mikejuk writes "Is it possible that we have been wasting our time typing programs. Could voice recognition, with a little help from an invented spoken language, be the solution we didn't know we needed? About two years ago Tavis Rudd, developed a bad case of RSI caused by typing lots of code using Emacs. It was so severe that he couldn't code. As he puts it: 'Desperate, I tried voice recognition'. The Dragon Naturally Speaking system used by Rudd supported standard language quite well, but it wasn't adapted to program editing commands. The solution was to use a Python speech extension, DragonFly, to program custom commands. OK, so far so good, but ... the commands weren't quite what you might have expected. Instead of English words for commands he used short vocalizations — you have to hear it to believe it. Now programming sounds like a conversation with R2D2. The advantage is that it is faster and the recognition is easier — it also sounds very cool and very techie. it is claimed that the system is faster than typing. So much so that it is still in use after the RSI cleared up."
An anonymous reader writes "CPU water cooling may be more expensive than air cooling, but it is quieter and moves the bulk away from your CPU. It's also improving, as Zalman has just demonstrated with the announcement of the Reserator 3. Zalman is claiming that the Reserator 3 is the world's first liquid cooler to use nanofluids. What's that then? It involves adding refrigerant nanoparticles to the fluid that gets pumped around inside the cooler transporting the heat produced by a CPU to the radiator and fan where it is expelled. By using the so-called nanofluid, Zalman believes it can offer better cooling, and rates the Reserator 3 as offering up to 400W of cooling while remaining very quiet. The fluid and pump is supplemented by a dual copper radiator design and "quadro cooling path," which consists of two copper pipes sitting behind the fan and surrounded by the radiators. The heatsink sitting on top of the CPU is a micro-fin copper base allowing very quick transfer of heat to the nanofluid above."
MojoKid writes "Samsung has been aggressively bolstering its solid state drive line-up for the last couple of years. While some of Samsung's earlier drives may not have particularly stood-out versus the competition at the time, the company's more recent 830 series and 840 series of solid state drives have been solid, both in terms of value and overall performance. Samsung's latest consumer-class solid state drives is the just-announced 840 EVO series of products. As the name suggests, the SSD 840 EVO series of drives is an evolution of the Samsung 840 series. These drives use the latest TLC NAND Flash to come out of Samsung's fab, along with an updated controller, and also feature some interesting software called RAPID (Real-time Accelerated Processing of IO Data) that can significantly impact performance. Samsung's new SSD 840 EVO series SSDs performed well throughout a battery of benchmarks, whether using synthetic benchmarks, trace-based tests, or highly-compressible or incompressible data. At around $.76 to $.65 per GB, they're competitively priced, relatively speaking, as well."
mcgrew writes "Forbes has an article about a new type of fuel cell that is 90% less costly than current cells at one tenth the size (making it the size of a dishwasher), with far higher efficiency than current cells. It runs at only 149 degrees Celsius (300F) . It was jointly developed by Diverse Energy and the University of Maryland. 'The first-generation Cube runs off natural gas, but it can generate power from a variety of fuel sources, including propane, gasoline, biofuel and hydrogen. The system is a highly efficient, clean technology, emitting negligible pollutants and much less carbon dioxide than conventional energy sources. It uses fuel far more efficiently than an internal combustion engine, and can run at an 80 percent efficiency when used to provide both heat and power.' It produces enough power to run a moderate-sized grocery store, or five homes. A smaller, home-sized unit is on the way. Is the municipal power plant on the way out?"
Volanin writes "The Ubuntu Edge has now passed the $10.2 million mark, thus making it the most pledged-to crowd-funder in history. While the Ubuntu Edge campaign is to be commended for reaching such a mammoth milestone as this, it can't quite claim ultimate victory yet, since it's just short of making one-third of its $32 million goal with a little less than a week left."
cartechboy writes "Americans have enough trouble keeping from texting their way to dangerous — or worse — situations in cars. But now car makers, looking to differentiate with tech integrations and after jamming iPhone everywhere, are working hard at integrating Google Glass into vehicles. Consider this quote: 'Within seconds, I've got step-by-step directions to a coffee shop down the street beamed directly to my eyeballs.' Aside from being a little Jetsons, sounds potentially problematic. (Note, Mercedes had been doing R&D since July.) It goes without saying that someone is working on an integration of their own with a Tesla Model S. There is a coolness factor, there may be some utility — but not sure this is a great idea."
