Thirdly, there's an organization [scienceforthemasses.org] which is a nexus for citizen science.

Said "organization" appears to be two guys with unknown qualifications and "our fair share of body mod tools for when the mood strikes us." Their "paper" looks more like a blog post to me, and their "tests" were subjective at very best (something they do at least admit).

I'd half expect their next "paper" to be a study on the effects of downing a glass of diet coke after eating a packet of mentos.

The test subject's eyesight returned to normal the next day.

Yeah, so far.

Meaningless words and statistics FTW

By wonkey_monkey • Score: 3 • Thread

view objects clearly in darkness up to 50 meters away.

Define "darkness." It obviously wasn't completely dark. Was it dark like a moonless night dark, or dark like an interior hallway dark?

Secondly, how do you define night vision in metres?

Re:How do I get eyes like that

By X0563511 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What I don't understand is why they did this to both of his eyes.

You'd think it would be far more prudent to dose one eye, and put a patch over the untreated eye to prevent interference.

Europe Agrees On Regulatory Drone Framework

Posted by SoulskillView
Hallie Siegel writes: Not a week goes by where some aspect of drone regulation fails to make the news. But for any regulated industry where technology is advancing faster than new rules can be agreed upon, it will undoubtedly cause a few headaches. This week closes with a very positive announcement from European stakeholders on the future of drones. During a two-day conference in Riga, the European aviation community found broad agreement on the main principles to guide a regulatory framework to allow drone operations throughout Europe from 2016 onward.

Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

Posted by SoulskillView
Lirodon writes: Future Shop, a Canadian electronics chain that was bought by Best Buy in 2001, but continued to operate in parallel with the newly-opened Canadian locations of the U.S. retailer, is no more. Today, the company abruptly announced the closure of the Future Shop chain, and the permanent closure of 66 of its remaining 131 locations. The remaining 65 Future Shop locations (specifically, those that weren't within driving, or even walking distance of a Best Buy to begin with) will be converted to Best Buy stores over the next few days.

This is just the latest step in Best Buy's efforts to downsize its Canadian operations and focus on online retail. The new, downsized chain will consist of 136 Best Buy stores (and 56 of the small Best Buy Mobile stores) in Canada. Still, it's sad to see such an iconic brand killed off like this.

FTA

By kimvette • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Best Buy joins other retailers that are feeling the pinch of more shoppers making purchases online and giant e-commerce rivals such as Amazon Inc. stealing business.

"stealing business?"

Really?

I want to buy certain items locally - like the Roccat Ryos MK Pro with blue switches, the ROG Swift monitor, and stuff like that. Best Buy doesn't stock them and I've got Amazon Prime, so why would I order from Worst Buy and wait 3-5 days for an item when I can get it next day for $3.99 shipping? (as far as why Best Buy doesn't stock the ROG Swift when they are among a very small handful of authorized retailers for that model, I have no idea.) I could drive 70 miles to Micro Center down in MA, but then I'd also have to pay sales tax. So, when I buy that monitor, I'm going to get it from Amazon.

Amazon sells MANY things brick-and-mortars don't any more. Want to find a good precision screwdriver set? I can't find a good set at Sears any more, nor Home Depot, nor Lowes, or smaller hardware stores, nor at Best Buy, or even harbor Freight. Sooo, where do I turn? Amazon.

Ass Kickin' ghost pepper hot sauce - I cannot find it anywhere local. So, where do I order that from? Amazon. Amazon stocks darn near everything you can imagine.

Re:Economy

By 0123456 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Big retail chains are doomed. They can't compete on price with online stores, and they can't compete on service with local stores who don't have to send most of their profits to the stock market. This has little or nothing to do with Harper, unless you believe a more left-wing government would have nationalized Future Shop to keep it open.

The Canadian middle class is dying out.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 0, Insightful • Thread

The Canadian middle class is being crushed out of existence. NAFTA has played a big role in this, as it resulted in much manufacturing draining directly to Mexico. Subsequent trade agreements have not helped. At the same time, there has been a huge flood of immigrants, most of them from third-world nations. The lack of work, combined with a large population increase, has resulted in higher levels of unemployment, along with higher housing prices.

Middle-class stores, including large and long-established chains, are closing throughout Canada at an astounding pace. Zellers is gone. Target never really got off the ground. Sears is on its way out. Many of the mid-sided clothing stores have gone under lately, are in the process of going under, or are just about to.

