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Data Storage

Storing Data In Synthetic Fossils 36

Posted by Soulskill
from the worked-for-the-dinosaurs dept.
Bismillah tips news of research from ETH Zurich which brings the possibility of extremely long-term data storage. The scientists encoded data in DNA, a young but established technique that has a major problem: accuracy. "[E]ven a short period of time presents a problem in terms of the margin of error, as mistakes occur in the writing and reading of the DNA. Over the longer term, DNA can change significantly as it reacts chemically with the environment, thus presenting an obstacle to long-term storage." To get around this issue, they encapsulated the DNA within tiny silica spheres, a process roughly comparable to the fossilization of bones (abstract). The researchers say data can be preserved this way for over a million years.
AI

Breakthrough In Face Recognition Software 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the anonymity-takes-another-hit dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Face recognition software underwent a revolution in 2001 with the creation of the Viola-Jones algorithm. Now, the field looks set to dramatically improve once again: computer scientists from Stanford and Yahoo Labs have published a new, simple approach that can find faces turned at an angle and those that are partially blocked by something else. The researchers "capitalize on the advances made in recent years on a type of machine learning known as a deep convolutional neural network. The idea is to train a many-layered neural network using a vast database of annotated examples, in this case pictures of faces from many angles. To that end, Farfade and co created a database of 200,000 images that included faces at various angles and orientations and a further 20 million images without faces. They then trained their neural net in batches of 128 images over 50,000 iterations. ... What's more, their algorithm is significantly better at spotting faces when upside down, something other approaches haven't perfected."
Displays

Apple Patents Head-Mounted iPhone 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the short-step-to-a-literal-eyephone dept.
mpicpp sends word of a patent newly awarded to Apple, #8,957,835, which describes a head-mounted apparatus that uses an iPhone (or iPod) as a display. The device "temporarily integrates or merges both mechanically and electronically a head-mounted device with a portable electronic device." It sounds a bit like Samsung's Gear VR headset, and many outlets are reporting it as being a virtual reality device. However, the patent itself doesn't mention VR, and it was filed in 2008, long before the VR rush of the past few years. That said, Apple has recently been trying to hire engineers with experience developing VR-related software, so it's something they could be evaluating.
Networking

Flaw In Netgear Wi-Fi Routers Exposes Admin Password, WLAN Details 57

Posted by timothy
from the oops-and-darnit dept.
An anonymous reader writes A number of Netgear home wireless routers sport a vulnerability that can be misused by unauthenticated attackers [here's the report at seclists.org] to obtain the administrator password, device serial number, WLAN details, and various details regarding clients connected to the device, claims systems/network engineer Peter Adkins. The vulnerability is found in the embedded SOAP service, which is a service that interacts with the Netgear Genie application that allows users to control (change WLAN credentials, SSIDs, parental control settings, etc.) their routers via their smartphones or computers.
Robotics

What To Do After Robots Take Your Job 389

Posted by timothy
from the have-them-train-you dept.
sarahnaomi writes In 2013, researchers Carl Frey and Michael Osborne of the Oxford Martin School dropped the bombshell that 47 percent of US jobs were at risk of computerisation. Since then, they've made similar predictions for the UK, where they say 35 percent of jobs are at high risk. So what will our future economy look like? "My predictions have enormously high variance," Osborne told me when I asked if he was optimistic. "I can imagine completely plausible, incredibly positive scenarios, but they're only about as probable as actually quite dystopian futures that I can imagine."

In a new report produced as part of a programme supported by Citi, he and Frey outline how increased innovation—read: automation—could lead to stagnation.
Graphics

NVidia Puts the Kibosh On Overclocking of GTX 900M Series 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-within-the-lines dept.
An anonymous reader writes Nvidia surprised members of the overclocking community this week when it pulled OC support from drivers for its 900M series mobile graphics cards. Many users (particularly those who bought laptops with higher-end cards like the 980m) were overclocking – until the latest driver update. Now, Nvidia is telling customers not to expect OC capabilities to return. “Unfortunately GeForce Notebooks were not designed to support overclocking,” wrote Nvidia’s Manuel Guzman. “Overclocking is by no means a trivial feature, and depends on thoughtful design of thermal, electrical, and other considerations. By overclocking a notebook, a user risks serious damage to the system that could result in non-functional systems, reduced notebook life, or many other effects.”
Power

Nuclear Plant Taken Down In Anticipation of Snowstorm 311

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-much-to-shovel dept.
mdsolar writes Pilgrim Power Plant in Plymouth was taken offline in anticipation of the weekend snowstorm. According to a statement from Entergy, the owner of Pilgrim, the plant was taken off line in preparation of "a potential loss of offsite power or the grid's inability to accept the power Pilgrim generates." This is the second time this season the plant has been shut down due to storm conditions. On January 27 the facility was taken offline after the two main power transmission lines were knocked out by blizzard conditions. Although the transmission lines were restored within a few days, the plant remained offline until February 7 at which time it was reconnected to the grid.
Data Storage

Vint Cerf Warns Against 'Digital Dark Age' 166

Posted by Soulskill
from the strangely-silent-on-digital-bronze-age dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Vint Cerf, speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said we need better methods for preserving everything we do on computers. It's not just about finding better storage media — it's about recording all the aspects of modern software and operating systems so future generations can figure out how it all worked. Cerf says, "The solution is to take an X-ray snapshot of the content and the application and the operating system together, with a description of the machine that it runs on, and preserve that for long periods of time. And that digital snapshot will recreate the past in the future." Cerf is also pushing for better data preservation standards: "The key here is when you move those bits from one place to another, that you still know how to unpack them to correctly interpret the different parts. That is all achievable if we standardize the descriptions."
Transportation