First time accepted submitter jradavenport writes "I've been keeping a log of the health of my MacBook Air battery for the past year, taking samples every minute I use the computer (152,411 readings so far!). This has allowed me to study both my own computing/work habits, but also the fascinating rapid decay of battery capacity. Comparing it to my previous 2009 MacBook Pro, the battery in this 2012 Air is degrading much faster."
melios sends this quote from an University of Washington news release: "[E]ngineers have created a new wireless communication system that allows devices to interact with each other without relying on batteries or wires for power. The new communication technique, which the researchers call 'ambient backscatter,' takes advantage of the TV and cellular transmissions that already surround us around the clock. Two devices communicate with each other by reflecting the existing signals to exchange information. The researchers built small, battery-free devices with antennas that can detect, harness and reflect a TV signal, which then is picked up by other similar devices."
bjhonermann writes "The Zambian government (along with partners) are currently rolling out an electronic medical records (EMR) system in public health facilities. The project has been going on for some time and is already in 600+ facilities with more than 700,000 patient records. One problem we're facing is that most information is still being double entered in the EMR as well as on primary paper documents at the facility, and sometimes additionally transcribed to paper registers. This double/triple entry takes time away from nurses who are already in short supply. There's an inability to fully move away from partially paper based systems both because clients often move between 'paper clinics' and 'electronic clinics' in the same communities and for follow-up care, and because the power systems in many sites are unreliable and require that there be sufficient paper backups of records for operations during periods where power is unavailable — perhaps for weeks at a time. We're providing solar panels and battery backups for sites, which work increasingly well with newer low power CPUs, but even if the power issue were solved this would not address the need for portable paper documents. The key objective of eliminating redundant manual entry of forms and paper registers by nurses might be accomplished if we had low cost low power B/W printers available at sites so that critical information could be entered electronically and then printed out as needed, either for client carried purposes (transfers/visits to 'paper facilities') or to serve as local backup when power is an issue. However, we've yet to find printing solutions that seem appropriate to the context and are hopeful the Slashdot crowd may have some ideas." Read on for some more specific criteria.
schwit1 sends this quote from an AP report: "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] to complete the licensing process and approve or reject the Energy Department's application for a never-completed waste storage site at Nevada's Yucca Mountain. In a sharply worded opinion, the court said the nuclear agency was 'simply flouting the law' when it allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the proposed waste site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The action goes against a federal law designating Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear waste repository. 'The president may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections,' Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote in a majority opinion (PDF), which was joined Judge A. Raymond Randolph. Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland dissented. The appeals court said the case has important implications for the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government. 'It is no overstatement to say that our constitutional system of separation of powers would be significantly altered if we were to allow executive and independent agencies to disregard federal law in the manner asserted in this case by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,' Kavanaugh wrote. 'The commission is simply defying a law enacted by Congress ... without any legal basis.'"
UnknowingFool writes "Microsoft has reversed course on another aspect of the Xbox One. Though Xbox One will come bundled with a Kinect sensor, the console will work without it. Critics were had suggested that an always-on video and audio sensor could be used to spy on users. Microsoft's Marc Whitten said, 'Games use Kinect in a variety of amazing ways from adding voice to control your squad mates to adding lean and other simple controls beyond the controller to full immersive gameplay. That said, like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn't plugged in, although you won't be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor.' This is the latest reversal from Microsoft since they killed the phone-home DRM and made it region-free."
cervesaebraciator writes with an excerpt from an analysis of a kind we're likely to see more of as ubiquitous sensors and cheap storage continue to proliferate: "'The Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns are unique in that they were the first wars to be documented electronically. The use of computers to track stabilization efforts produced enormous datasets in which important indicators were tracked, including daily electricity-production rates, georeferenced insurgent attacks, factory employment numbers, military spending on locally sourced goods and services and public opinion. [...] Army Secretary John McHugh recently admitted to members of Congress that thousands of records from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are missing. [...] The problem is that much of the existing data were collected in an ad hoc manner that reflects the lack of planning for stability operations following both invasions. While certain data types were methodically maintained, others were kept by single individuals in more arbitrary ways—in some cases, on a single computer's hard drive, in a personal computer or within an e-mail account. As flash drives are lost, computers reformatted, files erased, and human and magnetic memory degrades, various data types have been and will continue to be destroyed." With apologies to Santayana, those who do not backup data sets of the past are condemned to repeat them."
CowboyRobot writes "It's looking like Microsoft is planning to replace its underachieving Surface tablet with two new products, but it may need three to finally have success with the Surface. Three tablets would provide an entry point and an upgrade path. Multiple Surface RT models would help Windows RT survive OEM skepticism. Microsoft needs device fanfare to accompany Windows 8.1, and to coincide with enterprise hardware upgrades. If the company releases one of the models before the end of the year, the device would arrive in time not only for the holiday season, but also to cash in on user interest in Windows 8.1, which will be released later this fall. Surface devices released next year, meanwhile, could capitalize on enterprise hardware upgrades, which are expected to pick up as Windows XP's April 8, 2014 end-of-service date nears."