The middle-class retailers that have survived so far have often done so only by dropping their quality levels, or moving into higher-end goods. There is a stunning degree of economic polarization: either you are quite wealthy, or you are very poor. This is a huge change from what the country was once like, when it had a robust middle class. Most middle-class Canadians have been, or are being, forced down to a Wal-Mart level of existence.

Not a huge surprise

By c • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The real surprise is why it took so long? 14 years is a heck of a long time to be running large redundant stores. From the parking lot of my local Future Shop, you could literally see the Best Buy store, and neither store was ever busy enough to really justify having two so close together, and I've heard that some were so close as to share a parking lot. It might be different if there were significant differences in the product lines they carried, but as it is it never really made much sense.

I just went to BestBuy...

By iCEBaLM • Score: 3 • Thread

Futureshop and BestBuy were literally on the same street, less than half a klick from eachother in my town. I never went to BestBuy because the one time I was there, the dumb blonde behind the counter berated me for buying the kind of keyboard I wanted.

Anyways, since Futureshop is closed now, I went to WorstBuy to see if I could get a 7200 rpm 2.5" HD, or an SSD of any kind. No SSD's anywhere, only 2 2.5" HD's, both 5400rpm. Crap... Then I passed by the cables because I needed a couple short ethernet cables. $25 for a 4' ethernet cable? Are you fucking shitting me? And these guys are complaining they're losing business.

Maybe if you fuckheads had shit people actually wanted to buy, at reasonable prices, they would buy it.

Commercial Flamethrower Successfully Crowdfunded

Posted by SoulskillView
ColdWetDog writes: You've always wanted one, of course. Zombies, the occasional alien infestation. The neighbor's smelly roses. You just need to be prepared for things. You can get freeze dried food, AR15's, enough ammo to start a small police action (at least here in the U.S. -- YMMV), but it has been difficult to get a modern, portable flamethrower until now. CNET has a brief explanation on the XM42, which doubled its Indiegogo funding target in just a few days.

Re:OMG america is stupid

By Aighearach • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If ever there was a weapon that would be classified as only a weapon of terror with no practical application beyond fear.

This is it.

I hope this fails, and i'm an NRA member who is often caught saying things like "from my cold dead hand"

The only time I ever used a flame thrower was to put out a forest fire. I don't doubt that the deer were frightened of me, but in my defense I was trying to protect their home.

Why are NRA members so dim-witted? Do you even understand your own propaganda, or do you just spew it like a mindless zombie? It isn't the flame-thrower that scares people, it is the asshole waving it around.

Gas is good, liquid bad

By Checkered Daemon • Score: 3 • Thread

We played around with what were known as 'Flame Effects Generators', also known as 'Fire Cannons', for years out at Burning Man. We even shot them directly at people, clad in fire suits of course (search YouTube for 'Dance Dance Immolation'). As far as I know no one ever got hurt, or even burned a little, and we compared notes a lot. But these were all pressurized propane. The subject line above was something of a motto. These things use liquid, and the potential for an accident is pretty high. I've used FEGs for years, but I wouldn't want to be within a city block of a liquid based flame thrower.

One early year a guy had a kerosene-based torch, a big one. I heard him tell the Black Rock Rangers, "You know, if anything goes wrong here you're gonna have to move 2,000 people 100 yards in about 20 seconds".

Re:Welcome to the USA

By foreverdisillusioned • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
1. If I recall correctly they were very popular in South Africa as a self defense weapon at one point. So, not quite uniquely American

2. The "clearing snow" thing might be a reasonable usage case. Depends on the efficacy.

3. Regarding deadliness, there are flamethrowers and then there are flamethrowers. Glancing at the pics and vids, I'm not seeing any burning fuel on the ground. If this thing spews a fireball that burns itself out instantly without coating anything with the still-burning fuel, it's probably not something you can accidentally maim someone with. Singe their hair off and give them second degree burns, sure, but it's not napalm. Barring fuel tank rupture, I'd say this thing appears to be significantly safer than a gun.

4. I appreciate the desire to stop bad ideas before they snowball, but having a society based liberty (and generally averse to the idea of a nanny state) means asking "why not?", not "why?" Europe is safer in a lot of ways, but there's a reason why it's not the main driver of innovation despite having a higher GDP and a population 50% higher than the USA. The side effect of letting people innovate is that sometimes someone goes and starts selling flamethrowers. Oh well.