Japan Now Has More Car Charging Points Than Gas Stations 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the plugging-their-new-toy dept.
An anonymous reader writes: One of the biggest impediments to getting more electric cars on the road is the lack of charging infrastructure. When there's a gas station every other mile and you have to struggle to find a charging station, it's difficult to make a case for convenience and reliability. But this is changing, particularly in smaller, more technologically advanced countries like Japan. Nissan found that there are now about 40,000 charging points in Japan, compared to about 34,000 gas stations. Granted, not all of those charging spots are available to the public — some are in people's homes. But it shows the infrastructure is making real gains. Also, the article suggests an Airbnb-like system may crop up for people to utilize each other's charging stations. It adds, "As charging stations become more common, electric-car support services are also emerging. Open Charge Map, for example, operates an online listing of public charging points worldwide. A mobile app combines the data with GPS technology to guide drivers to the nearest site."
Input Devices

Mountain Biking In Virtual Reality With the Oculus Rift and an Actuating Bike 71

Posted by timothy
from the it's-all-in-your-head dept.
An anonymous reader writes Thanks to the Oculus Rift DK2 VR headset and Activetainment B\01 VR bike, which pitches forward and back according to in-game terrain, has shifting, pedals, breaks, digital resistance control, and allows tilting into turns, users of the system feel like they're careening through a mountain biker's paradise. After working up a sweat in the simulator, the author of this article ruminates on whether or not his experience could be considered "real"; "Much of the feedback of actual mountain biking was present during my ride. Sure, the feedback could be more accurate, and there's still missing sensory information, like the wind through my hair and a certain set of forces on my body, but at what point is a virtual experience real enough to be well, real?"
Displays

VESA Embedded DisplayPort 1.4a Paves Way For 8K Displays, Longer Battery Life 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-reportedly-grow-you-a-replacement-kidney dept.
MojoKid writes: The VESA standards organization has published the eDP v1.4a specification (Embedded DisplayPort) that has some important new features for device manufacturers as they bump up mobile device displays into the 4K category and start looking towards even higher resolutions. eDP v1.4a will be able to support 8K displays, thanks to a segmented panel architecture known as Multi-SST Operation (MSO). A display with this architecture is broken into two or four segments, each of which supports HBR3 link rates of 8.1 Gbps. The updated eDP spec also includes VESA's Display Stream Compression (DSC) standard v1.1, which can improve battery life in mobile devices. In another effort to conserve battery power, VESA has tweaked its Panel Self Refresh (PSR) feature, which saves power by letting GPUs update portions of a display instead of the entire screen.
Sun Microsystems

Five Years After the Sun Merger, Oracle Says It's Fully Committed To SPARC 190

Posted by timothy
from the wish-they'd-bring-back-the-sun-name dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "Sun Microsystems vanished into Oracle's maw five years ago this month, and you could be forgiven for thinking that some iconic Sun products, like SPARC chips, had been cast aside in the merger. But Oracle claims that the SPARC roadmap is moving forward more quickly than it did under Sun, and while the number of SPARC systems sold has dropped dramatically (from 66,000 in Q1 '03 to 7,000 in Q1 '14), the systems that are being sold are fully customized and much more profitable for the company."
Displays

Ask Slashdot: Affordable Large HD/UHD/4K "Stupid" Screens? 330

Posted by timothy
from the sorry-dave-can't-let-you-do-that dept.
New submitter LOGINS SUC (713291) writes Truly in the first-world problems category, I've been looking for large format (>55") HD/UHD screens for home entertainment. In light of the recent Samsung big-brother monitoring and advertisement injection concerns, does any reputable manufacturer still make "stupid" TVs? I don't want to pay for all the WiFi, apps, cameras, or microphones. I don't need it to have speakers. And at this point, I don't even care if it has the TV receiver functionality. All this stuff leads to vendor lock-in or is well on the path to obsolescence by the time I purchase the device. I prefer all of this non-visual functionality be handled by devices better suited to the purpose and I don't want to pay for screens including these widgets I have no intention of ever using, at all.

I've searched all the normal retail outlets. If I find anything, they are wildly expensive. "Computer monitors" fit the bill but are almost all 55") LCDs in the sub-$3,000 range anymore? Are projectors the last bastion of visual purity for home entertainment?
Robotics

Drone, Drone, Everywhere a Drone -- at CES (Video) 37

Posted by Roblimo
from the it's-not-superman-and-it's-not-an-airplane-so-it-must-be-a-drone dept.
One thing Timothy noticed at CES was that there were drone vendors all over the place. Drones are obviously one of the hot-hot toy/gadget trends of the moment. The Drone that won 'Best Robot or Drone in Show' was the camera-carrying, "follows you like a dog on a (Bluetooth 3) leash" AirDog. They already had a crazy-sucessful KickStarter campaign that led to a large stack of pre-orders, so don't count on getting your very own AirDog right away, even if you have $1300 to spend on one.
Power

Converting Sunlight Into Liquid Fuel With a Bionic Leaf 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-needs-dead-dinosaurs dept.
hypnosec writes: Artificial leaf techology made waves the moment it was announced by Daniel Nocera back in 2011. His latest research, published in PNAS, involves gathering hydrogen from this artificial leaf, carbon dioxide from another source, and feeding it to Ralstonia eutropha bacteria to create liquid fuel. Once the materials are fed to the bacteria, "An enzyme takes the hydrogen back to protons and electrons, then combines them with carbon dioxide to replicate—making more cells. Next, ... new pathways in the bacterium are metabolically engineered to make isopropanol." Researchers say the same process could be used to make vitamins.