Zothecula writes "Armchair sports lovers are at the mercy of TV directors who chose what camera angle is shown when. Most sports fans will have been frustrated with their shot selection at one time or another, but a new panoramic camera would put such decisions in the viewer's hands. Comprising ten individual cameras, the OmniCam 360 provides a full 360-degree of the action." Just don't roll it down a hill and try to watch the results.
mikejuk writes with an intriguing description of AquaTop, a (very) interactive display system developed at Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications Koike Laboratory, which uses a Kinect sensor, a projector, and a tub of cloudy water. Images are projected into the water, and as a user, "[Y]ou can move them around, resize them using the usual two-finger pinch, but you can also pick them up in cupped hands and transfer them somewhere else. The gesture I really liked was 'sink to delete' — yes, that's often how I feel about a file. Add some waterproof loudspeakers under the surface and allow the computer to run them at low frequency. The result is that you can now make the surface 'boil' in response to the sound. You can make fountains of water appear and project the right colors onto it to make it look like an explosion. In the demo game you throw energy bolts at squid that blow up if you hit them. You have to see the video to understand how putting your hands in cold water might be so much fun."
An anonymous reader writes "What is the best/newest hardware without trusted computing (TC) / Trusted Platform Module(TPM)? I am currently running ancient 32-bit hardware and thinking about an upgrade to something x64 with USB3, SATA3 and >1 core on the CPU ... but don't want TC/TPM. I have no need to run anything like Blu Ray movie disks or Microsoft Windows that requires TC/TPM or the UEFI boot process. Is anybody else still trying to avoid TC/TPM? What have your experiences been? Any pointers?" Worth reading on this front, too: Richard Stallman on so-called Trusted Computing,.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that certain models of Samsung phone violate Apple patents, and are likely to be blocked from import to the U.S. From the article: "The patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949, which relates to a touch screen and user interface and U.S. Patent No. 7,912,501 which deals with detecting when a headset is connected. The ITC said Samsung didn’t infringe on the other two patents. In a statement on the matter, the ITC said the decision is final and the investigation has been closed. ... As was the case with the previous ruling that saw Apple devices banned, the ban on Samsung devices won’t go into effect until 60 days but can be blocked by a favorable ruling following a presidential review. That seems unlikely as such a block has only been issued once since 1987 – last’s week’s ruling in favor of Apple."
An anonymous reader writes with a followup to last week's report that certain Xerox scanners and copiers could alter numbers as they scanned documents: "In the second Xerox press statement, Rick Dastin, Vice President at Xerox Corporation, stated: 'You will not see a character substitution issue when scanning with the factory default settings.' In contrast, David Kriesel, who brought up the issue in the first place, was able to replicate the issue with the very same factory settings. This might be a serious problem now. Not only does the problem occur using default settings and everyone may be affected, additionally, their press statements may have misled customers. Xerox replicated the issue by following Kriesel's instructions, later confirming it to Kriesel. Whole image segments seem to be copied around the scanned data. There is also a new Xerox statement out now." Swapping numbers while copying may seem like bizarre behavior for a copier, but In comments on the previous posting, several readers pointed out that Xerox was aware of the problem, and acknowledged it in the machine's documentation; the software updates promised should be welcome news to anyone who expects a copier to faithfully reproduce important numbers.
UnknowingFool writes "CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has told CNET that Nvidia is working with Microsoft on the next generation of Surface tablets. While sales of the first generation have been poor, Huang believes the second generation will be more successful with the inclusion of Outlook."
Lucas123 writes "With 3D NAND flash going into high production and one startup demonstrating a resistive NAND (RRAM) flash array, it may not be long before mobile devices have hundreds of gigabytes of capacity, even a terabyte, with performance only limited by the bus. Samsung announced it is now mass producing three-dimensional (3D) Vertical NAND (V-NAND) chips, and start-up Crossbar said it has created a prototype of its RRAM chip. Both technologies offer many times what current NAND flash chips offer today in capacity and performance. Which technology will prevail is still up in the air, and experts believe it will be years before RRAM can challenge NAND, but it's almost inevitable that RRAM will overtake NAND as even 3D NAND heads for an inevitable dead end. Others believe 3D NAND, currently at 24 layers, could reach more than 100, giving it a lifespan of five or more years."