Re:Better fund water wells than flame throwers

By Adriax • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Says you.
I've been itching to whole roast a deer mid jump.

Would anyone really want to use one?

By FrozenGeek • Score: 3 • Thread
If something goes wrong, you're carrying a boatload of highly flammable material while playing with fire. Sounds like a setup for a Darwin award.

Another Patent Pool Forms For HEVC

Posted by SoulskillView
An anonymous reader writes: A new patent pool, dubbed HEVC Advance, has formed for the HEVC video codec. This pool offers separate licensing from the existing MPEG LA HEVC patent pool. In an article for CNET, Stephen Shankland writes, "HEVC Advance promises a 'transparent' licensing process, but so far it isn't sharing details except to say it's got 500 patents it describes as essential for using HEVC, that it plans to unveil its license in the third quarter, and that expected licensors include General Electric, Technicolor, Dolby, Philips and Mitsubishi Electric. The group's statement suggested that some patent holders weren't satisfied with the money they'd make through MPEG LA's license. One of HEVC Advance's goals is 'delivering a balanced business model that supports HEVC commercialization.' ... HEVC Advance and MPEG LA aren't detailing what led to two patent pools, an outcome that undermines MPEG LA's attempt to offer a convenient 'one-stop shop' for companies needing a license." Perhaps this will lead to increased adoption of royalty-free video codecs such as VP9. Monty Montgomery of Xiph has some further commentary.

DVD patents expiring

By crow • Score: 3 • Thread

At least the patents on DVDs are expiring if not already expired. The first DVD player was sold in 1996, and patents can be good for up to 20 years from the filing date, so it would seem that by late next year, all necessary patents should have expired. (Patents are only 17 years from the issue date, so any patents that were actually issued at the time of the first players would have expired.)

I'm sure that they've added on patents for various RW formats, and probably for some new tricks in encoding, but that wouldn't impact playback.

MP3 patents have mostly expired, though one US patent expires later this year.

So for any application using MPEG-2 or MP3, you shouldn't be facing a big patent hurdle. If you want the lower bitrates found with newer codecs, the pain will be with us for a while to come.

Re:Its a shame WebM sucks

By SeaFox • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Has anybody tried the WebM encoders? They STINK, its either a bunch of CLI gobbledygook or its some half assed support in some other encoder.

If you've talked to anyone on the pirating scene (the ones who actually know what they're doing), controlling x264 through command line is normal. Trying to use a GUI on an encoding test for an anime fansubbing group gets you laughed at.

Re:So You are Saying

By HiThere • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No, but it does mean you risk going bankrupt fighting an invalid patent.

Re:So You are Saying

By king neckbeard • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
That MPEG2 had hundreds of patents would suggest that there is a problem. That makes it sound as if basically every step had at least one patent, possibly more. If that's the case, then meaningful competition is going to be impossible.

Re:So You are Saying

By ColaMan • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"method for adding two numbers using instructions and registers commonly available on x64 processors"

Ikea Refugee Shelter Entering Production

Posted by SoulskillView
jones_supa writes: Ikea's line of flatpack refugee shelters are going into production, the Swedish furniture maker announced this week. The lightweight Better Shelter was developed under a partnership between the Ikea Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and beta tested among refugee families in Ethiopia, Iraq, and Lebanon. Each unit takes about four hours to assemble and is designed to last for three years — far longer than conventional refugee shelters, which typically last about six months. The product is an important tool in the prolonged refugee crisis that has unfolded across the Middle East. The war in Syria has spurred nearly 4 million people to leave their homes. The UNHCR has agreed to buy 10,000 of the shelters, and will begin providing them to refugee families this summer.

Ikea good points

By Livius • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Ikea is not the best corporate citizen, nor do they have the best quality or the best prices.

But their stuff is clever. I like clever. Why can't other manufacturers think ahead and from the customer's perspective like that?

Re:Ikea good points

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You don't need to have the best quality or be the cheapest, even from a customer perspective. As long as you offer the best value for money. Ikea does pretty good there as long as you know what to buy there and what to avoid. And don;t forget to put a price on convenience: instead of waiting 4-8 weeks for your new stuff, you get to take it home and use it right away (some assembly required). That's very useful... we use Ikea all the time in rental properties that need to be furnished on short notice.

