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Data Storage

Gold Artifact To Orbit Earth In Hope of Alien Retrieval 282

Posted by samzenpus
from the leaving-them-something dept.
Lucas123 writes "The problem: What do you leave behind that billions of years from now, and without context, would give aliens an some kind of accurate depiction of mankind. The answer: A gold-plated silicon disc with just 100 photos. That's the idea behind The Last Pictures project, which is scheduled to blast off in the next few months from Kazakhstan and orbit the earth for 5 billion years. The photos, etched into the silicon using a bitmap format, were chosen over a five-year process that involved interviews with artists, philosophers, and MIT scientists, who included biologists, physicists, and astronomers. To each, was posed a single question: What photos would you choose to send into outer space? The answer became an eclectic mix of images from pre-historic cave paintings to a photo of a group of people taken by a predator drone."
Power

Bruce Perens: The Day I Blundered Into the Nuclear Facility 181

Posted by samzenpus
from the did-you-remember-to-lock-the-door? dept.
Bruce Perens writes "I found myself alone in a room, in front of a deep square or rectangular pool of impressively clear, still water. There was a pile of material at the bottom of the pool, and a blue glow of Cherenkov radiation in the water around it. To this day, I can't explain how an unsupervised kid could ever have gotten in there."
United States

Lenovo Building Manufacturing Plant in North Carolina 120

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the unknown-lamer-sent-to-the-factories dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One of the major themes of the ongoing presidential election in the United States has been the perceived need to bring product manufacturing back to the United States. A recent announcement from Lenovo is going to play to this point; the PC manufacturer said today that it's building a U.S. location in Whitsett, North Carolina. The new facility is small, with just over 100 people and is being built for a modest $2M, but Lenovo states that it's merely the beginning of a larger initiative." It makes sense: their U.S. HQ is a stone's throw away in RTP.
AMD

Intel CPU Prices Stagnate As AMD Sales Decline 252

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the free-market-economics dept.
crookedvulture writes "Over the past few years, AMD's desktop processors have struggled to keep up with Intel's. AMD has slashed prices to make its chips more appealing, but Intel has largely held firm. Three years of historical data shows that Intel CPU prices have remained stagnant, especially for models that cost $200 and up. AMD chips, on the other hand, tend to fall in price steadily after they first hit the market. Some drop by up to 43% in the first year. This trend is a byproduct of the unhealthy competitive landscape in the desktop CPU arena, and it's been great for Intel's gross margin. Unfortunately, it's not so good for consumers."
Intel

Why Ultrabooks Are Falling Well Short of Intel's Targets 513

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-leveraging-enough-synergies dept.
nk497 writes "When Paul Otellini announced Ultrabooks last year, he predicted they would grab 40% of the laptop market by this year. One analyst firm has said Ultrabooks will only make up 5% of the market this year, slashing its own sales predictions from 22m this year to 10.3m. However, IHS iSuppli said that Ultrabooks have a chance at success if manufacturers get prices down between $600 to $700 — a discount of as much as $400 on the average selling price of the devices — and they could still grab a third of the laptop market by 2016."
Security

Graphics Cards: the Future of Online Authentication? 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-am-who-my-pc-says-i-am dept.
Gunkerty Jeb writes "Researchers working on the 'physically unclonable functions found in standard PC components (PUFFIN) project' announced last week that widely used graphics processors could be the next step in online authentication. The project seeks to find uniquely identifiable characteristics of hardware in common computers, mobile devices, laptops and consumer electronics. The researchers realized that apparently identical graphics processors are actually different in subtle, unforgeable ways. A piece of software developed by the researchers is capable of discerning these fine differences. The order of magnitude of these differences is so minute, in fact, that manufacturing equipment is incapable of manipulating or replicating them. Thus, the fine-grained manufacturing differences can act as a sort of a key to reliably distinguish each of the processors from one another. The implication of this discovery is that such differences can be used as physically unclonable features to securely link the graphics cards, and by extension, the computers in which they reside and the persons using them, to specific online accounts."
Printer

You Can't Print a Gun If You Have No 3D Printer 632

Posted by timothy
from the big-conspiracy-or-small-minds dept.
FatLittleMonkey writes "You may recall Cody Wilson's project to create a 3D printed gun, mentioned previously on Slashdot. Well, the Defense Distributed project has suffered a decidedly non-technical setback, with printer manufacturer Stratasys revoking the lease and repossessing the printer (presumably prying it from plastic models of Cory's cold dead hands). According to New Scientist, the manufacturer cited his lack of a federal firearms manufacturer's license as their reason for the repossession, adding that it does not knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes." Homemade firearms are not (in the U.S.) per se illegal on a federal basis, though states have varying degrees of regulation. It would be helpful if anyone more conversant with firearms law than me can point out what law or laws this project might be breaking.
Beer

BrewPi: Raspberry Pi and Arduino Powered Fermentation Chamber 96

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the includes-kitchen-sink dept.
For the homebrew hardware nerds out there who also homebrew beer: "BrewPi is an open source fermentation controller that runs on an Arduino (for now) and a Raspberry Pi. It can control your beer temperature with 0.1 degree precision, log temperature data in nice graphs and is fully configurable from a web interface." Source code. The article has lots of photos and screenshots. The project involves rewiring the compressor's electrical connection through a PID controller, and includes both a fancy OLED display on the fridge and support for logging statistics and control over the web. If you've ever had the joy of gradually crash-cooling a lager (not too fast, not too slow), the software includes settings to effect gradual temperatures changes in the fermenting wort. Certainly fancier than a Johnson controller and a probe attached to a fermenter with a strip of insulating tape.
Image