Long lasting

By taylorius • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

"Designed to last for 3 years". Impressive, that's about a year longer than their normal furniture.

Re:Long lasting

By ColdWetDog • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It's all designed for European and Asian body-weights. Put that stuff to regular wear in the U.S and it's gonna buckle under the weight quicker, that's just how it is. But I agree they could put some more thought into the products they sell over in the U.S.

I am unaware of the UNHCR dealing with American refuges. I'm sometimes a little out of the loop but I thought I would have heard of that by now. Is it that bad in Texas these days?

Re:Ikea

By E-Rock • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No, putting IKEA stuff together is fun. I've never understood that complaint, and I'd guess that many of the people repeating the meme have never bought anything from IKEA.

Startups Increasingly Targeted With Hacks

Posted by SoulskillView
ubrgeek writes: Slack, makers of the popular communications software, announced yesterday that they'd suffered a server breach. This follows shortly after a similar compromise of Twitch.tv, and is indicative of a growing problem facing start-up tech companies. As the NY Times reports, "Breaches are becoming a kind of rite of passage for fledgling tech companies. If they gain enough momentum with users, chances are they will also become a target for hackers looking to steal, and monetize, the vast personal information they store on users, like email addresses and passwords."

How is it a "rite of passage"?

By khasim • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They're getting cracked because they're not paying attention to their security.

After resetting users passwords, Twitch initially introduced longer password character requirements, but had to dial back its new 20-character password length requirement to 8 characters after users complained.

Fuck you! If you cannot detect and mitigate a brute force attack then hire someone who can.

Twitch also said it encrypted passwords, but warned that hackers might have been able to capture passwords in the clear as users were logging on.

And make sure you know the difference between encrypted and hashed.

Re:How is it a "rite of passage"?

By OzPeter • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They're getting cracked because they're not paying attention to their security.

But start-ups are all about the most buzz you can generate in the shortest time. You need to get that product out the door ASAP because your competitors aren't going to wait for you to build your secure system first. After all, you're not in the business of security, you're in the business of connecting up the most people and building your community. /sacasm*

*Added because even I thought I was starting to sound like a lean-startup advocate

Hardly surprising

By ilsaloving • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

What's the demographic of the people running these startups? People who have grown up in the Web 2.0 age that think they know better than older folk that have already run into these situations and come up with means to mitigate them. Because it's "old" it's bad and has to be thrown away and discarded.

Having worked with some of these people first hand, my level of contempt for these webscale "developers" knows no bounds. It's like working with 15 year olds who think they know how the world works and complain bitterly that their parents are holding them back. Their a testament to Dunning and Kruger.

I've been pushing back at our company against using all these saas because this sort of situation is just going to keep happening, and undoubtedly escalate, all because webscale developers arrogantly dismiss the lessons of the past.

(eg: I actually had someone tell me that they refused to use port 80 because it was "against modern development practises". I'm pretty sure I physically felt several brain cells shrivel up and die when I heard that. They also refuse to use version control and branching because merges are "too problematic".)

Prison Inmate Emails His Own Release Instructions To the Prison

Posted by SoulskillView
Bruce66423 writes: A fraudster used a mobile phone while inside a UK prison to email the prison a notice for him to be released. The prison staff then released him. The domain was registered in the name of the police officer investigating him, and its address was the court building. The inmate was in prison for fraud — he was originally convicted after calling several banks and getting them to send him upwards of £1.8 million.

Re:He's good.

By Bomarc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"he was originally convicted after calling several banks and getting them to send him upwards of £1.8 million."

I want to know what you say to a bank to get them to release that kind (quantity) of money!

Re:He's good.

By timmyf2371 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

That's precisely his point. If you were a rich person, you would have access to investment vehicles with a larger return than 2%, and access to credit lines at lower rates.

Re: This Guy's Talents Should be Put to Good Use

By Barny • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

You ever seen a grown man naked?

Re:He's good.

By Sarten-X • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Having worked in finance, I can assure you that pretty much everyone* has access to investment vehicles with a larger return than 2%. The problem is that those investments are significantly more risky than a bank, and losing the investment is unlikely to be catastrophic to someone with a large supply of other diversified assets, but it could be catastrophic to someone with only a weekly paycheck to fall back on.

The solution to that problem is to properly diversify your investments for safety. An investment adviser can help with that, but they'll charge a fee for their work, and many people feel (accurately or not) they can't afford that service. There are books and other resources to assist someone in wisely choosing their own investments, but that requires ambition, effort, and the admission that one is not naturally a financial expert. That last part seems to be the most difficult to come by.

* American, not already in excessive debt, with a stable income... some disclaimers apply, but the vast majority of the American population qualifies, not just those who fall under the "rich" label.

I heard he called slashdot...

By Ecuador • Score: 3 • Thread

and convinced them to drop the Beta. This guy is good.

European Commission Will Increase Use of Open Source Software

Posted by SoulskillView
jrepin writes: The European Commission has updated its strategy for internal use of Open Source Software. The Commission, which is already using open source for many of its key ICT services and software solutions, will further increase the role of this type of software internally. The renewed strategy puts a special emphasis on procurement, contribution to open source software projects, and providing more of the software developed within the Commission as open source.

Software commodity

By dimeglio • Score: 3 • Thread
Great to see they will also contribute to open source software. Software is no longer the arcane art it used to be. Almost anyone with some basic skills can contribute in some way. It's not all about coding.

Re:an invitable drawback

By Pi1grim • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This fortunately means that there will be a large political body interested in not allowing NSA to get their hooks into OSS.

Re:Software commodity

By gmack • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When you are the size of the EC, hiring a few developers to add any needed features becomes cheaper than the software licenses for the proprietary competition.

IBM and OpenPower Could Mean a Fight With Intel For Chinese Server Market

Posted by timothyView
itwbennett writes With AMD's fade out from the server market and the rapid decline of RISC systems, Intel has stood atop the server market all by itself. But now IBM, through its OpenPOWER Foundation, could give Intel and its server OEMs a real fight in China, which is a massive server market. As the investor group Motley Fool notes, OpenPOWER is a threat to Intel in the Chinese server market because the government has been actively pushing homegrown solutions over foreign technology, and many of the Foundation members, like Tyan, are from China.

"Ditchin' the pSeries down here, boss"

By PolygamousRanchKid • Score: 3 • Thread

So, is IBM going to ditch making their own POWER pSeries, and totally go for the ARM model of just licensing the technology for OpenPOWER . . . ?

Just like in the PC world, folks stopped buying IBM built PCs, when cheap clones were available. What would be the advantage of buying an IBM built OpenPOWER system, as opposed to a much cheaper Chinese built clone . . . ? Maybe the IBM system will have some kind of "secret sauce" . . . ? Like a MicroChannel (har, har).

At any rate, somebody is going to have to invest a lot of money to make sure that Linux runs well on OpenPOWER, in order for this to succeed.

Power is bigger than you think

By nhtshot • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I work on PPC systems every day. I also use several. I'd wager that you do as well.

Have cable or satellite TV? 90% chance it's using a Power cpu. Drive a car with fuel injection? 65% chance your engine is run by Power, 90% chance something in the car is (ABS, nav, transmission).

It's been around a long time (30+ years), been 64 bit much longer than x86 or ARM, has good OS support and good compilers.

I work on and like ARM as well, but if IBM can make a value proposition in China with PPC, they actually have a chance at getting some market share outside embedded.

Re: Tell me about POWER and IBM.

By belrick • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I've been working with AIX since 1990. Prior to that a bit of SunOS. AIX is is different but generally well thought out. Most people who hate it simply aren't used to the differences. Lots of feature that we take for granted in today's Linux existed in AIX 25 years ago.

Tivoli Storage Manager is a dream. I remember setting up a high-availability TSM (well, ADSM at the time) server and having a client backup running during fail over testing. Client connection failed, continued retrying until the server was back up on the other node, then the backup continued where is left off. Transaction backup with rollback and resumption after server fail over! Try that with NetBackup or Networker or Avamar or CommVault.

B

Re:Keyword: *SOFTWARE*

By Bert64 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The POWER architecture has been around longer than X64, the vast majority of linux software comes with source code and compiles fine on power (and arm, mips and anything else) so it doesn't matter what the underlying processor is. A lot of the software that doesn't come with source these days is java based, which will run just fine on power too.

Except for a small number of fairly niche apps, most linux based server loads will work fine on a power system.