RockBox + Refurbished MP3 Players = Crowdsourced Audio Capture 66

Posted by timothy
from the like-y'do dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Looking for an inexpensive means to capture audio from a dynamically moving crowd, I sampled many MP3 players' recording capabilities. Ultimately the best bang-for-the-buck was refurbished SanDisk Sansa Clip+ devices ($26/ea) loaded with (open source) RockBox firmware. The most massively multi-track event was a thorium conference in Chicago where many attendees wore a Clip+. Volunteers worked the room with cameras, and audio capture was decoupled from video capture. It looked like this. Despite having (higher quality) ZOOM H1n and wireless mics, I've continued to use the RockBox-ified Clip+ devices ... even if the H1n is running, the Clip+ serves as backup. There's no worry about interference or staying within wireless mic range. The devices have 4GB capacity, and RockBox allows WAV capture. They'll run at least 5 hours before the battery is depleted (with lots of storage left over). I would suggest sticking with 44kHz (mono) capture, as 48kHz is unreliable. To get an idea of their sound quality, here is a 10-person dinner conversation (about thorium molten salt nuclear reactors) in a very busy restaurant. I don't know how else I could have isolated everyone's dialog for so little money. (And I would NOT recommend Clip+ with factory firmware... they only support 22kHz and levels are too high for clipping on people's collars.)" This video incorporating much of that captured audio is worth watching for its content as well as the interesting repurposing.
Education

African Robotics Network Challenge Spurs Rash of $10 Robots 60

Posted by timothy
from the isn't-rash-a-good-plural-for-robot? dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this story from Wired: "When the African Robotics Network announced their $10 robot design challenge this summer, co-founder Ken Goldberg was careful not to share too many expectations, lest he influence contestants' designs. But he never imagined one of the winning entries would prominently feature a pair of Spanish lollipops. The challenge, hosted by AFRON co-founders Goldberg and Ayorkor Korsah, emphasized inexpensive designs to help bring robotics education to African classrooms." Winners include "the lollipop-laden Suckerbot and traditional (roaming) category first prize winner Kilobot, a Harvard-spawned three-legged, vibrating, swarming robot."
Hardware

Computer History Museum Gets the Attention It Deserves 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the back-when-bits-were-made-out-of-wood dept.
mcpublic writes "For years the Computer History Museum has been quietly collecting and displaying the computational relics of yesteryear. Now, finally the New York Times Arts Section shines the spotlight on this most nerdy of museums. Speak Steampunk? You can find a working replica of Babbage's Difference Engine in the lobby of the museum's Mountain View, California home. Of course, the vast majority of the collection is electronic, and though 'big iron' is king, that hasn't stopped dedicated volunteers from bringing back to life pioneering 'mini' computers like the 1960 PDP-1 and the first video game software ever: Spacewar!"
Japan

Sugar Batteries Could Store 20% More Energy Than Li-Ions 152

Posted by timothy
from the sweet-deal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at the Tokyo University of Science have developed a way to create sugar batteries that store 20% more energy than lithium-ion cells. Before it can be used as the anode in a sodium-ion battery, sucrose powder is turned into hard carbon powder by heating it to up to 1,500 degrees celsius in an oxygen-free oven." Except that swapping batteries might be a bit tricky, I can think of a perfect application for these.
Intel

Intel Debuts Clover Trail For Tablets, Launches New Atom Inside 88

Posted by timothy
from the double-dose-of-pimpin'-action dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today, Intel is launching its next-generation Clover Trail platform. The new Intel Z2760 is a dual-core, quad-threaded device clocked at up to 1.8GHz, with support for up to 2GB of RAM and graphics provided courtesy of a single PowerVR SGX545 core. Chipzilla expects to see wide adoption from multiple partners, with a host of tablets expected to launch simultaneously with Windows 8. The new SoC is closely related to Medfield, Intel's 32nm smartphone platform that ExtremeTech reviewed earlier this year, but there are a few differences between the two."
AMD

AMD Partners With BlueStacks To Bring Android Apps To PCs 143

Posted by timothy
from the just-pinch-your-mouse dept.
eldavojohn writes "News outlets are reporting that AMD has partnered with BlueStacks to bring Android apps to AppZone Player, something that will apparently allow the more than 500,000 mobile apps to run on your PC. From their announcement: 'What's special about the player on AMD-based products? There are many challenges with running apps that were originally designed for phones or tablets on a PC that in most cases has a larger screen and higher resolution display. To solve this, BlueStacks has designed and optimized the player for AMD Radeon graphics and in particular, our OpenGL drivers found in our APUs and GPUs so you get a great 'big-screen' experience. Additionally, the apps are integrated into AppZone, our online showcase and one-stop-shop for apps accelerated by AMD technology.' Unfortunately this appears to only work on AMD-based PCs (although nowhere does it say that it won't work on Intel CPUs or non-Radeon GPUs). Also no word on how they overcame the difference between a mouse and touchscreen (think pinch to zoom)."
AMD

AMD Trinity APUs Stack Up Well To Intel's Core 3 223

Posted by timothy
from the those-ndas-must-have-weighed-a-ton! dept.
Barence writes "AMD's APUs combine processor and graphics core in the same chip. Its latest Trinity chips are more powerful than ever, thanks to current-generation Radeon graphics and the same processing cores as AMD's full-fat FX processors. They're designed to take down Intel's Core i3 chips, and the first application and gaming benchmarks are out. With a slight improvement in applications and much more so in games, they're a genuine alternative to the Core i3." MojoKid writes with Hot Hardware's review, which also says the new AMD systems "[look] solid in gaming and multimedia benchmarks, writing "the CPU cores clock in at 3.8GHz / 4.2GHz for the A10-5800K and 3.6GHz / 3.9GHz for A8-5600K, taking into account base and maximum turbo speeds, while the graphics cores scale up to 800MHz for the top A10 chip."

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.

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